Sunday, September 30, 2012

Iron Pincers Retold. Cathars. Albigensian Crusade. Mylio and Karvel. The Lady of Lavaur

A Tale of the Albigensian Crusades, here Retold, Abbreviated, Modified. 

Original by Eugene Sue 1804-1857
Translator of original Daniel DeLeon 1852-1914. 

See Gutenberg Project

Broader Topic:  Do Institutional religions, evolved from spiritual Foundings, become just another aspect of culture when they attain power; and respond to threat to that power with violence.

Cathars:  A common good,  Duty to Paratge, egalitarianism, tolerance, good governance. Difficult to reconstruct their era with confidence, see

A.  Context
B.  Iron Pincers, Gutenberg Project work, here modified
C.  Iron Pincers, Part I, Part II, and Epilogue.  Abbreviated, some modernizing. No substitute for the original, but a jump-start.


This is an abbreviation and modification of an early work by Eugene Sue.  It retells that highly slanted tale of the Albigensian Crusades, the play Iron Pincers,  geared to promote the ideal of the worker and equality and courtesy, over force. Its criticism of the militarism, corruption, venality and territorialism of the Roman branch of Christianity is unrelenting. Catharism appears in a golden glow.

Why read a biased, dated account?  Read because that showdown between power and spirituality within Christianity is largely downplayed now that Catholicism won, even in the Languedoc today.  But its tactics, demean, demonize opponents, continues. To retell this tale is to offer another lens for our history, how one religious group indeed came to dominate. Merit, example, or force.

Consider the context, the actions of those in power: Nobles, Kings, Clerics. Attach individual characters to the Institutional Papacy, the Cathars, the Lords, the conversions on pain of death of entire populations. Was the real purpose of the European crusades secular:  to confiscate  property of other Christians, consolidate power.

This Albigensian Crusade was one of many of the era. Sing it:  "One in doctrine" -- "Onward, Christian Soldiers." These ideas led to slaughter in France; and are still sung.  It had happened before:  Charlemagne slaughtered prisoners at Sachsenhain who would not convert, etc. The emerging church itself ostracized autonomous thinkers in destroying their works and excluding them from the Canon.

No side is innocent for long. The reactive point counterpoint in later centuries between Rome and Reformers led to persecutions by both sides, in the British Isles and the rest of Europe.

Is this the context:  Consider the times before launching into the one-sidedness of the play itself: How did it come about? Christian against Christian.  This site examines the origin of the usual stereotypes used against  groups rejecting the papacy, but should use one typeface and take off the colors: The Christian Cathars

  • When the Roman branch of Christianity finally gave up its idea of imposing its dogma on the Eastern Orthodox (Byzantine) branch of Christianity, culminating in the Great Schism of about 1054, it also freed itself of the last brake on territorialism and militarism in Western Christianity.  It also enabled, in part, the Turkish victory over the Byzantines in 1071, by Rome's having separated ts view of its own interests from those of the Byzantines and larger Christianity.  
  • By 1095, however, with Turks-Saracens conquering Palestine and killing Christians there, Rome's Pope Urban II responded and called for a Crusade against the "Infidels." The ill-fated People's Crusade was annihilated in Anatolia (Turkey); but the rest of the First Crusade went on to victories, including under Raymond of Toulouse, in 1098. In 1099, the Crusaders re-took Jerusalem. See .   
  • Crusade after Crusade followed, as Rome followed through on its first taste of political-military supremacy.  Earlier centuries had seen exclusions of other Christian viewpoints in the setting of the Canon, designations of "heretics" and the like so that "one doctrine" could emerge; the new military launchings, however, took persecution to a new and ultimatly atrocious level.  Were the Crusaders in the Languedoc Knights Templar? Could well be, see That group was not demolished until the burning of Jacques DeMolay in 1308. Anyone else went into hiding or left.
  • Rome did not relinquishi that philosophy, that Christians must be Soldiers that God wants to go Onward in the very armies that JC himself rejected.  It was the easy way to wealth and conversion. Despite ultimate failures and more atrocities -- the militant-acquisitive mindset of Rome marked an even stronger break with the Orthodox Christians than the Schism itself. 
  • The Crusades veered so far from the spiritually religious that the battles became more clashes of the cultures that grew around "religion". See
  • See that battle of cultures in Iron Pincers:  It is not the words of the Founder that are contested;l it is the "teachings" and "dogma" that are being forced; the challenge to established order and privilege enjoyed by the nobles and the clergy, and royalty, that are opposed.
  • Can morality between centuries be compared?   Probably not because the mindsets cannot be reproduced.  Still, the recurrence of issues of power and privilege against the common good make the inquiry relevant.  Read here, do a group reading even, and see how the sides are presented at the turn of the last century.  What politics and religion today are reflected.  Can we learn.  

A Retelling of a Play of Power vs. Common Good: 
For Enjoyment, History and Reviewing Social Argument.

This is too long for texting, IPads, etc.  It takes attention, even though we omit large sections.
Iron Pincers:  1909.  This play, in a series by one Eugene Sue (biography), lends itself to readings aloud. It is retold and abbreviated here, with annotations. Its topic recurs, as does its treatment -- take one side and push it.. Nonetheless, religious and political extremism recur as topics as they confront the drive for autonomy, non-conformity, independent thought. Ask, as Eugene Sue lays out his spin favoring the worker, Who prevails, and how, and for how long. See discussion at FN 1.  This is a lengthy work. The abbreviation here is intended to spur at least some to go to the original, and seek out, independently vet, the issues and presentation.  See Migratory Patterns footnote and discussion at FN 1.


This retelling is an alteration, a moderation of the original Gutenberg Project work, and no profits are made or fees charged for it.  Thus we believe this complies with the provisions of the fine Gutenberg Project as to use.  See terms at end, specifically that "Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks are often created from several printed editions, all of which are confirmed as Public Domain in the U.S. unless a copyright notice is included."  I see none.*  


Part I.  The Court of Love-- 

As an amusement, nobles of the time, and knights, and even clerics, played at an alternative court, where the women prevailed in their frivolous pursuits and men often did their bidding, within conventions, for a space in time in their lives. A social role-play.
  • Place of Beginning: [I HAVE OMITTED THESE CHAPTERS.  Imagine for yourselves the wanton thoughts and dalliances of the landed in their palaces and gardens, and the corruption of the Pope's clerics.  They join in or look the other way; and sell salvation to any who will buy.  Imagine fine gardens, little brooks, gossips and waste.  That is the scene at Blois, in the North of France.]
    • Chapter I The Orchard of Marphise (frivolity among the nobility)
    • Chapter II Goose-Skin the Juggler,
    • Chapter III Florette (the virtuous maid and the licentious cleric; The Abbot had tried to force himself on the girl Florette at the Mill of Chaillotte, and was left bruised by Mylio)
    • Chapter IV Garden of Eglantine
  • Chapter V The Crusaders [I BEGIN AT THE LAST THIRD OF CHAPTER V]
  • Chapter VI  On to Languedoc
Part II.  The Albigensian Heretics:
  • Chapter I The Perfect's Home,
  • Chapter II Giraude of Lavaur [The Lady of Lavaur], 
  • Chapter III The Shadow of War, 
  • Chapter IV Robin Loves Me, Robin Has Me,
  • Chapter V Song on the Crusade Against the Albigensians, 
  • Chapter VI Song on the Butchery of Chasseneuil,
  • Chapter VII Song on the Butchery of Beziers, 
  • Chapter VIII Song on the Burning of Carcassonne, 
  • Chapter IX The Heretics' War Song, 
  • Chapter X Before the Castle of Lavaur, 
  • Chapter XI Montfort and the Perfect, 
  • Chapter XII Goose-Skin's Conversion, 
  • Chapter XIII The Esplanade at Lavaur
(in order of Appearance)

  • Pope Innocent appears in Part I by Letter authorizing the Crusade against the Heretic Cathars for rejecting the established Order.
NARRATOR - Telling this tale to the descendants of Joel, the descendants of Mylio and Karvel.

KARVEL, A CATHAR "PERFECT"; ALSO A PHYSICIAN -- Age 30. Albigensian.  Resides near the fortified town of Lavaur, not far from Toulouse where Raymone VI leads, as Marqui there.
MORISE - Wife of Karvel, assists in making healing concoctions
ALOYS - son of Dame Giraude, age 12
MYLIO - Troubadour, brother of Karvel the Perfect
FLORETTE - Girl of the countryside, a serf's child; nearly put upon by the Abbot; loves Mylio
DAME GIRAUDE -a/k/a LADY OF LAVAUR --  Countess, a sister of Aimery at Lavaur, a widow since age 20.  Rather than remarry, she devotes herself to the education of her son, Aloys, in "manly and useful work"; and to various educational causes; she has set up places to care for orphan boys and girls; and cares for the sick

The Roman Catholic Nobility, Servants
AIMERY - Brother of Giraude, Dame Giraude, Lady of Lavaur,  He is age 40.  A seigneur, or lord.
HUGUES OF LASCY - Catholic Lord
SIMON OF MONTFORT- Catholic Lord, Count of Leicester and Montfort D'Aumery, Chief of the Crusades against the Albigensians
EQUERRIES - Senior Attendants to the Catholic Lords
ALYX OF MONTMORENCY - Wife to Simon of Montfort

NARRATOR:  In the South of France, in the Languedoc, a group rejects regimentation in their religion and social life; and the ribald life of the leisured nobles and clerics.. These are Cathars, Albigensians named after the City of Albi where so many lived.  They follow no rigid hierarchy, but support egalitarian and respectful standards, few rituals.

This group prospers, in peace, and has attracted many followers.  This threatens established seats of power: The established Nobles, Clergy and Royalty.

The Church responds with persecution, as has been unleashed against other such groups such as dualists, gnostics, Manicheans -- all old names to us now -- who oppose the Church's dogma, and are thus deemed "heretic."

The military element of this society, soldiers and crusaders either vowed in service to their lords or seeking fortune, have long been diverted to the Holy Land to Crusade against the Saracens and take possession of Jerusalem.  Those efforts now failing, Crusaders are returning home -- to new employment.

(The Abbot enters, and faces an assembled group of Nobles in a palace garden)

ABBOT REYNIER.  Nobles, troubadours and ladies. The time is past for frivolous games. The enemy is at our gates. The province of Languedoc has become the hot-bed of an execrable heresy, that is slowly invading the rest of Gaul, and menaces the three sanctuaries, arch-sanctuaries of proper authority throughout the land -- the Church, the Royalty and the Nobility.  The wildest of these heretical miscreants are worse by far than the Saracens themselves, take their arguments from the primitive Evangelium [issues now known as including Secret Mark? See].

What is this Heresy? Their heresy is this: Remember well!

1.  They deny both the authority of the Church and the privileges of the seigneurs;
2.  They declare the equality of men;
3.  They brand as a theft all wealth in the hands of those who did not produce it; and, worst of all,
4.  They hold that 'the serf is the equal of the seigneur, and that he who does not work neither shall he eat!

NOBLES -- This is infamous! Insanity! To death with the miscreants!

ABBOT REYNIER -- This is also dangerous. The heretics gain new converts daily. Their leaders are all the more vicious and pernicious because they practice the reforms that they preach.  In living according to their reforms, they they gain a detestable influence over the people.

Their pastors replace our own holy Catholic priests and call themselves 'Perfects.'  These pastors, in their infernal criminality, live not according to church law and role as the church interprets scripture, but as they themselves interpret scripture. It is time to exterminate them!

NOBLES -- Kill them!

ABBOT REYNIER -- It is getting worse. Languedoc, that wealthy and fertile region, is in a frightful condition as to our Church. The Catholic clergy are despised; the royal authority is hardly recognized; the nobility is humbled as is the Church.

And, worse,  the nobility itself in the region is almost wholly infected by the damnable heresy. The lords and princes everywhere are replaced by popular magistrates, and stripped of all special privileges.  The lords are confounded among the common people. Serfdom itself no longer exists in that country; the nobility among the heretics works its fields in common with their tenants.

Counts and viscounts are seen there in commerce like bourgeois, and growing rich by buying and selling! And they give each other the vote in matters that only we should decide, on our own, for ourselves.

Finally, and as a climax of abomination, the nobility frequently marries Jewish wives, the daughters of wealthy merchants!

NOBLES  -- Shame and abomination. Those practices will be the ruin of Christendom! That calls for vengeance! To the sack with Languedoc! Death to the heretics!
ABBOT REYNIER -- This heresy of Languedoc is a shame and a danger because it is spreading.  If it triumphs, the Church is done for, and so are royalty and nobility. The masses lose the sense of terror for the hell that we inculcate.  If the masses lose their sense of terror, we would then have to renounce our rights, our land, our property. We would be forced to bid adieu to the happy and comfortable life that we lead. We would have to resign ourselves to live by work like the serfs, the rustics and the bourgeois. We would be condemned to help ourselves with our hands! What a distressing perspective.

NOBLES -- It is the end of the world! It is chaos! Kill the heretics!
ABBOT REYNIER -- To do that, we must make a Crusade against Languedoc. What an easy task for the experienced Crusaders among us returned from the Holy Land.  And God is on our side.

CRUSADERS -- Blood of Christ! We have just arrived from Palestine; if God wills it, we are ready to start to-morrow for Languedoc!  Better to be employed than unemployed.  Look at our skills.

CRUSADER WIVES (heroically) --Go, valiant husbands! Do as God commands, even if that means you are absent yet again. We still have our Gardens. Go, ye champions of the Church! May St. Joseph protect us. [See]

ABBOT REYNIER -- Valorous knights, courageous and devoted spouses.  This Crusade against Languedoc is both pious and terrestrial and will win for you a double Paradise from God:  Heavenly Paradise after death, and before then, you will enjoy the fertile lands you conquer.  Divide it among yourselves! The Holy Father Innocent III wants those rewards for you.

Allow me to read His Holiness' own missive:


"We hereby order you to bring to the knowledge of all princes, counts and seigneurs of your province that we summon them to assist you against the heretics of Languedoc; and that, when they shall have arrived in that country, they banish out of it all those whom you, my son Reynier, shall excommunicate; confiscate their goods, and apply towards them the extreme punishment in case they persist in their heresy.
"We enjoin all Catholics to arm themselves against the heretics of Languedoc whenever my son Reynier may call upon them so to do, and we grant to those who take part in this expedition for the defence of the faith the property of the heretics and all and the same indulgences [see] that we accord to those who depart on the Crusade to Palestine.
Up, then, soldiers of Christ! Up, then militia-men of the holy militia! Exterminate impiety with all the means that God may reveal unto you. Fight the heretics with vigorous and merciless hands by waging against them a harder war than against the Saracens, because they are worse.
"And let the orthodox Catholics be established on all the domains that now belong to the heretics. Amen!"[3]
And so, faithful ones. Languedoc is only a hundred leagues' away.  Crusaders! Continue on to your next divine task!.

[Goose-Skin:  read Chapter II, omitted here, for his beginning story]

MYLIO:.  I will go back to my brother, Karvel, in Languedoc. I shall marry Florette, who so nearly was ruined by that cleric, and, perhaps, hardly shall I be married, when I may have to leave my wife and go to war!

GOOSE-SKIN--To war! Did you say to war?

MYLIO-- You heard that sycophant of an Abbot Reynier preach the extermination of the heretics?  Karvel is one of their leaders, he is one of the Perfects. I am going to him, to share the dangers that he runs. So, then, adieu! The journey that I am about to set out upon is not one of pleasure. Go on with your juggling, and your ditties at the fairs. I must hasten.




NARRATOR: (addresses audience)   You have seen the debauches of the nobility and the clerics, the corruption tainting France.  You have seen the threat to those who live outside the established Church.  And, a century ago, you shuddered at the sight of the gigantic butchery committed by the Crusaders in Jerusalem, where seventy thousand defenseless Saracens were massacred within two days [see issues].

The monstrosities of the old Crusaders are now repeated in Gaul herself.

A war of extermination has been declared by the Pope, not now against the Saracens, but against the sons of our own country. And what are the morals of these so-called heretics, that they shall be treated thus?  If they are, instead of self-seeking as to their neighbors, honest and industrious, what cause to unchain the furies against them and all they have?

Join now, the Perfect, the man named Karvel, in his home sin Languedoc as he learns what looms.

KARVEL - I wonder if our Lombard friend found Mylio -- we all know that Mylio's songs and verses have reached far distances.  He is much sought after.

MORISE -- It seems that the more licentious the ditties,  the more popular the Troubarour! We all enjoy him, even the noble and charitable Dame Giraude. She is welcome to enjoy his songs. She herself is beyond reproach. As to her charity, it is well said, 'Never does a poor body knock at her door without leaving happy.'  Look at the communal endeavors she fosters as an ideal for the betterment of all.

Imagine:  A man of rank, cultivating lands in common with tenants -- an ideal to cherish and defend.

KARVEL-- We do well to compare that enterprise with the frivolous tourneys of the North, in their ruinous luxury, all supported by overtaxing the serfs. We, instead, attain universal prosperity and affluence by common friendship with our tenants, and by equipping all our vessels for commerce. 
MORISE--Aimery said only yesterday that 'Languedoc is the envy of all Gaul.'  That Aimery is devoted to his sister, Geraude.  Seeing them does lead me to regret the silliness in which our dear and impetuous Mylio still indulges.  Your ancestral line, the Line of Joel, dear Husband, is such a prominent one in history, perhaps Mylio is cowed by the prominence of his own forbears. There will come a time for Mylio to assume his responsibilities to its continuance.

KARVEL -- Yes, most of us are driven, it is true. But we began in frivolity, many of us.. Consider (ebook) Karadeucq the Bagauder, Ronan the Vagre (same site as Karadeucq), Amael, who was the favorite of Charles Martel (see work of Eugene Sue at, all of them, vagabonds in early youth. Mylio surely will return to his family's path in his good time.

I only regret, my dear, that we have no children. If Mylio marries, our dearest wish, for our line to continue in honor, may be realized.
MORISE--I will take charge of his marriage, Husband. He shall have his pick and surely settle among us here.  And who is this?

 [Voice of servant, offstage]   Master Karvel, here are Dame Giraude, her brother and her son! They carry in their arms a young girl in a faint.
The Lady of Lavaur

(Enter Aimery, and Dame Giraude, The Lady of Lavaur, with a travel-worn and dusty Florette, swooning)
KARVEL-- I see no trace of a fall or of a wound. The poor girl must have experienced some severe shock, or she may have succumbed to excessive fatigue. (Turning to his wife) Morise, fetch me some fresh water.

MORISE -- Your Aloys is already obedient to your instructions.  See how he is useful to others.  (Aloys presents a vessel of water, and a sponge;  Karvel administers an elixir)

FLORETTE [read Chapter III, omitted here, in the original for her tale and narrow escape from the Abbot]--  (stirring) Mylio! Mylio! Help! Help!

KARVEL (amazed)--What is that she says?

FLORETTE (looking about wildly) Have mercy! Save Mylio! Save him!
KARVEL (alarmed) --"What great danger does my brother run?"
FLORETTE (clasping her hands) -- Are you Karvel the Perfect, Mylio's brother?
KARVEL--Yes; yes. But tell me where my brother is, who you are, and how you
happen to know my brother.
FLORETTE-- I am a poor serf of the country of Touraine. Mylio saved my life and my honor. He said to me: 'Florette, I am going back to Languedoc. During our journey you will be my sister; when we arrive at my brother's house you will be my wife--I wish him to bless our union.'  Mylio kept his promise. We traveled happy at heart. When we were about five leagues from here -- (she stops and weeps)

THE LADY OF LAVAUR (moving toward Karvel from a corner of the room where she had been sitting, quietly)--  Karvel, your brother's tender love for this poor serf testifies in his favor. His heart has remained true, despite the slips of his youth. May God be praised!

KARVEL (drying his tears)--We never doubted it. But what has happened to him? Good God, what are we about to learn!
AIMERY--Sister, I shall go out; I may be able to gather some information.
ALOYS --Uncle, I will go with you, if mother allows. I shall help you in your inquiries!
KARVEL (to Aimery)--"Wait a minute, my friend! (And to Florette) Dear child -- dear sister now --  tell us what has happened to Mylio, and where we could find him.
FLORETTE -- I was on the crupper of Mylio's horse; a friend of his accompanied us on a mule. This morning we halted at a large burg which is entered through a stone arcade--"
KARVEL--"That is the burg of Montjoire, about four leagues from here.(see
FLORETTE--We traveled fast from Touraine and our horse's shoes wore out, and he lost two before we entered the burg. Mylio inquired for a blacksmith and took his friend and myself to an inn to wait. Mylio's companion is a merry juggler. He fell to playing upon his hurdy-gurdy and to singing songs against the church and the priests before the people at the inn. While he was at it, two monks escorted by several knights came in and ordered him in the name of the Pope to stop. He answered them with some jests. Thereupon the men of the escort, together with the monks, rushed at poor old Goose-Skin, that is his name, and they beat him and called him a heretical dog.

AIMERY-- This looks serious! The monks have never before dared to show so much audacity. At Montjoire, as in the rest of Albigeois, around Albi, (see  the priests of Rome are loved as the pest. But the people in the inn are of this country, not Albi. Did they not support your traveling companion?
FLORETTE-- Yes, sir; they did, and Mylio came in as the scuffle was at its height. He tried to defend his friend Goose-Skin who was being badly treated. The people of the inn had the worst of the fight and fled, leaving Mylio and the juggler in the hands of the monks; these said they were going to lock up the two heretics in the dungeon of the seigneur of the burg."
AIMERY-- Impossible! Raoul of Montjoire detests the black-frocked militia as much as I do myself. I can hardly understand the impudence of those monks. Do they think they are in the north of Gaul? This dirty work will have to be looked into."
FLORETTE -- These things are true!  When Mylio saw himself and his companion overpowered, he cried out to me: 'Florette, run to Lavaur;  when you arrive at the suburb of the town ask for the house of Karvel the Perfect, and tell my brother I am held here a prisoner.' Thereupon I ran all the way to this place --

LADY OF LAVAUR -- And your strength gave out, and you fell about two hundred paces from here?

FLORETTE:  Yes, madam. But for mercy's sake! Hasten to the help of Mylio! The monks may want to kill him. 
AIMERY (to Karvel)-- I shall take my sister back to Lavaur. You and I will then ride out to Raoul. I guarantee that we shall bring Mylio back with us.


(Hurried steps are heard approaching the house)

FLORETTE --   Wait on your errand! It is he! It is Mylio--I recognize his steps--I hear him!

MYLIO (enters, Goose-skin follows; all embrace)

LADY OF LAVAUR -- He who can inspire so much affection must merit it!
ALOYS (looking at Goose-Skin, who stands a way apart)  Mother, look at that poor old man! Nobody speaks to him. He is entirely forgotten--And he seems to be sad. Shall I go to him and bid him welcome in this country?

LADY OF LAVAUR -- that is a kindly thought. Do so, my dear child.

GOOSE-SKIN -- I only seek to keep from interrupting this family scene. I am not sad, only restraining myself.
ALOYS (with a kindly voice)--Welcome in our country, good father!
GOOSE-SKIN (aside to himself)-- Such courtesy from one so young. Is this a Perfect in disguise? I shall have to keep guard over my tongue. (Aloud to Aloys in a grave and sententious tone) May God preserve you, my young master, and always keep you in the path of virtue. Because virtue--affords more true and merry contentment than the most charming grace--What do I say!--Virtue is a man's lady-love. Well now, virtue excels love-making. (Aloys looks confused and slips back to his mother's side)

GOOSE-SKIN (aside to audience) -- This youngster has now a good opinion of my powers of speech.
KARVEL (leading Mylio to Aimery and his sister)--Dame Giraude, and Aimery, I ask you to share my tender affection for my brother.

LADY OF LAVAUR  --"If the filling of a duty deserves reward, we shall find it in the happiness of having been helpful to this charming girl, who will soon belong to the brother of one of our best friends.
AIMERY-- Raoul of Montjoire is a friend of mine. Like all of us in Languedoc, he has only aversion for the monastic fraternity. I was sure that he would set you free at my
request, both you and your merry companion, yonder bulky customer, whose droll songs caused the disturbance.
GOOSE-SKIN --I request the noble lady, the noble sir and the other members of this company kindly not to take me for a droll customer. My song, which provoked the ire of the tonsured gentry at the inn, was simply a cry of indignation uttered by a man who might have been virtuous--but who, ripened by experience, knows that the gown does not make the monk, that the bowl does not make the wine, that the gorget does not make the throat, that the skirt does not make the legs--

MYLIO (quickly, and noting the half-hidden smiles in the group)  Indeed, we were taken to Raoul of Montjoire. One of the monks said to him that we were heretics and that one of us sang a song insulting the priests of the Lord, and the other defended him.  He called on Raoul to punish us as criminals.  Then hear Raoul:  'By God, monk, I thank you' answered Raoul, 'you could bring no more acceptable guests to me,' and he forthwith directed his men to untie our bonds.  Brave contemners of the Church of Rome, he called us, the modern Babylon that is smirched with rapine and blood!
Then he showed the monk the door and said, 'Get you gone, and quick as possible, you agent of Rome, vile Romanist, wicked Roman creeper! You are not here in France where the tonsured lackeys of Rome rule the roost!'

And the monk was furious.  'Detestable miscreant! Damned heretic!' cried the monk, and he left the room shaking his fists at Raoul and warning him loudly: 'Tremble! The day of the wrath of heaven is near! You will soon be all crushed in your nests, vile viperous heretics!'"
THE LADY OF LAVAUR--  The monks are bold, but we are aware of the impotence of their hatred.
MYLIO-- That may not be for long, madam.  The hatred of the priests may soon be a thing to be feared.  Pope Innocent III (see has issued orders to all the bishops to preach a Crusade against the heretics of Languedoc.
AIMERY (laughing)-- A Crusade? Do these tonsured folks take our country for the Holy land? We are not Saracens!

MYLIO--At this very hour he is unchaining against your provinces the same fanatic hatred and savage cupidity that at one time the Papacy unchained against the Saracens. The Pope has already bestowed your lands and other property upon the future Crusaders. He has promised them pardon for all their crimes, the past, the present and the future--earthly riches, heavenly treasures.
THE LADY OF LAVAUR-- What you tell us, Mylio, seems incredible. From what does all that hatred against us 'heretics,' as they call us, proceed? Does not the Catholic Church preserve in Languedoc its churches, its domains, its bishoprics, its monks and its priests? Have they ever been disturbed in the exercise of their cult?

Why should they make a Crusade against us? Simply because we practice the evangelical morality of Jesus according to our own faith? Simply because our heart and our reason reject the myth of original sin which smites with its anathema even the child in its mother's womb? Simply because we smile at the pretension of the priests to claim to be error-free in representing God on earth, and declare that the newly born child will be damned if it dies unbaptized?

Can they mean to punish us because we prefer our own Perfects, worthy pastors like you, Karvel, who, industrious and austere, practice and preach in the midst of the sacred joys of family life the sublime doctrine of Christ, the friend of the poor and the sorrowing, the enemy of the hypocrites and of the rich? But, moreover, why resort to violence?

Are the Catholic priests the only repositories of the true faith? Are they the only inspired ones of God? Let them convert us by reason, by gentleness, by persuasion. Why appeal to violence--to fire and sword, as against Saracens! No, no! It would be the height of blindness and of human perversity!"
MYLIO-- The Crusades against the Saracens were preached by the Church, and the same Church is now stirring up anew the same execrable passions against the provinces that have withdrawn themselves from the tyranny of Rome. Great dangers are threatening Languedoc. While passing Cahors (see I learned that a man of rare military valor, but fanatical and merciless, Simon, Count of Montfort-L'Amaury, (see one of the most famous heroes of the last Crusade in the Holy Land, was placed in the chief command of the Catholic army that is about to invade this country.
KARVEL-- Simon of Montfort is indeed the signal for a war of extermination, a war without mercy or pity. What disasters are in store.!

AIMERY-- If the Catholics attack us we shall know how to defend ourselves. I swear to God, this war will be a terrible one!
THE LADY OF LAVAUR -- But what harm do we do the Catholics? Do we force our belief upon them? By what right should they want to impose theirs upon us with war and violence? In battle the children of the poor mothers are killed. War is the terror of mothers, sisters and wives! War is an abomination. I live on my love for my son and for you, and when I think that you, together with so many friends dear to my heart, may perish in this terrible war!  I am afraid! Good God, have mercy upon us.
ALOYS--  Do not fear, mother.  We shall defend you.

THE LADY OF LAVAUR-- We shall flee. We shall take ship at Aigues-Mortes (see

AIMERY -- And who will defend the city and the Castle of Lavaur, of which your son is the seigneur?
THE LADY OF LAVAUR-- Let the priests seize our castle, our lands and all, provided only my son and you are left to me!

AIMERY-- The capture of the city and the castle draws in the ruin and death of all the inhabitants and men of the field who will take refuge in them at the first tidings of the Crusade. Would you leave them without a guide?
THE LADY OF LAVAUR--Pardon me, brother; pardon me, friends. What I said was cowardly--
A FARMER (enters)-- Seigneur Aimery, one of your servants has just come from the castle, where your friends have gone in haste to consider matters of grave importance with you and with Dame Giraude. Your presence is requested.

AIMERY--"The tidings brought by Mylio are confirmed!"
KARVEL (to the Lady of Lavaur)--Courage, Giraude! Friendly hearts and firm devotion will never be wanting to you.
THE LADY OF LAVAUR -- Adieu, good Karvel! Pity my weakness! I am ashamed of it! Pardon a moment of debility!
KARVEL--No; you have not been weak. The mother spoke--the sister--the cry of nature leaped from your soul; I honor you all the more therefore. I well know that you never fall short of any duty when the moment comes to fill it."
THE LADY OF LAVAUR-- I hope so-- What wrong have we done to those priests? What wrong have we done them, my poor child! (and to Florette) May we weather the dangers that threaten us. 

AIMERY (to Mylio)--Your presence here is a welcome assistance. We know you to be a resolute man, Mylio. Karvel. I shall let you know this evening the result of our conversation with our friends at the castle, and our decision.


MYLIO (to Florette, Morise and Karvel).  Inspired by our good Dame Giraude and to urge on the efforts of Aimery, I will leave and attend my verses.   I now desire to turn such talent as I have to a useful purpose. Brother, you and I have read in the legends of our family how, at the time of the invasion of Gaul by the Romans, the Gallic bards fired the courage of our combatants.  Still later, after the Roman conquest, the bards continued to arouse with their patriotic chants the people of Gaul against the foreign conqueror. The memorable chant of the Chief of the Hundred Valleys (See Tacitus, historian, on Sacrovir and the 20 CE revolt of Gauls against Rome,  'Drop, drop, thou dew of gore!' armed more than one arm against the Romans.
KARVEL-- I approve it, Mylio-- Aye, it would be putting the poetic talent that God gifted you with to a noble use, by using it to arouse the enthusiasm of our people.
MYLIO-- The Church orders her monks to preach the extermination of our country. Now, we the trouveres, like the Gallic bards of old, will fire the people with our songs against the fanatics who threaten our freedom and our lives!
MORISE--The thought is generous and noble. I join my approval to Karvel's.
MYLIO-- A minute ago the Lady of Lavaur repeated twice a few words that drew tears from me: 'What wrong have we done to those priests, my poor child?' They are true and heart-rending words that escaped from a maternal heart. What wrong was done to those priests! (Goose-skin snores, stirs in the corner)
MORISE-- Despite his serious mien, your brave companion makes me feel like laughing.
KARVEL-- The poor man perhaps feels sad that a minute ago Mylio stopped him short at the best turn of his paraphrase concerning the profound truth that 'the gown does not make the monk.' His discourse was interrupted.
MYLIO--My companion is a juggler, which is the same as saying that his coarse songs, much as they are liked in the taverns, are hardly calculated for delicate ears. I therefore notified Goose-Skin, that is the name that he goes by, that he must keep a watch over his words when near you. Hence his embarrassment, and his obstinate persistence in assuming a venerable appearance. I must pray your indulgence towards him. Yours also, Morise. He is entitled to it by reason of his attachment to me, of which he has given me more than one proof.

GOOSE-SKIN (awake, and sensing a gap in the conversation) -- We have been traveling day and night since we left Blois [see]; hence great is my fatigue. Besides, and moreover, in that it causes the vile low appetites to slumber, sleep is of itself a sort of virtue--

KARVEL --Dear guest, we embrace you as you are.  No more constraint. Return to your natural good spirits. We heartily love a hearty laugh. Do you know why? Because a false or wicked heart never is frankly joyous. Moreover, we believe that much should be pardoned to those who have remained good; they will become better. You are of the former, dear guest. We welcome you. We shall love you as you are, and, jolly friend, love us as we are.
GOOSE-SKIN (scratching his ear)--.  Must I then be virtuous?  Oh, certainly! If all that shall be required of me will be some slight service, now and then, I certainly shall enlist myself as your servant, Dame Virtue. But, in all humility, I know myself."

MYLIO -- The Church is about to let loose war upon Languedoc. We must now, with our songs, raise the popular resistance to the pitch of heroism against the merciless Crusade. Second me in the undertaking. I rely upon you."

GOOSE-SKIN-- Ho! Mylio, my poor hurdy-gurdy [see and hear the symphonia at] will not wait to accompany my songs. It will break loose all of itself--with laughter if it hears me strike a heroic note. No, no! For your harp be the laurel of battle, for my humble hurdy-gurdy a branch of the grape vine or a bouquet of marjoram.
FLORETTE (to Mylio) --I heard you on the road say that that wicked monk of Citeaux,
Abbot Reynier, from whose clutches I escaped, thanks to you, Mylio, is one of the chiefs of the Crusade. It seems to me that if Master Goose-Skin would narrate in a song the story of how that wicked monk, who is one of the chief agents of this war which they have started in the name of God, meant to ruin a poor serf girl--
GOOSE-SKIN -- Florette is right! 'The Fritter of the Abbot of Citeaux!' That shall be the title of the song. You remember, Mylio, the words of Sir Ribald when he told you he meant to make a speedy call at the mill of Chaillotte? Ha! By my hurdy-gurdy! I shall salt the song. I shall pepper it so generously that even people with palates no better than a whale's, once they shall have tasted my song will be seized with a furious appetite to despatch the fawning parasites!

The hypocrites! Devoured with greed, they now propose to massacre people in the name of the Savior of the world!
MYLIO-- Excellent, my old Goose-Skin! Instil in your versesthe indignation of your soul, and your song will be good for ten thousand soldiers in the defense of Languedoc. (To Florette)  I shall be back on the day of danger. If my love for Florette has inspired me with disgust for my barren and dissolute life, the remembrance of both you, Morise, and you Karvel, has brought me back here. I wish that my marriage with her who is to be the companion of my life be consecrated by your and your wife's presence. To marry under your auspices, is not that to pledge myself to take you for my model?
KARVEL (takes the hands of Florette and Mylio, joins them in his own, and says) --"Your marriage will be inscribed to-morrow in the register of our city magistrates. Mylio, my brother, Florette, my sister, you whom the mysterious bonds of the heart already unite, I take to witness the thoughts of your souls and the words of your lips, be ye forevermore one! Henceforth rejoice at the same joys, suffer the same pains, console each other in the same hopes, share with each other the daily toils that will worthily provide you with your daily bread. If, happier than Morise and myself, you should live again in your children, strive by precept and by example to develop in them their original goodness. Bring them up in the love of work, of justice and of right, to the end that, faithful to the morals of Christ, one of the wisest men that humanity has produced, they be indulgent towards those whom ignorance, neglect or misery have led astray. For all such let them have a ready pardon, instruction, love and charity.
But also habituate their young souls to be awake to and to entertain a horror for oppression and iniquity. Habituate your children to the thought that some day they may have to suffer, to struggle and perhaps to die in the defense of their rights. Teach them that, if clemency towards the weak and the suffering is a virtue, resignation to the violent acts of an oppressor is an act of cowardice, is a crime!
Saturate their souls in the hatred for injustice; then, on the day of trial, your children will be found ready and resolute. Let them repose unshakable faith in the future, in the enfranchisement of Gaul, our motherland.
Finally, impart to your children this virile druid conviction--'Man, immortal and infinite like God, proceeds from one world to another, eternally reviving body and soul in those innumerable stars that shine in the firmament.' Impart to them this sturdy belief, and they will be, as our fathers were during the heroic epoch of our history, healed of the disease of death.
And now, Mylio, my brother, and Florette, my sister, may your union be what the ardent wishes of my heart desire for it! May the ills that threaten this country leave you unscathed! Oh, believe us, Florette, you will be doubly cherished by us, because, thanks to you, our brother has come back to us, and my wife and myself have gained a sister in you.
GOOSE-SKIN -- Oxhorns! Master Karvel, excuse the sincerity of old Goose-Skin, but he
is of the impression that in the south, as well as the north of Gaul, there is no wedding without a repast. I therefore demand for this evening the wedding feast; to-morrow the marriage will be entered in the city's register; and day after to-morrow Mylio and I will depart to preach the anti-Crusade in our fashion. (Addressing Morise) Oh! Dame Virtue, see how you have mastered me! Ordinarily I am as craven as a hare, and yet, to please you, I shall take the road and preach war with my music-box. But, God wills it. I feel so furiously inclined to sing my war song, that my throat is dry in advance. It will have to be very thoroughly moistened."

KARVEL (smiling)-- It fortunately happens, merry guest, that we have in the house a cask of Montpelier wine [See]. We shall forthwith broach it.
MORISE (to Goose-Skin)--And I have in yonder cupboard a ham of Aragon [jamon:  see] that is worthy of serving as a mace to the famous knight Shrove-Tuesday, whose defeat you dreamed!

GOOSE-SKIN--Oh! Dear Dame Virtue, you will think you are dreaming, yourself, when you see me play my jaws and swallow your victuals.
KARVEL--"You may exercise your jaws also upon a brace of superb capons that our farmer brought us yesterday. And we also have a trout, quite worthy of serving knight Shrove-Tide for mount."
GOOSE-SKIN--"That is a feast worthy of a chapter of canonesses!"
MYLIO:  Sweet friend, my charming Florette, you are really my wife!

FLORETTE: Mylio, all I have in my heart, my love, my life I give you. It is little--in exchange for the happiness that I owe you!

GOOSE-SKIN (interrupting) the lovers)--"What is that you are prattling about in that languorous voice? Rather sing my song, little Florette, sing it in a joyous voice: "Robin loves me, Robin has me! Robin wished me--he shall have me!"

Behold them, the priests at their head, Behold them, the Cath'lic Crusaders! The red cross on their breasts, And the Christ on their lips, The fagot in one hand, The sword in the other! Behold them in our dear land of Languedoc! Behold them, the Cath'lic Crusaders, Behold them, the priests at their head! What wrong have we done to these priests? Oh, what wrong have we done unto them!

From all the quarters of old Gaul, They rush into Albigeois, the Cath'lic Crusaders. At their head march the legate of the Pope, and Reynier, the Abbot of Citeaux, And with them many a bishop and many an archbishop: The Archbishop of Sens, and he of Rheims, The Bishop of Cahors, and he of Limoges; The Bishop of Nevers, and he of Clermont; The Bishop of Agde, and he of Autun. What wrong have we done to these priests? Oh, what wrong have we done unto them!

The Knighthood is numerous also: Simon, bloodthirsty Count of Montfort, their commander. Him follow the Count of Narbonne and the Count of St. Paul, The Viscount of Turenne and Adhemar of Poitiers, Bertrand of Cardaillac and Bertrand of Gordon, The Count of Le Forez and he of Auxerre, Peter of Courtenay and Foulques of Bercy, Hugues of Lascy and Lambert of Limoux, Neroweg of the Templars' Order, Also knight Gerard of Lancon, And many more! So many more!

What an army! What an army! Twenty-thousand knights, all cased in iron. Two hundred thousand footmen, strollers, serfs and vagabonds. From near and far, all, to the call of the priests, They have come to deluge in blood our Languedoc. They have come from Auvergne and from Burgundy, From Rouergue and from Poitou, From Normandy and from Saintogne, From Lorraine and from Brittany. Over hills and over valleys, by the land and by the water They have come, and still they come.They all approach with the cry: "To the heretics, death!"
Behold them, the priests at their head, Behold them, the Cath'lic Crusaders! The red cross on their breasts, The Christ on their lips, The fagot in one hand, The sword in the other! Behold them in our dear land of Languedoc! Behold them, the Cath'lic Crusaders, Behold them, the priests at their head! What wrong have we done to these priests? Oh, what wrong have we done unto them!



[Chasseneuil:  see Bulfinch in 1888, at]

NARRATOR:  Here they are, before Chasseneuil, the Catholic Crusaders, Before Chasseneuil, the fortified town! Behind their high walls' shelter, men, women and children Have sought refuge from burgs and from hamlets. The men in arms are on the ramparts;Women and children weep in the houses.The women and children weep in the houses, The Crusaders have sighted the town.

Behold Abbot Reynier of Citeaux. He steps forth; he speaks. He says: "Heretics of Chasseneuil, choose-- The Catholic faith or death!" The answer comes: "Monk, be gone! Romanist, avaunt! We prefer death to the Church of Rome! The devil take the Pope! Monk be gone! We prefer death to the Church of Rome!"
Abbot Reynier, in a passion, Back to the Crusaders he rides, and he cries: "Kill, burn, pillage, ravage! That not one of the Chasseneuil heretics Escape the sword or the flames! Their goods now belong to the Catholics! Kill, burn, pillage, ravage!"

The assailants are wild, no less so th' assailed. How the blood flows! Oh! How it flows! The besiegers are in numbers, uncountable: The besieged are but few. Woe to the vanquished! The ramparts being scaled The priests pour in, cross in hand: "Kill--kill the Chasseneuil heretics! Kill--kill the Chasseneuil heretics!"

The Crusaders have massacred, slaughtered and kille Old men and young, Aged grand-mothers, youthful grand-daughters, Virgins and infants! The blood runs in streams through the streets of Chasseneuil! The blood runs red and steaming, As waves in the butcher's place of slaughter!

They have massacred at Chasseneuil Full seven thousand of our people, The Catholic Crusaders! They have slaughtered seven thousand at Chasseneuil! At last, tired of carnage and outraging women, They pillage and pillage again! In pillaging houses they meet women and old men Children and many of the wounded, Who sought refuge in places concealed.

The gibbets are raised! The pyres are lighted! The rope and the flames end the work Which the sword set on foot. Torture and slaughter The rope and the flames end the worK Which the sword set on foot! Ravaged from one end to the other, The city contains but corpses in heaps!

"To Beziers!" Now cries the papal legate. "Fall to, Montfort, up and to work! His Holiness has issued the order! Kill, pillage, burn all heretics, As was done at Chasseneuil!." "To Beziers!" echoes back the Count of Montfort. And, behold, they march to Beziers, The Catholic Crusaders, The red cross on their breasts, The name of Jesus on their lips The sword in one hand, The fagot in the other, To torture and to slaughter! What wrong have we done to these priests? What wrong have we done unto them!

                                                    SONG ON THE BUTCHERY OF BEZIERS.
Behold, them, the Cath'lic Crusaders, Arrived before fortified Beziers! They are gorged with pillage and blood, The priests ever leading the way! At the side of Montfort are the Archbishops of Sens and Bordeaux, The Bishops of Puy, Autun, Limoges, Bazas and Agde, Besides from Clermont, Cahors and Nevers. The Army of the Faith encircles the town. Reginald of Montpayroux, the Bishop of Beziers, Whom, together with all of his priests, the people Had left unincommoded in his episcopal palace, Reginald of Montpayroux, then addresses the town: "Renounce your heresy, Submit to the Catholic Church; If not, by the Catholic Church I swear to you, Not one house I'll leave standing in your town of Beziers! Not one living being shall be left with his life!"

"Be gone, bishop!" he's answered aloud by the crowd, "Be gone, Romanist! Sooner we'll kill ourselves,
Ourselves, our wives and our children than submit to your Church!" "Be gone, bishop! Sooner we'll kill ourselves, Ourselves, our wives and our children than submit to your Church!" Thus did the people make answer. To Montfort, The bishop reports, and he adds: "Fall to, Montfort! His Holiness has issued the order

To arms! Kill, burn, pillage and ravage! Let not a single heretic escape death! Their goods are now ours!" "Yes!" cries the Abbot of Citeaux. "Not even if Twenty thousand, a hundred thousand they be, Not one of them, no, not a single one shall escape The rope, or the sword, or the flames! Torture and slaughter!" No! Not a single creature escapes The rope, or the sword, or the flames!

"But," answers Montfort, "There are Catholics at Beziers; How are we, in the midst of the carnage To distinguish the faithful?"

The papal legate cries in answer: "Kill away! Kill them all! The Lord will distinguish His own!_"

"Kill them all!" cries the papal legate, "The Lord will distinguish His own!"

Beziers is taken by assault; They kill all the living, as they did at Chasseneuil, The Cath'lic Crusaders!
First, seven thousand children, sheltered in St. Madeleine's Church, Are put to the sword And the carnage continues two consecutive days. Aye, two consecutive days, from sun-rise to sun-rise. And the time is all needed, those two days and nights, To slaughter sixty-three thousand creatures of God; Aye, sixty-three thousand, Catholics and heretics killed at Beziers! Sixty-three thousand.

That is the number of Beziers' victims. After the raping of women and slaughter, the pillage; After the pillage, the torch of th' incendiary. The booty is placed upon wagons outside the town

And then--"Burn up Beziers! Burn up the heretic hot-bed!"  And all is burned down--all-- Artisans' houses and houses of bourgeois; The communal City Hall, and the viscount's palace; The hospital of the poor, and the great cathedral built by Gervais. Everything burned, aye everything.

And when all is burnt down, and the wagons of booty heaped high. And the vine-stocks pulled up by the roots, And the olive trees cut down in the orchard, And the crops consumed by the flames in the garrets,

"To Carcassonne!" Cries the papal legate. "Fall to, Montfort! On the march! His Holiness has issued the order. To Carcassonne! Kill, pillage, burn the heretics, as we have done At Chasseneuil and Beziers! To Carcassonne!" "On to Carcassonne! Kill, pillage, burn the heretics as we have done At Chasseneuil and Beziers!

On to Carcassonne," echoes Montfort. And behold them, they march on Carcassonne, The Cath'lic Crusaders, the priests in the lead! The red cross on their breasts, The name of Jesus on their lips, The sword in one hand, The fagot in the other! To the rape, to tortures and slaughter!

What wrong have we done to these priests? Oh, what wrong have we done unto them!

New cathedral at Beziers, a confused conglomeration of styles.

Beziers, France. New cathedral, built on destroyed old church after the Cathar Wars, and built with confiscated Cathar wealth.


They march upon Carcassonne, The Cath'lic Crusaders! Ill fortified is the town, Into the town, Roger, the young Viscount of Beziers, Too late back from Aragon to defend the capital of his domain, Has thrown himself. The young man is bold and generous, beloved by all. A heretic, like most the seigneurs of Languedoc, This land of freedom. The young viscount bows before the popular magistrates,

And to the city's franchise. The viscount and councilmen re-kindle the town's folks' enthusiasm, Chilled for a moment by the massacres of Chasseneuil and Beziers. Deep ditches are dug, high palisades raised To strengthen the ramparts of Carcassonne. The old and the young, the rich and the poor, men, women and children-- All labor with zeal for the defense of the city, and they say: "No! We shall not let ourselves be slaughtered as The people of Chasseneuil and Beziers-- No!"

"No! We shall not let ourselves be slaughtered as The people of Chasseneuil and Beziers--No!" But the line of the horizon is soon darkened by dust, From afar the earth trembles Under the tread of steeds caparisoned in iron, And mounted by warriors cased in iron themselves. The iron points of a forest of lances glisten, They glisten like the armors In the rays of the rising sun. The hill, the valley and the plain Soon are covered with cohorts innumerable. The multitude in arms has steadily, steadily swollen.

It reaches from East to West, it overlaps the horizon. It approaches from the North and the South, And Carcassonne is from all sides surrounded. The wagons and baggage follow the trains, And behind them larger and still larger crowds. Early in the morning th' invader descends the distant hills. The Cath'lic Crusaders encamp towards evening.

Early in the morning th' invader descends the distant hills. The Cath'lic Crusaders arrive and encamp towards evening. Montfort, the prelates and knights raise their tents; The multitude sleeps on the ground under the vault of the heavens. They are so delightful; oh! so delightful, the nights of Languedoc!

Other Crusaders invade and they pillage the suburbs, Whose inhabitants fled within Carcassonne. At dawn the next morning, the trumpets sound in the Crusaders' camp; "To the assault! Death to the heretics of Carcassonne! Kill--kill as you did at Chasseneuil and Beziers! To the assault!"

The men of Carcassonne are on the ramparts. The struggle begins; it is bloody, it is furious. The young viscount and consuls by example and courage redouble The strength of the besieged. Women and children fetch stones for the engines of war; The ditches are heaped full with corpses.

"Victory for the heretics! This time they triumph!" The assailants are all driven back. But dearly they paid for this vict'ry, the heretics! Helas! They paid for it dearly, The heretics of Carcassonne. Of their men there are killed, or are wounded Full twelve thousand heroes, the flow'r of the brave. Still greater is the loss of the Crusaders. But still their forces number near two hundred thousand.

A messenger from Montfort arrives in Carcassonne, and he says: "Sir viscount, Sirs consuls! The Pope's blessed legate and also Seigneur Montfort the count offer a truce unto you, And they swear on their faith of Cath'lic priests and of knights That if you, viscount and consuls, will come to the camp of the crusaders You shall all be respected, and allowed to return to your city Should you decline to accept the terms that the legate and count will propose."

Reposing their faith in the oaths of the priest and the knight, "Let's to the camp!" say the consuls in the hope their city to save. And they appear in the tent of Montfort.

They appear in the tent of Montfort. The viscount says to the count: "Spare the unhappy town, Mention the ransom; it shall be paid unto you. If you refuse, to Carcassonne we shall ride back And bury ourselves under its ruins!"

"Brave Sire!" answers Montfort, "The whole of your domain now belongs unto me:  The Holy Father to the soldiers of Christ has given the goods of the heretics. Write on the spot to your townsmen to renounce Their damnable heresy, else we'll assault them again on the morrow.  By the God who died and again resurrected, I swear, Unless they renounce, your townsmen will be put to the sword, As we did with those of Chasseneuil and Beziers."

The viscount makes answer: "Montfort, adieu! We've a horror for the Church of the Pope; we reject your proposal; We shall know how to die!" And Montfort replies: "No 'adieus' here will pass, Sir Viscount of Beziers! Yourself and your councilmen now are my prisoners, The prisoners of me, Montfort, the chief of this holy Crusade."

"Your prisoners we? We, whom a truce now protects? We, who are here relying on the word of a priest, of the papal legate? We, who are here under your pledge as a knight? No, not we; we're no pris'ners of thine."

Abbot Reynier of Citeaux then replies: "These are the Pope's own words: 'None is bound to keep his pledge to him who keeps not his pledge to God.' "You shall remain our prisoners, Viscount of Beziers! To-morrow, to the assault! Fall to, Montfort! The Holy Father has ordered: 'Kill, burn, pillage! Let not a heretic of Carcassonne Escape the sword, the rope, or the flames!'"

"Let not a heretic of Carcassonne Escape the sword, the rope, or the flames!"

The young viscount and consuls are pinioned-- The viscount soon dies by poison, the consuls on the gibbet. At dawn th' assault is sounded; The Crusaders march against the walls; The walls, they are unguarded, they are not now defended. The Crusaders knock down the palisades, Fill up the ditches, beat in the gates. None guard the city; none defend it. Without striking a blow the Crusaders rush into the streets, They rush into the houses. Not a soul is seen on the street, not a soul is found in the houses.  The silence of the tomb reigns in Carcassonne,

What has become of its people? The silence of the tomb reigns in Carcassonne, What has become of its people? The Crusaders invade every nook, every corner. They find, at last, in hidden corners Some people gravely wounded, some ill and some old, Or some women lying-in. The Crusaders thus find some wives, some daughters or mothers Who refused to abandon some husband, some father, some son, Too seriously wounded or old to take flight, To take flight through the woods and the mountains, And there to keep in concealment For days, for months, perhaps. They fled! Did all the inhabitants of Carcassonne flee?

They fled! Did all the inhabitants of Carcassonne flee? Yes, notified during the night of the fate of their viscount and consuls, Afraid of the extermination threatened to their town, All fled, the wounded dragging behind, The mothers carrying their children on backs and on arms, The men taking charge of the provisions. Aye, leaving behind their hearths and their goods, All have fled by a secret subterranean passage-- They fled, the people of Carcassonne fled.

They fled, the people of Carcassonne fled, The thickets of the forests, The caverns of the mountains will be their place of refuge, For days to come and months. If ever they see their town again, How many will return from the woods, the caverns and the rocks? How many will have survived exhaustion?

They left, twenty thousand and more; A few thousand, perhaps, may return. "Oh! the heretics of Carcassonne have slipped through our fingers!" Thus cries the papal legate: "Those who were unable to follow them shall bear the punishment for all. Pillage the town, and after the pillage the pyre, the gibbet For the miscreants who fell into our hands!"

Carcassonne is ravaged from cellar to garret. After the pillage the gibbets are raised, And the wood is piled for the pyres. Death! Torture! Rape! Slaughter! Carcassonne is ravaged from cellar to garret. After the pillage the gibbets are raised, And the wood is piled for the pyres. The Crusaders carry the wounded, Mutilated some of these are, others expiring; The weak, the old, the lying-in women, The daughters, the wives and the mothers of those who were unable to flee--

All are hanged, quartered, or burned. Flare up, ye flames of the pyres! Ye ropes of the gibbets, straighten yourselves Under the weight of your loads! All are hanged, quartered or burned-- All the Carcassonne heretics left in the town; All are hanged, quartered or burned. [death by quartering: see}

And then the wagons are filled with the booty. "To Lavaur!" now cries the papal legate. "Fall to, Montfort! On the march! Kill, pillage, burn the heretics! Our Holy Father thus has issued the order!" "To Lavaur! To Lavaur!" Montfort makes answer. And behold, the Cath'lic Crusaders now march upon Lavaur.

Priests lead the way, The red cross on their breasts, The name of Jesus on their lips, The sword in one hand, The torch in the other! What wrong have we done to these priests? Oh, what wrong have we done unto them!


Aye, behold them on the march to Lavaur, The fagot in one hand, The sword in the other, The Catholic Crusaders! Aye, behold what they've done until now. Oh, valiant sons of Languedoc! Oh, ye sons of ancient Gaul, Who, like our fathers, have known how to re-conquer freedom, Read on the flag of the Catholic Crusaders, Read--read these lines traced in blood and in fire: "Chasseneuil," "Beziers," "Carcassonne."

Tell me! Will "Lavaur" also soon be read on its folds? And "Albi"? "Toulouse"? "Arles"? "Narbonne"? "Avignon"? "Orange"? "Beaucaire"? Tell me, has there been enough rapine and rape, Carnage and arson? Tell me, is't enough? Are Chasseneuil, Beziers, Carcassonne enough?

Tell me, Chasseneuil, Beziers, Carcassonne-- Is't enough? Tell me, are all our cities to be turned into heaps of ashes? Our fields into deserts, whitened with human bones? Our woods into forests of gibbets? Our rivers into torrents of blood? Our skies into ruddy reflections of conflagrations and pyres? Tell me, will you submit, Ye brave men who emancipated yourselves from the yoke of Rome? Will you relapse, you, your wives, your children, Under the execrable power of the priests, Whose soldiers rape, slay and burn women and children?

Are you ready for that? No! You are not! No! Your hearts beat high, your blood boils and you declare: Chasseneuil, Beziers, Carcassonne--that's enough! Too much! Aye, aye, Chasseneuil, Beziers, Carcassonne--that's enough! Despite their valor, our brothers have perished. Let us redouble our valor, Let us crush our enemy. No truce nor mercy for him. Over mountains and valleys-- Let's pursue him! Harrass him! Cut him to pieces! Let us rise as one man, sons of Languedoc, All!

Implacable war! War to the death to the Cath'lic Crusader! Right is with us; All is justified against them-- The fork and the scythe, The club and the stone, The hands and the teeth! To arms, ye heretics of Languedoc! To arms!

Also we cry: "On to Lavaur!" And may Lavaur be the grave of the Cath'lic Crusaders! Vengeance! Death to the invader!

NARRATOR:  Mylio the Trouvere,  Mylio the Troubadour, composed this song, and throughout the country sang it from place to place while the army of the Crusaders marched upon the city and Castle of Lavaur.[4]


NARRATOR:  The scene is a beautiful villa that has been abandoned by its heretic owners.  It lies at only a short distance from the castle of Giraude, the Lady of Lavaur, and is now besieged by the Crusaders. The retreat is occupied by the general of the Army of the Faith, see at Simon, Count of Montfort. He is accompanied by his wife Alyx of Montmorency, who only recently joined her husband in Languedoc. The tents of the seigneurs lie scattered around the house occupied by their chief. The camp itself, formed of huts of earth or of tree branches in which the soldiers are bivouacked, lies at a distance. The mass of serfs, who availed themselves of the opportunity to leave their masters' fields under the pretext of joining the hunt of heretics, but who were attracted mainly by the prospect of pillage, lie on the bare ground and shelterless.
It is night. A wax candle sheds a dim light in one of the lower apartments of the villa. A large fire burns in the hearth, the evening being cool. Two knights are engaged in conversation near the fire. One is Lambert, Seigneur of Limoux, who, at the Blois Court of Love, filled the functions of Conservator of the High Privileges of Love. The other is Hugues, Seigneur of Lascy, ex-Seneschal of Sweet-Marjoram in the same Court. Although now in full armor, the fur cap that he wears exposes a bandage around his head. The knight was wounded at the siege of Lavaur.
HUGUES OF LASCY [This could be Hugues de Lacy born in Normandy in 1020? See; but this other site says this is Hugh de Lacey of Ireland born 1176,]  (addressing his companion who has just entered the room)--Montfort now rests somewhat more easily. He sleeps, and his fever is reduced.
LAMBERT OF LIMOUX [see]-- So much the better, because I have just notified his wife that she should no longer count upon the physician whom she expected from Lavaur.

HUGUES OF LASCY--Who is this physician?
LAMBERT OF LIMOUX--  The countess was distressed and remembered that a prisoner had information that the most famous physician of this country, a fanatical heretic, was at the Castle of Lavaur. The countess ordered the prisoner to be brought to her, and offered to set him free upon condition: that he would convey to the physician at Lavaur a letter in which a safe conduct was promised him.  But the safe conduct for the prisoner depended on the physician's consent to come and attend to Montfort, after which the celebrated physician also was to be free to return to the beleaguered city.
HUGUES OF LASCY--What an imprudence! How can the countess entrust so precious a life to the care of a heretic?

LAMBERT OF LIMOUX--Dismiss your fears. The scamp immediately left on his errand, and at the solicitation of the countess I waited for the physician at our advanced posts. I waited until now to bring him here. But night set in; he has not appeared; we need no longer expect him. Nevertheless, I left orders for him to be brought hither in case that he should still present himself at the camp, which is highly improbable.
HUGUES OF LASCY--"The countess has lost her wits. How could she think of entrusting Montfort's life to an enemy!

LAMBERT OF LIMOUX--I raised the objection directly to Alyx of Montmorency. Her answer was that, seeing the physician in question is one of those whom these damned heretics call 'Perfects', the man would certainly carry his
hypocrisy to the point of not betraying the trust reposed in him. She thinks so, because the affectation of honesty on the part of these wretches goes beyond all bounds. It is the sublimity of knavery.
HUGUES OF LASCY-- No doubt these fanatics are capable of the most wicked affectation, in order to give themselves the semblance of virtue.
LAMBERT OF LIMOUX--There is one thing, however, that is no false semblance, and that is the inveterate resistance offered by these people of Lavaur. Do you know that they defend themselves like lions? Blood of Christ, it looks like a dream! The siege of this accursed town, that has already cost us many captains and soldiers, has now lasted nearly a month, while Chasseneuil, Beziers and Carcassonne were taken almost without striking a blow. These fellows of Lavaur are rude customers!

HUGUES OF LASCY--Their determined and also unexpected resistance, not hitherto encountered by us since our invasion of Albigeois, is attributed to the enthusiasm that certain furiously savage poems are said to have kindled among the people, and which are being sung from place to place by Mylio the Trouvere, the same whom we knew in northern Gaul.

LAMBERT OF LIMOUX--That Mylio must be among the besieged. No doubt it is he who is pricking the Lady of Lavaur, one of the most embittered heretics of the country, to offer the desperate resistance that we meet.
HUGUES OF LASCY (with a cruel smile)--Patience! Patience! This is not a Court of Love where warriors bow down before the authority of women. Blood of Christ! When we shall have seized this infernal castle, a terrible court of justice will be held within its walls, and the Lady of Lavaur will be proclaimed Queen of the Pyre.
LAMBERT OF LIMOUX--And after the execution of the she-cat we shall salute you 'Seigneur of Lavaur;' happy Lascy! Montfort has promised the seigniory to you; it is one of the most valuable of Albigeois; and he never fails in his word toward the faithful.

HUGUES OF LASCY-- Will you envy me the gift? Has not Montfort, who is now the master and conqueror of the region, bestowed several of the seigniories upon chiefs of our Crusade? He may bestow one upon you also!
LAMBERT OF LIMOUX--May heaven keep me from entertaining any jealousy towards you! As to me, my part is done. And to speak truly, the good bags of gold and the fine silver vessel that I captured at the sack of Beziers, and which are safely kept in my baggage, are, to my mind, preferable to all the domains of Albigeois. One can not carry home with him either lands or castles, and the chances of war are risky. But I hope that I shall have nothing more to fear from that quarter after the 10th of this month.
HUGUES OF LASCY--What does that date signify?
LAMBERT OF LIMOUX-- The day after that date the forty days will have expired that are all a Crusader owes to a holy war. The forty days begin from the moment he sets foot upon the heretical land. After that he can ride with his men back to his own manor. And that is what I purpose to do-- (enter an equerry, a messenger who had arrived on horse)
HUGUES OF LASCY-- Where are you running to in that way? What pressing business have you in hand?"
EQUERRY--  Sire, the count is in great danger. He lies in the agony of death!
HUGUES OF LASCY- -But only a short while ago he was resting calmly, and the fever had abated? What change has come over him?

EQUERRY-- The count woke up and almost suffocated. I am running after Abbot Reynier by order of the countess. She wishes him to administer the extreme unction [a rite dating from the end of the 12th Century, but denied as to some bodily parts to women, see] to the seigneur, and open for him the gates of paradise. (Equerry exits)

(Soldier enters)

SOLDIER: (TO LAMBERT OF LIMOUX) -- Seigneur, I have brought to you the heretic of Lavaur, whom I was ordered to wait for at our advanced posts. He asks to be allowed to enter.

HUGUES OF LASCY-  Do you insist on trusting Montfort's life to that damned heretic? You are assuming a grave responsibility.
LAMBERT OF LIMOUX--I shall take him to Alyx of Montmorency.--It will be for her to decide in this grave emergency.

(Karvel the Perfect enters calmly, with a small casket, but under guard).

LAMBERT OF LIMOUX (to Karvel)-- Follow me. I shall take you to Alyx of Montmorency, the worthy spouse of the Count of Montfort.

NARRATOR -- Simon, Count of Leicester and of Montfort-L'Amaury lies on a bed in great agony. Alyx of Montmorency, a woman barely thirty years old, is on her knees near her husband's couch. Lambert of Limoux introduces Karvel the Perfect to Alyx and withdraws, leaving him in the chamber.

ALYX OF MONTMORENCY -- (crossing herself, addresses the physician) You have been long in coming. It may now be too late!

KARVEL--We have many wounded in Lavaur. My first assistance was due to them. You have summoned me in the name of humanity. I have come, madam, to fill a sacred duty.

ALYX OF MONTMORENCY-- At times it pleases the Lord to avail Himself of the most perverse instruments in behalf of His elect!

KARVEL (smiling at the singular reception, examines Simon) -- Your husband must be quickly bled, madam. (and he draws forth a red cloth band and lancets)  Kindly draw this table and candle nearer, madam; I shall then want your assistance to support your husband's arm. The silver basin that I see on yonder shelf will serve to receive the blood in. I recommend to you, madam, not to allow the count to bend his arm when I prick it. There is an artery that my lancet might cut, if the arm is not held steady--and that would prove mortal.
ALYX OF MONTMORENCY (impassible)-- My husband can die. He is in the state of grace (what did this mean at the time?  start at Wikipedia for an overview of the topic)
KARVEL -- (hesitates for an instant, stupefied by such frigid insensibility, then his professional instinct leads him to lance the vein, from which a jet of thick black blood immediately issues and falls steaming into the silver basin)  What black blood! The bleeding will, I hope, save your husband, madam!"
ALYX OF MONTMORENCY-- The will of God be done! May His name be glorified.(The Count appears to revive)

KARVEL --He is saved!
ALYX OF MONTMORENCY (raising her eyes to the ceiling)--Lord, since it pleases You to leave my husband in this valley of tears and misery--may Your will be done! May Your holy name be glorified (Karvel staunches the flow of blood, removes several vials from the casket he had brought, and prepares a potion)

KARVEL --Please raise your husband's head, madam, and help me to make him drink this potion that will restore his strength. All danger of death is now removed.

MONTFORT (recovering, his gaze fixing upon Karvel)  Who is that man?
ALYX OF MONTMORENCY--It is the heretic Lavaur physician whom we sent for (Montfort registers confusion, surprise).
KARVEL -- Madam, you will give your husband a mouthful of the potion in this flask every hour during the night. I think that will suffice to restore the count to health. He shall have to keep his bed two or three days. And now, adieu; the wounded of Lavaur are waiting for me.

MONTFORT -- [see Simon IV de Montfort,]  (seeing his savior moving towards the door, rises on his elbow and says to Karvel in an imperative tone)--Stop! (The Perfect hesitate) (and to his equerry) That physician shall not leave the place without my orders.(equerry exits)  Listen, physician, I am expert on courage. You have given proof of courage in coming hither--alone--in the lion's den--

KARVEL-- Your wife summoned me to your camp in the name of humanity. You are a human being--you suffered--I hastened to you. Moreover, I thought it well to prove once more how these 'heretics,' these 'monsters'--against whom so many horrors have been unchained--practice the evangelical morality of Jesus. You are our implacable enemy, Montfort, and yet I am glad to have saved your life.

MONTFORT--Blaspheme not! You have only been the vile instrument of thewill of God, Who has willed to spare my life, the life of His unworthy servant, the life of the humble sword of His triumphant Church.--But I repeat it. You are a brave fellow. As such you interest me. I would like to save your soul.
KARVEL--Do not trouble yourself about that. Only let me return without delay to Lavaur, where our wounded await my services.

MONTFORT--No! You shall not depart so soon!
KARVEL--You have the power. I submit (After a moment's reflection) Seeing that you oppose my departure, seeing that you believe you owe me some gratitude, pay the debt by sincerely answering me a few questions.
MONTFORT--I allow you to speak.
KARVEL--Your valor is well known.--Your morals are austere.--You are humane towards your soldiers. At the crossing of the Durance you were seen to throw yourself into the water to save a foot-soldier who was being carried off by the current.
MONTFORT (brusquely)--Enough! Enough! You shall not awaken in my soul the demon of pride! I am only an earthly worm!

KARVEL--I am not flattering you.--You are accessible to humane promptings. Now, then, tell me, did you not moan at the fate of the sixty thousand creatures of God--men, women and children--who were massacred in Beziers by orders issued by yourself and the papal legate?

MONTFORT--Never did I feel greater exaltation. To obey the Pope is to obey God!

KARVEL (struck by the sincerity of Montfort's tone, remains pensive for a moment)--The delirium of war is blind, I know. But after the battle is over, after the sanguinary fever is cooled down, still to order in cold blood the massacre of thousands of unarmed and inoffensive beings, women and children--it is shocking! Think of it, Montfort, to order the massacre of children!

MONTFORT (afflicted)--  Behold how the sacrilegious astonishment of the miscreant proves the depth of his heresy! He does not know that children die in a state of grace!
KARVEL--Explain yourself more clearly. Be indulgent with my ignorance.  In a city that is taken by storm, a mother flees with her child. You slay the mother. Is that a worthy act before God?

MONTFORT-- The viper that is crushed, breeds no more little ones. The supply of the miscreants is thus reduced.

KARVEL--That is logical. But why slay the child? That is an abominable act?
MONTFORT-- Of what age are you supposing the child to be?
KARVEL--I suppose it to be at its mother's breast.

MONTFORT--Has it been baptized by a Catholic priest?

KARVEL--That child at its mother's breast whom you slay--has been baptized.
MONTFORT--Then it is in a state of grace and ascends straight into Paradise. As to children who are older than seven years, they go to purgatory there to await their admission in the blessed resting place. But if they have not been baptized--then the case is grave--

KARVEL--What happens to those children?

MONTFORT-- The poor little creatures, still dripping with the soil of original sin, go straight to hell where they are forever deprived of the countenance of God. Nevertheless, in consideration of their tender years, the hope is left to them of being exempted from the everlasting flames by the prayers of the faithful--a grace that never would have fallen to their share had they been allowed to remain wallowing in the pestilence of heresy! Their death will have resulted in a mitigation of their punishment.
KARVEL--Accordingly, in these days of a 'holy war', the accidental killing of a Catholic child sends him straight to Paradise.  Yet the slaying of a heretic child affords it only a good opportunity to escape the everlasting flames, but does not snatch it out of hell!
MONTFORT--You have put it correctly. The child that is not baptized can never emerge out of hell.

KARVEL-- I am now clear upon the fate of children. Let us now take up the case of women--

MONTFORT-- I am anxious to save your soul. Perchance this conversation will open your eyes to the light.
KARVEL-- In the Castle of Lavaur that you are now besieging there is a woman--an angel of goodness and virtue. Her name is Giraude. (The count seems to be seized with fury at the mentioning of the name and tosses on his couch). Let me finish what I have to say. Be not impatient; besides, a fit of anger might prove fatal to you in your present condition. Take a few drops of this potion. I see that your wife, piously absorbed in her orisons, forgets the creature for the Creator.

MONTFORT (after taking a few draughts of the potion and again heaving a sigh of relief)-- The Lord has had pity upon me, miserable sinner that I am! I feel my strength returning. May the Lord be praised! Let the heretics tremble in their burrows!

KARVEL--The Lady of Lavaur is locked up with her son and brother in the Castle of Lavaur which you are now besieging. Giraude is an angel of virtue and goodness. Suppose that to-morrow, more successful than in your previous attacks upon the castle, you carry it by assault, and Giraude together with her son, a lad of fourteen, having escaped the general massacre, fall into your hands. What will you do with that woman and her son? Answer me, noble Count of Montfort!

MONTFORT--The papal legate will say to the heretic woman: 'Will you, yes or no, renounce Satan and re-enter into the bosom of the Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church? Will you, yes or no, renounce all your earthly goods and lock yourself up for the rest of your days in a cloister, there to expiate your past heretical life?'

KARVEL--Giraude will answer the Pope's legate: 'I have my faith, you have yours. I wish to remain true to my religion.'

MONTFORT (enraged)--There is but one faith in the world, the Catholic faith! All who refuse to enter the pale of the Church deserve death. If the Lady of Lavaur should persist in her detestable creed, she will perish in the flames of the pyre!
KARVEL--I know not whether you have any children. But you have a wife. Your mother still lives or has died. Think of her, you pious servant of the Church! Montfort, unconquerable warrior, you certainly loved your mother?
MONTFORT -- Oh, yes--I loved her dearly!

KARVEL--And yet you would mercilessly order a woman to be burned who was a model of a wife, and is a model of a mother?

MONTFORT (with a sinister smile)--And that surprises you? You take me for a ferocious man? Oh, my God! how can you do otherwise, seeing that you have no faith. If you had you would understand that, on the contrary, I act with humanity by bringing the sword and the fagot into your country.
KARVEL--Humanity in burning and massacring the heretics, and in authorizing rape and butchery?
MONTFORT-- Listen, and now it will be my turn to say: Answer with sincerity. You have a wife, a mother, children, friends. You love them dearly. In your country there is a province that is a permanent hot-bed of a contagion that threatens to invade the neighboring districts, to attack your own family, your friends and the whole population. Will you, under such circumstances hesitate one instant to purify that corner of your country, even if you have to do it with fire and sword? In the very name of that humanity that you speak about, will you hesitate to sacrifice a thousand, twenty thousand infected beings in order to save millions of other human beings from the incurable pestilence? No! no!

You will strike, and strike hard, and strike again. Your arm would never rest until the last one of the execrable and infected beings is dead, and has carried the last germ of the frightful disease into his tomb. And you will have performed an act of humanity.

KARVEL--(with indignation)--Oh, priests! Your infernal astuteness is such that, in order to insure the triumph of your unbridled ambition, you know how to exploit even the generous promptings of a man's heart and turn them to your own purpose!
MONTFORT--What is that you say! Impious blasphemer! Retract those infamous words!

KARVEL--It is not you, blind and convinced fanatic, that I accuse. You said so, and you expressed your convictions. Yes, you consider yourself humane. Yes, if you slay children, it is in order to despatch them to Paradise! If you exterminate us mercilessly, it is because according to your convictions our belief damns the souls of men forever! But, good God, what a religion is that! It is a monstrous, a frightful prodigy! It so wholly dethrones man's reason and upsets his sense of right and wrong that you and your accomplices verily believe you are doing an act of piety when you carry ferocity beyond even the bounds of possibility!

ALEX OF MONTMORENCY (having completed her prayers, hears and points her finger at the Perfect) -- Oh! How many souls may not that hardened sinner forever lead astray! Let him die!"

MONTFORT (meditatively, to his wife)--I was thinking of that--there is nothing to expect from him. (deliberately, to Karvel) Do you persist in your heresy?
KARVEL--Hear, Montfort: at Chasseneuil, at Beziers, at Carcassonne, at Termes, at Minerve, in all the places whither the Army of the Faith carried ravage and murder, women, maids and children who escaped the massacre and were by you condemned to the pyre, threw themselves heroically into the flames rather than, even with their lips, accept that Roman Church, whose base name causes us disgust and horror. The 'heresy' has passed into our blood; our children have taken it in with their mothers' milk. Not unless you exterminate them all will you have exterminated 'heresy' from this region.

The more men, women and children you slay, the vaster the regions of our country that you depopulate and turn into deserts, all the more imperishable will be the monuments raised by yourself and that will teach the next generations to execrate your Church.

The air that is breathed in this region has for centuries been so impregnated by the breath of freedom, that breath is so pure and penetrating, that neither the steam from the torrents of blood that you have shed, nor yet the smoke that has gone up from the pyres that you have lighted have been able to contaminate it. Here our ancestors have lived in freedom; here we shall know how to live in freedom or to die; and here our children will emulate us and remain, like ourselves, unshackled by the Church of Rome.

ALYX OF MONTMORENCY (addressing the Count, her eyes filling with tears)  This man is indeed a monster!  My heart bleeds like the Holy Virgin! I take You for witness, Lord God, my divine master! Strengthened by faith against the trials that it has pleased You to afflict me with for my salvation, it is long since I have wept. No; I have seen my father die and my second son; I looked upon their corpses with a tranquil eye, seeing that it was You, Oh my God, who called them unto You.

To-day, however, my tears flow when I think of the thousands of poor souls whom the abominable preachings of this, this monster of perdition, this heretic, may cause to burn everlastingly in hell!
MONTFORT (weeping like the countess, whom he closes in his arms)--Console yourself, dear and saintly wife! Console yourself! We shall pray for the souls that this miscreant has damned. It has pleased the Lord to recall me to life this day. I shall prove my devout recognition by dedicating to pious works a part of the booty that we shall take at Lavaur. I shall establish masses for the repose of the souls of the heretics of this city whom I shall exterminate.

NARRATOR: The ingenious idea of masses, especially consecrated to the repose of the souls of the heretics whom Montfort promises himself soon to put to the sword or to consign to the flames, seems to assuage the countess's grief. Suddenly the din of a distant tumult breaks in upon the silence of Montfort's sick chamber. Trumpets are heard sounding from the direction of the camp. Montfort starts, half rises on his couch, and listens

MONTFORT -- Alyx, it is the call to arms! The besieged must have made a sally! This way, my equerries!--My armor!--Let my horse be saddled. (he tries to rise, falls back; the lanced arm bleeds once again. Karvel hastens to block the flow)

EQUERRY -- Seigneur! To arms!  The camp is breached! The Seigneurs of Lascy and Limoux were in the neighboring room awaiting the orders of seigneur the count, when a knight rode in with notice that a large heretic force was seeking to enter the Castle of Lavaur under the cover of night, in order to reinforce the garrison. Hugues of Lascy and Lambert of Limoux immediately rode off with the knight and ordered a call to arms.
KARVEL (attending to Montfort)--Mylio's songs have not been vain. They have redoubled the courage of the inhabitants of Languedoc!

A SECOND EQUERRY (enters and says to the countess)--A messenger brings information that the heretics are fighting with desperate courage. Abbot Reynier requests monseigneur to mount his horse and ride forth. It will steel the courage of our troops.

ALYX OF MONTMORENCY -- Tell the messenger of our venerable Father, Abbot Reynier, that monseigneur lies unconscious on his couch, and is unable to take horse--Go! (The equerry hastens out).  May the Almighty watch over His elect!"
KARVEL --How many of our brothers will not lose their lives in the attack!

EQUERRY (re-entering)-- The pagans succeeded in making good their entry into Lavaur. Many of them, however, have been killed, wounded or taken prisoner. Lambert of Limoux and Hugues of Lascy are bringing the prisoners to camp. Abbot Reynier is with them.

KARVEL (with great anxiety)--Good God! If Mylio and his friend the juggler should happen to be among the prisoners, it will be their sentence of death.


NARRATOR:  Mylio and Goose-Skin are indeed among the prisoners, and are taken into the large hall of the villa
by Lambert of Limoux and Hugues of Lascy. Karvel has remained near Montfort. Mylio is wounded. A blood-stained handkerchief bandages his arm. Although unscathed, the juggler seems to be a prey to great apprehension. Informed upon the dangerous condition of the count, Abbot Reynier proceeds to the patient's chamber, while Hugues of Lascy and Lambert of Limoux, their visors down, converse in a low voice a few paces away from the trouvere and the juggler.
MYLIO (to his companion in a tone of sorrow)--My poor Goose-Skin, you are now a prisoner--it is all my fault.
GOOSE-SKIN-- What I blame you for is for having drawn upon me--good and peaceful corpse that I was--the attention of these scampish Crusaders. I heard one of them cry out: 'That mountain of meat is so enormous that I wager my pike could not transfix it. Just watch, my companions.'--

MYLIO--And no sooner had you heard the words than you turned so prodigious a somersault that I was as happy at your resurrection as amazed at your agility. It was a wonderful jump. Your good spirits have come back. So much the better.

GOOSE-SKIN (nodding his head towards the two seigneurs, who now draw near after having raised their visors)--"Mylio, it seems to me we know these two men. May the devil take them to hell!"
MYLIO (looking back)--Hugues of Lascy? Lambert of Limoux? (addressing them in an ironical voice) All hail to the Bailiff of the Joy of Joys! By the heavens! Here we have a bit of infamous hypocrisy! Is it you, holy men, who have come to extirpate heresy in Albigeois? (Turning to Goose-Skin) Do you remember that last pleading before the Court of Love? That vast exercise in frivolity?
GOOSE-SKIN--The court of ribaldry, of which these two bearers of the cross were worthy officers?

HUGUES OF LASCY (to Lambert)--Do you hear the vipers' language? Our capture is good. Since these two jugglers started over the country, the dogs of heretics have shown their teeth with greater madness! We shall know how to cure them of their madness!
GOOSE-SKIN (plaintively)--Poor folks! To have become so mad! Some monk must have bitten them, not true, Seigneur Bailiff of the Joy of Joys?

MONTFORT (entering in a weakened state, leaning on his wife and Abbot Reynier)(addresses Mylio) -- Were you among the heretics of whom a large number succeeded in forcing an entry into Lavaur?

MYLIO--Yes, Seigneur Count, I was among the combatants and fought my best.

MONTFORT-- Your name is Mylio the Trouvere. You plied at Blois your unworthy trade of perdition. You poured out the venom of your calumnies against the priests of the Church, the most sacred personages. I am thoroughly informed concerning you--

MYLIO (interrupting the count and addressing the Abbot, who had tried and failed to force Florette at the Mill of Chaillotte)-- Oh, parasite! So you have taken early precautions to head off the narrative of your nocturnal adventure at the mill of Chaillotte!

GOOSE-SKIN (in a low voice to the trouvere)--The looks of that specter chills me to the marrow of my bones. We are lost!
MONTFORT (to Mylio, angrily)--Hold your tongue, blasphemer! Heretic dog! If you do not, I shall have your tongue torn out!
ABBOT REYNIER (to Montfort with unction)--My dear brother, we should have contempt only for such insults. The wretch is possessed. Helas! He no longer belongs to himself. It is the demon that speaks through his mouth.
MYLIO (impetuously to the abbot)--Will you dare deny that you crept one night into the close of the mill of Chaillotte, the despicable coupler in your service, with evil designs on Florette, and that, but for Goose-Skin, who is here a witness, and myself, you would have succeeded in your satanic purpose and blighted the poor child?
GOOSE-SKIN (breaks in) Illustrious and benevolent seigneur, I remember nothing--I am wholly upset, fascinated, dazed. All that I remember is that I was a pig, an unclean animal. Alack! It was no fault of mine, because, Oh! redoubtable prop of the Church, I have not yet received baptism. Alack! Not yet. But a second ago, the instant I beheld your august face, it seemed to me that I saw a light like a halo shining around your holy person. One of those divine rays penetrated my body and it has suddenly given me an inextinguishable thirst for celestial knowledge; it has caused me to pant after the baptismal waters that will purify me of my abominable sins. Oh, pious seigneur! May you and your saintly spouse deign to officiate as my god-father and god-mother; consent, I pray you, to hold me over the baptismal font--I shall be a model of fidelity. My body shall be harnessed in beads and scapularies!
MONTFORT (aside to Abbot Reynier)--Hem! Meseems this fat miscreant has been illumined rather too suddenly by the light of heaven--and yet he might be sincere!

ALYX OF MONTMORENCY--It often pleases the Lord to accelerate the effects of His grace in order to render them more striking.

ABBOT REYNIER (aside to the count and his wife)--It also might be that the fear of death and not faith has brought about the conversion of this sinner.
MONTFORT--What is there to be done, reverend Father? How shall we interpret his conduct?

ABBOT REYNIER (aside to the count)--He should be sent to the pyre along with the rest.
ALYX OF MONTMORENCY--But, Father, if he is sincere, if the man has really been touched by divine grace?
ABBOT REYNIER (aside to Alyx and her husband)--A reason the more. If he is sincere, the flames of the pyre will, in the eyes of the Lord, be an acceptable expiation of the new convert's abominable past life. If he deceives us, the pyre will be the just punishment for his sacrilegious falsehood. In either case, the pyre is meet for the miscreant. The matter is settled.
MONTFORT-- We have a double advantage, then!  Rise, man! God will know whether your conversion is sincere.

GOOSE-SKIN (aside to himself)--Good! Good! It is now merely an affair between God and myself. We shall arrange matters comfortably between us two.
MONTFORT (to Mylio)--You have a brother who is a pastor of these devil-possessed heretics. Does he not enjoy a great influence in the town of Lavaur?

MYLIO (proudly)--All the inhabitants would give their lives to save his own. My brother is their idol.

MONTFORT-- I shall allow you to return to Lavaur. You shall tell the inhabitants in my name: 
'Abjure your heresy; re-enter the pale of the holy Catholic Church; deliver the Lady of Lavaur, your Dame Giraude, unconditionally to Montfort, and also her son, the young Aloys, along with the consuls of the town and a hundred of the most notable citizens; and relinquish your property to the soldiers of Christ.  If you do, your lives will be saved. If you do not, at day-break tomorrow the flames of Karvel's pyre will give to the Crusaders the signal for the assault!'  
That is the mission that I confer upon you.

MYLIO (stupefied)-- What?  My brother! You speak of burning my brother alive!

MONTFORT-- He is a prisoner in my camp.

MYLIO (in consternation)--My brother! A prisoner!

GOOSE-SKIN (aside to Mylio)--Follow my example--abjure--demand baptism!

MYLIO (to Montfort)-- My brother is a prisoner? You are surely spreading a snare for me. But even if he stood there before me, loaded with chains, Karvel would curse me if I were to accept your offer.  I could never promise to exhort the inhabitants of Lavaur in the name of our Karvel to submit to the Church of Rome!

KARVEL -- (by voice from a far room)  Brother. I hear.  Falter not before the foe. (Karvel enters, with guards, addresses Montfort) What! Violence against an unarmed enemy? Take heart, Mylio.

HUGHES OF LASCY (stepping towards Montfort)--Seigneur, day is dawning. Everything is ready for the assault of Lavaur. The army only awaits the signal. What are your orders?"

MONTFORT--Let the signal for the assault be given at sunrise. Yet too feeble to mount my horse, I shall have myself carried in a litter. As to these three heretics, their execution shall be the signal for the

GOOSE-SKIN (stupefied)--One moment! What the devil! I have abjured; I did! I am a good Catholic!

KARVEL (to Montfort)--So, then, count, we are to die? I thank you for this death!

MYLIO (to Montfort)--I also thank you for this death, coward! Felon! Knight without word and without faith! Miserable fanatic! (Montfort turns away, confounded)

ABBOT REYNIER--These wretches dare to mention the word 'faith'! And will you, Montfort, be affected by reproaches that issue from such mouths? Have you forgotten that our Holy Father, Innocent III, said:
 '_None need to keep faith with those who fail in their faith to God_'? Would you protect the lives of these maddened heretics and thus enable them to lure thousands of unhappy beings into their detestable heresy?

MONTFORT (frightened)--Oh! No, Father! A thousand times, no!

ABBOT REYNIER--" ome, then! Hold high your head, intrepid soldier of our Church! The Lord will cause Lavaur to fall into your hands!

MONTFORT (with fanatic exaltation)--To arms, knights! To the assault! God is with us! No mercy when we take Lavaur! Kill, slay women, children, old men and young! Kill them all! As at Beziers, _the Lord
will distinguish His own_. [This concept is usually attributed to Arnaud, the Abbot of Citeaux, see arguments at  (Pointing to the three prisoners) Let these three men be pinioned! Let them be kept in a safe place until the moment of their execution!

GOOSE-SKIN (distracted with terror, throwing himself at Montfort's feet and seizing his robe)--Gracious god-father! You promised me that you would hold me over the baptismal font. I wish to live henceforth a good Catholic. I believe in the Church, I believe in all her past, present and future saints. I believe the most incredible miracles. I shall believe anything that you want.

MONTFORT (to Abbot Reynier)--You were right. This wretch yields to fear and not to the faith. He is a scoundrel.

ABBOT REYNIER (to Goose-Skin)--If your faith is sincere, the pyre will purify you of your past sins. But if you are merely feigning a sacrilegious conversion, the eternal flames will be your just punishment. You shall be burned alive like the others.

GOOSE-SKIN (rises furious)--Oh, you lascivious buck! Oh, you lewd pig and tiger of cruelty! You are trying to take revenge for the night when I threw you down, and kept you there and prevented you from blasting a pure and poor girl! Hypocrite and criminal!(Equerries pinion Goose-Skin, Mylio and Karvel, who do not resist)

HUGUES DE LASCY (entering, trumpets sound in the background) All is ready for the assault.  A litter awaits (the Count nods from his pallet)

ALYX OF MONTMORENCY --"Go, my noble husband. I shall remain here on my knees until the battle is ended, and shall pray for the triumph of your arms, and the extermination of the enemy, and for
the salvation of the poor heretical souls of Lavaur.

ABBOT REYNIER (to Montfort)--Come, brave soldier of Christ! Come and receive from my hands the bread of the angels, the holy communion. (all exit, except Alyx of Montmorency, who continues her prayers)

MYLIO (looking sadly at Goose-Skin)--"Alas! It was his friendship for me that brought him to this country!"

KARVEL (contemplating Alyx of Montmorency who is murmuring her prayers)-- Poor creature! Her heart has remained good. She is imploring the mercy of heaven for the victims!



NARRATOR:  The city and Castle of Lavaur surrender, after a heroic defense. The Crusader consuls agree that the inhabitants shall be safe. But Pope Innocent III counters that stipulation by papal dictum that provides,  quote, "None need to keep faith with those who have failed in their faith to God".  Accordingly, the terms of the capitulation are disavowed and allmost all the prisoners are massacred.  The rest are reserved for separate execution.

The day after the surrender,  bells ring in a neighboring church. An esplanade, a small walled area, is beside.

Dignitaries enter in priestly robes, to a row of chairs on a balcony::  (The dignitaries file in, as identified)

EQUERRY:  Here attend The Archbishops of Lyons and of Rennes, the Bishops of Poitiers, of Bourges, of Nantes and other prelates. ontfort and Alyx Then follow Montmorency, and Alyx of Montmorency; the papal legate, Abbot Reynier. (soldiers line the walls) (priests and monks of several orders carrying aloft silver crucifixes and black banners, and loudly singing funeral canticles) (Executioner enters)

THE EXECUTIONER (on his knees before a little furnace, to a sergeant-at-arms)--My irons are ready. Bring forward the sons of Satan. (Twenty-eight men and fifteen women, chained, arms pinioned behind their backs, file out from a door opening to the side)

ABBOT REYNIER (in a menacing voice)--"Heretics of Lavaur! Will you abjure? Will you acknowledge the infallible [this term appears to be an anachronism -- overview at; infallibility was not formally in until 1870, the First Vatican Council?) authority of the Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church?)

OLD MAN PRISONER   (to Abbot Reynier)--My son died defending the town. The ruins of my house that was burned down after the pillage are still smoldering. I am near my grave. I now own nothing. But even if I had as many days before as I have behind me, even if I still had more wealth than I ever had, even if there still stood by my side the cherished child of my old age--even then, both he and I would answer you: 'Death, a thousand times death, rather than embrace your infamous religion.'

OTHER  PRISONERS (among whom is Florette, fall on their knees and cry)--"Mercy for our Lady of Lavaur and her son!"

ABBOT REYNIER (recognizing Florette) (speaking aside)  With her,  I see a double vengeance upon that vagabond  Mylio! .
OLD MAN PRISONER (to Alyx of Montmorency, who devoutly counts her beads [when did this practice start? Is this another anachronism?}--Madam, in the name of your mother, mercy for our Lady of Lavaur!

ALYX OF MONTMORENCY --If she does not abjure her heresy, she must perish!
ABBOT REYNIER (in a thundering voice)--Hardened heretics, the Church now delivers you to the secular arm! Enemies of God, may your death strike a salutary terror among your fellows!

THE PROVOST OF THE ARMY (to the executioner)--Take your hot irons.--But leave one eye to the old man who has just spoken. With it he shall guide the rest. (Executioner selects a prisoner for the stool before the furnace}

PRISONER  (to the executioner) --What are you going to do? Have mercy upon me!

ASSISTANT TO THE EXECUTIONER-- We are going to put out both your eyes, heretic dog! Pagan!"

PRISONER (terrified)--Oh, death rather--rather death than such a torture--mercy! Brothers! Help! They are going to put out our eyes. Oh, Lord, have mercy upon us! Such a punishment is frightful. Have us rather burned--strangled! Mercy!


MONTFORT -- No mercy! Your blind souls are closed to the divine light. So shall your bodily eyes be forever closed to the light of day!

ANOTHER PRISONER --Seigneur, myself and several of our companions abjure. Mercy! Mercy!

ABBOT REYNIER--"Too late! Too late!" (the Executioner proceeds to take red-hot pincers and pierce the eyes of successive heretics, to heart-rending shrieks, blood and smoke oozing out of sockets) (The monks continue their loud chanting)

EXECUTIONER (To Florette, whose time has come) Take my advice, little one, open your eyes--you will suffer less. If the eyelids are shut the pain is double, because the hot iron must pierce them before it reaches the eye-ball. Do you understand me? Come, little one, do as I tell you; are you ready?"

FLORETTE-- I shall shut my eyes in order to suffer all the more, and die speedily, and rejoin Mylio.  Oh, monk of Citeaux! Oh, infamous monk! There he stands, hovering before me in his white robe like a specter
announcing death!

THE EXECUTIONER --"Open your eyes quickly--my iron is cooling. (The young woman does not obey) The devil take you! Fool! (The executioner darts his burning iron into the victim's right eye) The devil take the heretic's obstinacy! The right eye is now out!

FLORETTE (emits a piercing cry, and swoons murmuring)--Mylio--help! (The left eye is pierced)

ABBOT REYNIER (aside)--What a pity! Such beautiful eyes! Why did the hussy prefer that miserable Mylio to me!

MONTFORT (to the Old Man, now with one eye) --You may now serve as the guide for these sinners. They may now be unpinioned. Let them consecrate the rest of their lives to repentance!

ALYX OF MONTMORENCY (sadly to her husband)--"Alas! The punishments that the stiff-neckedness of these wretches compels us to inflict upon them are horrible--but the Church so orders it.

MONTFORT (to Abbot Reynier)-- Is the pyre ready? Let the pyre be lighted immediately to burn the other heretics alive.

ABBOT REYNIER (in a resonant voice)--Bring the other heretics forth! The terrestrial hell shall be to them the vestibule of the eternal hell. (a mass of men, women and children are driven by the lances of soldiers into a burning ditch)(among them at the last are Karvel the Perfect, his wife Morise, the Lady of Lavaur and her son. Giraude is clad in black.

NARRATOR:  There are gibbets in use, and corpses. From the midst of that burning heap of human remains some tokens of life are still visible. Arms, limbs and chests quiver and writhe convulsively; here and there a head is seen with hair aflame and features singed. Oh! son of Joel, no human pen could depict to you the aspect of these beings in the throes of such a death.

KARVEL --  (at the rim of the fiery trench) Oh, ye priests of Rome! Verily, verily I say unto you the evangelical faith has departed from your midst; to-day it dwells among those whom you style heretics, and there it will dwell imperishable as truth! You have the might--the might--ephemeral as that pyre that, this very evening, will be but a heap of ashes!"

ABBOT REYNIER (jumps up furious)--"Tear out that heretic's tongue!" (The executioner, with freshly hot pincers, complies) (Morise throws herself into the furnace;  Karvel follows)

LADY OF LAVAUR (managing to reach an area beneath the balcony,  s short distance from the pyre)
(to Alyx of Montmorency) Madam! I do not ask you for my life. But I shudder for my son at the thought of the pyre. Oh! madam, for mercy's sake, obtain from your husband the commutation of our punishment. Let us be slain with the sword!

ALYX OF MONTMORENCY (lowers her eyes and clasps her "beads") (this reference to beads is another anachronism:  The rosary dates from the 16th Century,  Who will vet Wikipedia on this?)--It may not be!

THE LADY OF LAVAUR --I implore you! Listen to a last prayer! Order them to burn me, but let them kill my son with the sword. You are silent? Oh, God! Have you no children, yourself, that you can be so merciless?

ALYX OF MONTMORENCY -- Monseigneur, I pity this heretic woman, could not her request be granted?
ABBOT REYNIER --Madam, in her quality of Mistress of Lavaur, this woman is guiltier than any other. She and her son must be burned alive!
MONTFORT (impatiently)--Mmy reverend Father. Provided this heretic woman die, what does it matter whether it be by the rope, the sword or by fire? She will have been made an example of. After all, the Lady of Lavaur is of noble race; some concession must be made to the nobility. And even that--to have the woman and her child slain there--before my very eyes. May the Lord pardon me a sinful weakness--my heart fails me!

(He notices a cistern, and beckons to the Provost, the Overseer of Practices) Come, be quick about it. Throw the woman and her son into that well and cover it up with large stones.

THE LADY OF LAVAUR --Oh, thanks! Thanks! (To her son) Come, my child, we shall be drowned together. (Giraude and Aloys descend the stone steps within the well) (a last word to Montmorency) We are about to die.  Nneither my son nor I can offer any resistance. For mercy's sake, free us from our bonds. My son and I could at least give each other a last embrace and die in each other's arms! (they are untied) and both pushed into the depths of the well, their agonizing cries rise from the depth of the well; presently silence reigns within).

MONTFORT:  Bring out the rest of the heretics.(Aimery, the brother of Dame Giraude, the Lady of Lavaur, emerges with others; followed by Nylio and Goose-Skin and other notables.)

ABBOT REYNIER (rising)--People of Lavaur, will you abjure your heresy?

AIMERY--Between your Church and the gibbet, we choose the gibbet.

ABBOT REYNIER (in a thundering voice)--Death to the heretics. Hang them all!

MYLIO (looking distractedly around him)--Poor Florette! She must have perished. My last thought shall be for my brother and for you, sweet child!

GOOSE-SKIN--I was just asking myself whether there are hams and good wives in those starry worlds that your brother spoke to us about, where, according to him, we are to be born again [is this an accurate phrase, or an anachronism?  Please vet the author's use of born again] in the flesh and the spirit. Oxhorns! If I am born again with my paunch, why, its weight and bulk will greatly incommode me in the ascent towards the realm of pure light! (Aimery is hanged)

THE EXECUTIONER (approaching Goose-Skin)--Your turn now, my fat customer! Come, no grimaces! Take your place quickly!

GOOSE-SKIN (scratching his ear)--"Hem! Hem! The rope of your gibbet seems too thin for me, and your ladder too frail. I am very heavy, I fear that my weight may demolish your machine. You had better put off my hanging.

THE EXECUTIONER--"You need not feel uneasy about that. I shall hang you high and short. Hurry up. Night is upon us!

GOOSE-SKIN (dragged to the gibbet)--Adieu, Mylio! I have drunk my last bumper of wine here below. We shall clink glasses again in the stars. (Turning to the balcony where Abbot Reynier is seated). As to you, the devil is waiting for you with his big frying-pan in his hand!

(With the juggler's enormous weight and resisting by holding on to the gibbet itself, weakly planted, sways and breaks down. It falls, together with the ladder, upon Goose-Skin and the executioner, all in a heap and upon the third gibbet, the latter yields to the shock, tumbles and falls over upon the fourth, which, likewise breaking down, carries the next one to the ground. But poorly fixed over night in the earth, most of the gibbets are torn down through the initial momentum imparted by the fall of the one that was intended to end Goose-Skin's life)

MONTFORT (impatiently)--Seeing that the gibbets leave us in the lurch (anachronism!), exterminate the heretics with the sword!.(soldiers fall upon the prisoners with their lances and swords) (At the conclusion of this gory scene, Abbot Reynier withdraws with the rest of the clergy from the balcony)

NARRATOR:  Soon, the moon, shining radiantly from the starry vault of heaven, inundates

with its mellow light the esplanade of the Castle of Lavaur. Florette lies in a swoon among others blinded, fainting, some these not yet guided out, perhaps forgotten. Others died by the sword. Not a sound disturbs the silence of the night. One of the bodies that lies on the ground raises itself slowly. It is Mylio the Trouvere.

MYLIO -- (looking around) Goose-Skin, all the soldiers are gone--we have nothing more to fear--the danger is over. Goose-Skin! There he lies face down and half covered by two other corpses. Does he live?

GOOSE-SKIN (raising his head)--"Oxhorns! Am I really alive? I thought heard my funeral prayers!"

MYLIO--Oh, joy! You are not dead? You heard me, and yet you kept silent?

GOOSE-SKIN--At first, out of prudence, and then out of curiosity to know what you would say of old Goose-Skin. I was happy to learn that you still love me. But, now, tell me, have you any plan?

MYLIO--I shall leave Lavaur this very night after I have taken a casket of some value to me which my poor brother Karvel entrusted to a friend of his, Julien the Bookseller. As to you, my brave companion--(Mylio stops; his foot has struck the iron pincers that served to martyrize Karvel the Perfect). What is this? An instrument of torture left behind by the executioner? (Picks up the pincers and contemplates them in silence.) Oh, son of Joel! I shall pay my tribute to the legends and relics of our family." (Puts the pincers in his belt.)
(sees what may be the body of Florette not far from the wall of the cistern) (He makes his way to her side)
She is alive!

GOOSE-SKIN (rejoiced)--She lives! Oh, oxhorns! If we succeed in escaping from the clutches of the Crusaders, it shall be my business to cheer the sweet child with my favorite song: 'Robin loves me--'

FLORETTE -- (awakening) Mylio--Mylio--my dearly beloved Mylio!

About three years after the massacre of Lavaur, my great-grandfather Mylio, the Trouvere, wrote the preceding "play" at Paris, where he succeeded in arriving with his wife, my great-grandmother Florette, and

When Florette, still blinded, sufficiently recovered, Mylio left her in the care of Goose-Skin and started to the city in search of a friend of his brother Karvel. The friend's name was Julien, the Bookseller. Karvel had entrusted him with the casket that contained the family relics. Julien having miraculously escaped the massacre of Lavaur, afforded Mylio, Florette and Goose-Skin a safe refuge in his house. Under that
hospitable roof, the three quietly awaited the departure of the army of Montfort. His wife's condition determined Mylio to renounce the war and consecrate his life to her. Languedoc was soon entirely under the iron rule of Montfort and Mylio decided to leave the country.

Julien the Bookseller was in frequent commercial correspondence with one of the most celebrated members of his profession in Paris named John Belot. Knowing the excellence of Mylio's handwriting, Julien proposed to him to take employment at John Belot's as a copyist of ancient and modern books. Mylio accepted the offer and was furnished by Julien with a letter to the Parisian bookseller.

The journey to Paris was undertaken as soon as Florette was in condition to sustain its fatigue. It was accomplished in safety. Nine months after their arrival, my grandfather, whom Mylio named Karvelaik, in honor of his own brother Karvel the Perfect, was born. With the birth of Karvelaik, the old juggler remained a fixture in the house, insisting upon rocking my grandfather's cradle and singing him songs. Happy as Florette was with her child, she did not long survive. She waned steadily, and two years and a half after her arrival passed away in the embrace of her husband and her son. The disconsolate trouvere sought surcease of sorrow in the playfulness of his little son and the imperturbable good nature of Goose-Skin. It was in the effort to relieve his mind of the recollection of the great sorrow that fell upon him that he soon after wrote the preceding play, which he added to our family legends, and to which he joined the iron pincers that he took from the esplanade of the Castle of Lavaur and that were used in the martyrdom inflicted upon his brother Karvel. Goose-Skin died twelve years later. His last words were his favorite song: "Robin loves me, Robin wants me."

Mylio lived to verify the truth of the prophetic words of our ancestor Fergan the Quarryman:--"Let us never weaken, let us never lose hope! The future belongs to freedom!" Eight years after the devastating flood of the Crusaders swept over Languedoc the people that were left in Agenois, Querci and Rouergue rose again. The signal for the uprising was the death of the Count of Montfort, who was killed before Toulouse. The revolt rapidly gained strength. The Crusaders were driven from the south; the old heresy raised its head anew and triumphed everywhere in Languedoc. The chains of Rome were once more sundered. But they were forged again, and again fastened on Languedoc by the Inquisition of 1229. To-day Languedoc remains fettered.

My grandfather Karvelaik handed down at his death the family relics to my father Julyan, and he handed them down to me, his son Mazurec le Brenn, who follow the booksellers' trade here in Paris. Heavy clouds are again gathering over the head of our unhappy country. May my son Jocelyn be spared!



[1] Trouvere was the name given to certain "improvisers," or poets, of northern France. In the south of France the counterpart of the Trouvere was called "troubadour."

[2] This form of writing was used by the trouveres of the XIII century, and were called "Jeux," that is, plays, as _The Play of the Shepherd and the Shepherdess_, by Adam le Hale (Ancient Fables, vol. II, p. 193, Le
Grand d'Aussy). In these "plays," which were dialogues, like the modern drama, and which were recited by the strolling trouvere, the dialogue was made to supply the place of descriptions of scenes, etc.

[3] The authentic letter of Pope Innocent III; _L. N._, March, 10, 1208, p. 317, X.

[4] This song was composed by Mylio during the invasion of Languedoc by the Catholic Crusaders. Leaving his wife Florette in the care of Karvel and Morise, he went singing the poem from city to city, while Goose-Skin, accompanying the trouvere, sang his own composition, the refrain of which ran:

"Pouah! Pouah! These monks! They are rank of the mire, of lechery and blood!"

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The full public domain copy is at the Gutenberg site,   If the topic is unfamiliar, the Albigensian Crusades, read the 1759 Voltaire account of the era at Albigensians, Cathars, "heretics."  Why heretic?  What mindset?  How could differences in mere dogma and cultural ideas trigger such slaughter? Handy bibliography:  see

Place: The Languedoc, South-West France.

  • Social Setting and Spin.  Iron Pincers is not neutral, as to the Roman Catholic Crusaders and their drivers.  The work confronts extremism in the institutions of the time, and lauds those Christians in medieval France who were dedicated to autonomy.. The "good people" in Iron Pincers stand for freedom in thought, non-interference in the lives of others (heaven is more important than earth's events), inclusive social community, absence of ritual, common good, egalitarianism, seigneur and serf working together, and anti-authoritarianism.  They lost.  They were slaughtered by a Papal Crusade, one among many in a crusading era. Their property was confiscated, their churches and castles and records destroyed.  The "bad people" -- here the religious conformists and traditional power holders prevailed and tried to wipe all trace of Cathars out of religious memory.  Cathar ideas survived, however. So do forces of conformity.

  • Overview:  See The Cathars of the Languedoc: their origin, beliefs, ethics, and history. The site broadens to address Catholic ideas about Cathar belief; and Cathar ideas about Catholic belief.  The stakes were stark:  The Albigensian Crusade represented an overwhelming military force run in the name of existing power systems of both State and Religion, against the Cathars, and resulted in the creation of the papal Inquisition to exterminate them.

  • The 1907 published (1909?)  original is melodramatic and didactic. This retelling is an abbreviation with some reformatting as to the original, and includes illustrations and annotations. Some older words are updated. Ongoing interest:  What is the author's proof or evidence, and of what weight, as to particular smaller events within the whole. It is commonly understood that destruction of all matters as to the Cathars was almost complete. What prime sources still exist?  What secondary? What is merely legend? 

MODIFICATION, Iron Pincers: 

  • Omitted here are the opening scenes of the frivolous courtly ladies at play in their gardens in northern France.  Too dated to hold interest:  The rich dallying in their gardens, gossiping about people's parts and lewd priests, trailing their delicate fingers in little brooks and laughing merrily.

  • Begin instead with the Languedoc, an area in the South-West of France, where a Christian group, the Cathars or Albigensians, with an unregimented, quiet dualist approach to religion, had lived in peace and prosperity with their neighbors. On the horizon:  Papal Crusades (with their own armies and/or in league with Kings and Princes) to exterminate or forcibly convert non-Catholics to Catholic dogma teachings, gain territory and converts and riches, now that the Catholic branch of Christianity had split with the Eastern Orthodox branch of Christianity. See overview at   Crusades to expand religious power were now not aimed only at the Holy Land, but at Christians in Europe.  Relevant era:  See Timeline of the Crusades, Cathar and Baltic Crusades, 1209-1300, at *