Page:A history of Hungarian literature.djvu/26

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the street she was met by an old woman whom in former times she had loaded with charity. This old woman now thrust her into the mud. Elizabeth offered prayers of thanksgiving for this also." The saint saw more and more the vanity of worldly things. She wished to remain in her state of abject poverty. "And, therefore," continues the legend "in order that she might be quite free from worldly cares, she prayed to her Lord Jesus that He should enable her to despise all earthly interests and pleasures, and even to forget her children and cease to love them thenceforth." And from that day she beheld wondrous visions, heavenly voices spoke to her, and much comfort and bliss were vouchsafed to her from the heavens above.

We have seen that to the thought of the day, heaven and earth, the natural and the miraculous, were all blended into one, and in the people's idea of time there was the same lack of discrimination. They knew of no difference between the people of one period and those of another. As the world was then, so it had ever been, and would for ever continue to be. Even the most learned men had not the faintest conception of the enormous changes which had taken place in men's thoughts, their laws and habits, and in human life altogether. That their age was itself the result of a long historical development, and the starting-point for a further course of change in the whole mental and material condition of mankind, never occurred to the human mind during the thousand years of the Middle Ages. Men knew nothing with certainty of the past, and to the future they gave no thought. To improve the conditions of their own life, or to lessen the burdens of humanity, was no concern of theirs. The very idea of progress was foreign to their