Page:The parochial history of Cornwall.djvu/217

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175
ST. CLEER

or Cleer; whose name is derived from the Latin word claro, i.e. clear, bright, shining, transparent; and she herself was born of an honourable lineage at the city of Assisum in Italy.

[Mr. Hals here gives a long history of St. Clare, much more in detail than is suited to a parochial history.

It may be sufficient to add, she was the daughter of Phavorino Sciffo, a noble knight, and of Hortulana, his most virtuous wife, and born in the year 1193. St. Francis was then alive and at the height of his fame. St. Dominic and St. Francis, as is well known, instituted the two great orders of begging monks or friars. Those who entered into any of the previously existing monastic establishments, underwent what was termed a civil death, renounced all individual property, bestowing what was at their own disposal in any way most agreeable to themselves, and suffering what was inalienable to descend to their heirs. Hence has originated the expression natural life, as opposed to civil life, still used in legal proceedings. But St. Dominic and St. Francis, not content with this individual poverty, extended it to their orders; so that with the exception of a dwelling, some furniture, and necessary raiment, their friars were to live, as the cynics had done of old, upon the accidental charity of victuals given in kind and from day to day; for a broad and impassable boundary was drawn between receiving bread from the donor's hand, and a piece of metal for which that bread might be procured; in the same manner as any portion of the increase arising from flocks or herds might lawfully be given; whilst anathemas were thundered against him who accepted the least return for valuable commodity, in exchange for which similar flocks or herds could easily and freely be procured.

As impassioned harangues were obviously the most efficient agents for eliciting or extorting these daily