Page:The parochial history of Cornwall.djvu/72

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30
ST. ANTHONY IN POWDER.

quence which he had previously acquired as a canon regular of St. Austin at Lisbon, and during a residence of eight years with the same order at Coimbra. Having become a friar, he employed himself as a menial in the kitchen, or in sweeping the cells, till an accident discovered to the superiors the value and importance of their newly acquired brother. The intelligence was conveyed to St. Francis, the renowned founder of the Friars Minors, from whom a letter to our Saint is preserved:

"To my most dear brother Anthony, Friar Francis wisheth health in Jesus Christ. It seemeth good to me, that you should read sacred Theology to the friars; yet so that you do not prejudice yourself by too great earnestness in studies; and be careful that you do not extinguish in yourself or in them the spirit of holy prayer."

All the accounts remaining of St. Anthony agree in representing him to posterity as an example of learning, of piety, and of zeal. These qualities, possessed however in common with thousands of others, would have failed to make his name known to after times, if a legend had not established his fame as a Saint, and elevated him to the high station of protector and patron of fishermen all over the Christian world.

The legend may be best conveyed in the poetry of Dr. Darwin :

So when the Saint from Padua's graceless land, In silent anguish sought the barren strand, High on the shatter'd beach sublime he stood, Still'd with his waving arm the babbling flood; "To man's dull ear," he cry'd, "I call in vain, "Hear me, ye scaly tenants of the main 1" Misshapen seals approach in circling flocks, In dusky mail the tortoise climbs the rocks, Torpedoes, sharks, rays, turbots, dolphins, pour Their twinkling squadrons round the glittering shore; With tangled fins, behind, huge phocse glide, And whales, and grampi swell the distant tide. Then kneel'd the hoary Seer, to Heaven address'd His fiery eyes, and smote his sounding breast, " Bless ye the Lord!" with thundering voice he cry'd; " Bless ye the Lord!" the bending shores reply'd;