Collection of Letters: Detail
- Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury
To his dearest lady and daughter Matilda, the glorious queen of the English: Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury, sending faithful service with prayers.
Most beloved lady, your excellency should know that concerning the Abbey of Malmesbury, and the brother about whom you wrote to me,(1) I would gladly confirm your will if I could. For, in what pertains to you, you have acted well and according to the will of God, in what you did there; but he himself did something very foolish in this matter which he should not have done. For, by the same messengers who brought me the letters from you and from others about this case, he sent me a goblet. This goblet I did not wish to keep under any circumstances, but I was very sorry because I do not see how he can be excused from guilt in this matter.(2)
May almighty God guide all your actions in his good pleasure and defend you from all evil. Amen.(3)
Dominae et filiae carissimae, gloriosae reginae Anglorum MATHILDI: ANSELMUS, archiepiscopus Cantuariae, fidele servitium cum orationibus.
Noverit excellentia vestra, dilectissima domina, quia de abbatia Malmesberiensi et de fratre, de quo mihi mandastis, libenter confirmarem voluntatem vestram, si possem. Vos enim, quantum ad vos spectat, bene et secundum deum fecistis quod inde fecistis; sed ipse in hoc fecit quiddam valde insipienter, quod facere non debuit. Nam per eosdem legatos, qui mihi litteras vestras et aliorum de suo negotio attulerunt, misit mihi scifum unum. Quem quidem scifum nullatenus retinere volui; sed inde dolui, quia non video quomodo in hoc possit a culpa excusari.
Omnipotens deus dirigat omnes actus vestros in beneplacito suo et defendat vos ab omni malo. Amen.
In response to ep.384, Anselm denies Matilda¹s request that he confirm the abbot [Aedulf] of Malmesbury, not because of her actions, but because the abbot sent Anselm a gift. Stiff-necked as this seems, Anselm was in too vulnerable a position to lay himself open to the charge of simony.
(1) See Ep 384. (2) Anselm perceived an attempt at simony in Aedulf's foolish action. (3) The translation is reprinted with the permission of the translator and the publisher, Cistercian Publications Inc. Editorial Offices, Institute of Cistercian Studies, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 49008. All rights are reserved; downloading and copying for any purpose other than private research is prohibited.
Sancti Anselmi Cantuariensis Archiepiscopi, Opera Omnia, ed. F.S. Schmitt (Edinburgh: T. Nelson, 1946-63), ep.385, 5.328; translation and annotation from The Letters of Saint Anselm of Canterbury, trans. Walter Fröhlich, Cistercian Studies 142, 3v (Kalamazoo: Cistercian Publications, 1990-94), 3.141.(3)