among the shrines, or lost in the groined aisles which
the fervid genius of men of a different age and a heartier faith had fashioned; filling the choir with religious light from the blended colors of storied windows, imitating the graceful curving of the lambent flame in the adornment of the tracery, and carving in stone every flower and leaf of the garden to embellish the column, whose shafts soared upwards, as if to reach the sky.
The clergy were Protestant and married.
Their great dignitaries dwelt in palaces, and used their vast revenues not to renew cathedrals, or beautify chapels, or build new churches, or endow schools; the record of their wealth was written in the rolls of the landed gentry, among whom the fortunes they accumulated introduced their children; so that the church, though it was represented among the barons, never came in conflict with the aristocracy with which its interests were identified.
The hereditary right of the other members of the House of Lords was such a privilege as must, in itself, always be hateful to a free people, and always be in danger; yet, while in France
the burgesses were preparing to overthrow the peerage, in England
there was no incessant struggle to be rid of it. The reverence for its antiquity was enhanced by pleasing historical associations.
But for the aid of the barons, Magna Charta
would not have been attained; and but for the nobility and gentry, the revolution of 1688 would not have succeeded.
A sentiment of gratitude was, therefore, blended in the popular mind with submission to rank.