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A letter from Bernard of Clairvaux, abbot (1130-1137)

Translated letter: 

To the most illustrious ruling lady and most beloved daughter in Christ — which I say not with presumption but in affection — Matilda, by the grace of God queen of the English, Bernard.
If I presume on your highness, it is no wonder. I do not feel it alone, but almost all know how you keep receiving us and with how much affection you love us. On that account, I am asked by a certain friend of yours, the venerable abbot of Capella, to ask you for a certain tithe, about which, if you remember well, I asked you at Boulogne, and you in your customary way heard me benignly. But since what we ask is not yet done, it is time that that request be filled. For the rest, preserve my son for me, to whom you just gave birth, since I also — if it does not displease the king — lay claim to a portion in him. Fare well.

Original letter: 

Illustrissimae dominae et dilectissimae in Christo fiiae, – quod non ex praesumptione loquor, sed ex affectu –, Mathildi, Dei gratia Anglorum reginae, Bernardus.
Si de vestra sublimitate praesumo, non est mirum. Iam enim non ego solus sentio, sed omnes paene noverunt quomodo nos acceptetis, et quanto nos diligatis affectu. Propter quod rogatus sum a quodam amico vestro, venerabili Abbate de Capella, ut pro decima quadam vos rogemus; unde, si bene meministis, Boloniae vos rogavi, vos quoque more vestro benigne audistis me. Sed quia nondum factum est quod rogamus, tempus est ut iam petitio illa mancipetur effectui. De cetero bene servate mihi filium, quem nunc peperistis, quia et ego quoque, – si Regi non displicet –, in eo mihi vindico portionem. Vale.

Historical context: 

Bernard asks Matilda to have a tithe they had previously discussed paid and congratulates her on the recent birth of a son. The LeClercq-Rochais edition gives the date c.1142, but the recent birth of a son would make it earlier: Eustace was born c.1130-31, William, between 1132 and 1137.

Printed source: 

Sancti Bernardi Opera, v. 8, ed. J. LeClercq and H. Rochais (Rome: Eds. Cisterciennes, 1977), ep.315, p.248, date 1130-37.

date

1130-1137