The husband, despising his wife, shall draw near to harlots, and the wife, despising her husband, shall marry whom she desires. There shall be no honour kept for the church and the order shall perish.
This may well just be an ‘of the day’ straightforward prophecy which reflects court behaviour of the day couched in prophetic language and is a reflection of current morality made to seem as if forseen. It may well however, refer to Louis and Eleanore of Aquitaine. There is no doubt that Henry Blois twists prophecies from HRB to VM. Since I have started to investigate these prophecies, I can see that if they are written down there is a reason behind the cause. But for someone to say they are indecipherable this is definitely not true. One just has to understand who wrote them and at what stage in Henry Blois ‘agendas’ do they have relevance or corroborate material in HRB. We can see early prophecies squewed when originally the meaning was clear and later prophecies use the same icons that make no sense; and also, icons deployed earlier in prophecies are re-utilized in a different sense or order later on in the updated set. Much works needs to be done on this by Medievalist scholars and Crick would find her time better spent on this endeavour rather than looking at every dot or T crossed in the various manuscripts of HRB, because this will lead her to understand that Henry Blois could only be the author of the Merlin prophecies.
The likeness of this prophecy in HRB: With the stench of their nostrils shall they corrupt women, and their own wives shall they cause to be as harlots… shows that Henry causes so much confusion by squewing the prophecies and changing the icon or person that few can make sense of them if one applies a rigid accountability for each animal etc. mentioned in every circumstance.
Henry Blois was probably the first Bishop of Winchester to take in hand the brothels on his Southwark estate not by closing them, but by running them. It may have something in common with the prophecy, but it is a longshot!!
The reason some prophecies were squewed by Henry Blois but made to seem as if they were consistent from an earlier Libellus Merlini when up dated into Vulgate HRB and on to the VM version, is because the first set of prophecies were seen to be too obviously concocted in the recent era by his audience. Also, the propensity (as we shall cover shortly) to cover topics as affairs of state, the Anarchy and Henry’s close interests and his own family etc. must have made him wary of discovery.
However, Henry Blois, well versed in scripture, may just be using biblical analogy in the prophecy above and highlights the differences in state and church affairs in a metaphor.
The Church was not side-lined as Henry tried his best to hold Stephen to the oath he had made to the church when Henry Blois made a deal with him ensuring William of Corbeil crowned hi quickly. King Stephen subsequently betrayed the trust that Henry assumed would be forthcoming after his part in facilitating the usurpation of the crown.
Therefore, the ‘wife’ in the Vita prophecy i.e. the Church despised Stephen and when it came down to the Council held at Winchester by Henry Blois; the Church bishops threw in their lot with Matilda.
Therefore, one could speculate that ‘she’- the Church ‘marries who she desires’. The audience of the VM may have interpreted the meaning in this way…. as the outcome of events after the Winchester council over which Henry presided. Later, Stephen’s wife pleads with Henry Blois, and Henry having found that Empress Matilda was worse to deal with than Stephen in keeping her word…. soon changed allegiances back to his brother.
In fact, Henry Blois was probably the main instigator of the rumour that caused Matilda’s flight from London which lost her any chance of gaining the crown. The allusion by Henry Blois may be to the church and may be witnessed couched in the same terms as in the prophecy, also seen in GS.
Henry Blois similarly referenced the church in a speech made at the council of London amongst the pillars of the church to the effect: that in King Henry’s time especially the church had been shaken; had been a prostrate and downtrodden handmaid and had suffered most disgraceful wrongs.896
896Gesta Stephani, 27