These were hard-headed men of affairs - men who would not lightly embark on joyous ventures, or seek for an ideal San Grail; nor were the popes, doomed to the Babylonian captivity for seventy long years at Avignon, able to call down the spark from on high which should consume all earthly ambitions in one great act of sacrifice.
The Roman exsecratio and diris devotio was a solemn pronouncement of a religious curse by priests, intended to call down the divine wrath upon enemies, and to devote them to destruction by powers human and divine.
At first sight these rites seem intended to call down the pity of heaven on man, but as Robertson Smith points out, their real import was by shedding blood on a holy stone or in a holy place to tie or renew a blood-bond between the God and his faithful ones.
This was the first of the exceptional measures which were to call down ruin upon them.
I'll call down Mainwaring; he 's sure to join us now the spook show has ended.