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interest are related, hitherto unknown, whilst others, over which the discussion of modern writers have thrown doubts, would seem to be confirmed.
The first chapter relates principally to the second crusade, and the divorce of Elinor of Guienne and her marriage with Henry the Second. The queen was intercepted when attempting to escape to the arms of the seductive Saracen, confounded by the writer with Saladin. Her justification is curious :
“And the king did ask of the queen for what she sought to flee. “In God's name,' said the queen, 'for your badness, for you are not worth a rotten plum!-vous ne valés pas une prune pourie!'”—Page 6.
The wars between Henry the Second and Philip Augustus are next related, but very imperfectly. Henry was one evening at an abbey of Black monks, at Gerberoi, near Beauvais, asleep upon a mattress in the hall, and was there surprised by a party commanded by Philip, who nearly succeeded in sabring him on the head. Henry fled to a chamber and fastened the door, and Philip, disappointed, returned to Beauvais.
“Now when King Henry knew that it was King Philip that had sought to slay him, he said, 'Fie! Now have I lived too long, since the boy of France-li garchons de France ---son of the bad king, hath come to fall upon me.' Then did the king issue forth afoot, and did take a bridle and did go into the outer chambers, full desperate and complaining of suffering, and did hang himself-s'estranla—with the reins of the bridle. When his household saw that the king was not amongst them, they did seek him everywhere until they found him strangled, and the reins round his neck, and they were sore amazed. And they took him and lifted him up and put him in his bed, and gave the people to understand that he had died suddenly. But it doth not often come to pass that such an adventure befalleth such a man and is not kuown, for that which the household knoweth is not often hidden-celé couque mainsnie set n'est souvent mie."Page 15.
This anecdote is a curious proof of the readiness with which the multitude, then as now, swallowed the absurdest tales touching the great. But the credulity of our author has this set-off. We cannot catch him relating a single one of those prodigies—showers of blood, double suns and the like, which so curiously adorn the monkish chroniclers of the time. Moreover, this story is not essentially inconsistent with the character of Henry, who was remarkable for his intemperate violence, like all the early Anglo-Norman kings.
* Philip was only twenty-two years old.
The narrative goes on to recite the adventures of Gui de Lusignan and Saladin-the Lusignan and Orosmane of Voltaire's Zaïre-and the fatal battle of Tiberias; but we must pass them over to arrive at the adventures of Philip and Richard in the same climes. Richard attacked Philip in his hostel at Acre, and although the quarrel was appeased, Richard, who detested Philip for the leading part he had taken in the capture of the place, and also on account of his father, bribed Philip's attendants to lull him with poisonous herbs-que li rois fu enherbés. The latter heedlessly drank the beverage, and the nails fell from his feet and hands, his skin peeled off, and he was sick for a whole year; but the poison failed to kill him. When Richard saw this he drew up with the courts of Flanders, Champagne and Blois, and gave them so many of his estrelins, for Richard had plus estrellins que li roi de France n'eust paresis, that they conspired to murder—mourdrir-Philip. The Count of Flanders, at the point of death, discovered the plot to Philip, and exhorted him to depart for France immediately. He accordingly set sail secretly in the night. William the Breton and Rigord are the only authors who make allusion to these crimes of king Richard, but our chronicler alone mentions them in detail. The following story of Philip Augustus during his voyage
homewards has been told of Charles the Fifth. A tempest came on, and “ the night was dark, and the king, who was firm in faith and welltrusting in God-créans en Dieu-did ask of the mariners what hour it was. And they answered that it was about midnight. Then said the king, let us be now assured. We have no care (to take), for my friends of the order of Citeaux-del ordene di Cystiaus—are risen for to sing matins, and do pray for us. Then was the tempest appeased, and the sea was calm--coie.”—Page 49.
Richard is seized by the dus d'Osterriche as he was roasting capons before the kitchen fire-en la quisine à tourner les capons*, disguised in a drawer's coat. He is carried from
Tournant ne sai, haste ou géline
(Royaux lignages, ap. Buchon, vii. p. 88.)
castle to castle, so that none had news of him, nor of those who kept him, except the duke; but the chronicler does not mention his being delivered up to the emperor.
“And it came to pass that he (Richard) had for a long time kept a minstrel (menestrel) who was born towards Artois*, and had for name Blondians. This one sware unto himself that he would seek his lord in every land, so that he would find him, or that he had news of him. And he did set out and so did travel from day to day, in foul and fair, that he had passed a year and a half, nor ever could hear news of the king. And he did so adventure that he entered into Osterrich, as chance led him. And he did come straight to the castle where the king was in prison, and did take up lodging at an old woman's, and did ask her whose that castle was that was fair and strong and well-placed. The hostess answered and said that it was the duke of Osterrich's. “O fair hostess,' said Blondians, ‘is there now no prisoner within ?' • Verily,' said she, yea, one who now hath been there .iiii. yearst, but we cannot know who he is certainly. But they do keep him carefully, and we believe-espérons (expect)—that he is a gentle man and a great sire.' And when Blondians heard these words he was passing glad, and it seemed to him in his heart that he had found whom he was seeking. But so did he not let appear unto the hostess. He slept the night and was glad ; and when he heard the watch horn the day -corner li jour-he rose and did go unto the castle, and did draw ups'accointa-to the warden-castelain—thereof, and said that he was a viol minstrel, and willingly would tarry with him if it pleased him. The warden was a young knight, and fair, and said that he would keep him willingly. Then was Blondians glad, and went to seek his viol—vielle 1-and his instruments, and so served the warden that he was right well with those therein, and with the whole house, and his services did much please. And when he was going .j. day, at the feast of Easter, in the garden that was near unto the tower, he did look round to know if, by chance, he could see the prisoner. And as he was in this thought, the king looketh and saw Blondiel, and did think how he should make himself known unto him. And he did call to mind a song-canchon—that they had made betwixt them two, and that none did know save them two. So he began aloud and clearly to sing the first stanza-li premier viers-for he did sing very well. And when Blondians heard him, he knew, surely, that it was his lord. So he had at heart the greatest joy that he had never a day. And he did now depart from the orchard, and did enter the chamber where he lay, and did take his viol and began to play a tune-vièler une note-and in play
At Nesle in Picardy. The London MS. and the Chronique de Normandie omit the place of birth ; and on the authority of Fauchet, p. 131, it has been supposed that this Blondel and Blondel de Nesle were different persons. The Abbé de la Rue (Hist. des Bardes, ii. p. 325), who had not seen our Chronique, likewise insists that they were not the same persons. † His captivity lasted fourteen months.
Vielle, violon, et non pas l'instrument que nous appelons vièle (hurdy-gurdy) qui se nommait alors Rote.-(De Roquefort Gloss.)
ing did joy for his lord that he had found. And Blondians tarried from thence to Whitsuntide ; and so well did he dissemble (se couvrir) that none did perceive his business. Then came Blondians to the warden, and said to him, “ Sire, an please you, I would willingly go to my country, for it is a long time since I was there.' Blondiel, fair brother,' said the warden unto him, that you will hardly do, if you believe me. Bat tarry yet again, and I will do you great good. Surely, sir,' said Blondians, 'I shall not tarry in any wise. Now when the warden saw that he could not keep him, he granted him leave to go, and gave him a good new steed-ronchi. Then did Blondians depart from the warden, and sped his way so that he came to England, and said to the king's friends and to the barons where he had found the king and how. When they had heard these words they were right glad, for the king was the most bountiful knight that ever put on spur-car li roi estoit li plus larges chevaliers qui onques caucast esporon."
They send two wise and brave knights to ransom the king for two hundred thousand marks sterling*, and he thereupon returned to England.
“But his land was sore laden, and also the church of the kingdom, for it behoved them to pledge even the chalices, and they sung (mass) a long time with chalices of pewter—mettre jusques as calices et canterent lonc tans en calisces d'estain.”—Page 55 et seq.
The story of Blondels romantic adventures, related with some small differences, is supposed by some writers to rest solely on the bonne chronique cited by Fauchet, and has been generally rejected on account of the seeming recentness of Fauchet's MS. and the silence of contemporary history. Nevertheless the Chronique de Normandie, c. 190, repeats the tale almost in the words of the Chronique de Rains. The contemporary testimony of the latter will make it difficult to persist in repudiating the story altogether. Though wild and romantic, it is anything but inconsistent with the habits of that rude age, as may be seen by the examples mentioned by Bishop Percyt.
Our Chronicle next furnishes us with an event which has left no traces in other histories, except the Chronique de Normandie, cc. 198, 199, 200, and if true must have taken place in the year previous to that of Richard's death, viz. 1198.
* 150,000 according to Hume, ii. + Reliques, Pref. p. 31. M. Capefique (Philippe Auguste, ii. p. 22, 1829) who tells this story as true, obviously knew something of our Chronicle; perhaps through Michaud's extract. He affects to refer to a petite chronique sur le trou. vère Blondian, à la Bibl. du Roi, dans les MSS." No Ms. chronicle concerning Blondel exists there, except the Chronique de Rains.
Ferrans li rois d'Espaigne had entered Guienne and laid siege to La Réole and Bray-Gérard, and Richard, on receiving the intelligence, assembled a large host, landed at Bayonne, and marched into Spain, where he laid waste the country. The Spaniard, hastening back, sent out his writs—ses briés—to call out a still larger army, and fought a furious battle with the English, in the course of which he had a personal encounter with Richard. In the fight, which is told much after the fashion of Tasso's battles, the Spaniards had the worst of it-en orent le piour, and fled pursued by the English, who captured the tents of king Ferrans, with much treasure. The battle seems to have been fought near the frontier, for Richard on the morrow returned to Bayonne, and thence set out rejoicing to Dover. The event is possible, but there was no contemporary monarch on any of the peninsular thrones of the name of Ferdinand.
The election of Jehans de Braine (Jean de Brienne), whom the chronicler calls son instead of brother of the famous Walter de Brienne, as king of Jerusalem, and the crusade into Egypt under his command, proclaimed by Innocent III., who sent into France, as preaching legate, Maistre Robiers de Crescon (Cardinal de Courçon), Englois, who was preudome, mais volontiers buvoit, pardieu, ainsi sont maint preudome, are related at length, but may be passed over ; except observing that the story of the crusade omits the most singular feature, the expedition of St. Francis to the quarters of the Soudan in order to convert him, so amazingly told by William of Tyre. We may also omit the singularly confused and faulty account of some of the quarrels between the Papacy and Frederic II., during which the siege of Milan and the purchased absolution of the inhabitants (already given) are stated by our chronicler to have taken place.
The detestation with which our own king John was regarded by his contemporaries, bursts out in a lively manner in our chronicler's pages. “He was the worst king that ever was, since king Herod who had the children beheaded." Moreover, " disbelieving and ill-believing in God-mescréans et mal créans en Dieux." With his own hands he pushedrua-Arthur of Brittany into the sea, “to have his land.” Philip sent to summon him to do homage, and not, as other