Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

histories aver, to appear to stand trial; and the messenger learnt that “ he was tarrying at Lincoln—à Nichole (according 6 to our author's topography), a farm at .xii. leagues from “ Cantorbile, where Saint Thomas the Martyr lies.” The conquest of Normandy by Philip followed, and is related with great spirit.

The circumstances that led to the alliance between the Emperor, John and the rebel French lords against PhilipAugustus are told at length. They began, according to our author, with a quarrel between the Count of St. Pol and the Count of Boulogne. St. Pol struck the latter in Philip's presence with his fist—de son poing, sour le visage, et li fist tout sanglant. The king sent to appease Boulogne; but the latter vows, that " if the blood that fell from my face to the ground “ doth not go up, of its own accord, to where it issued, peace “nor accord shall ne'er be made.” The battle of Bouvines is vividly described, but we can only find room for the singular transaction which preceded it on the side of the French. The introductory ceremony, imitated from the Cana Domini, seems to be a sort of religious rite that has since disappeared from the ritual of the Catholic church.

Philip-Augustus heard mass, all armed, in a chapel (capiele) near the bridge of Bouvines, and when mass was said he “ caused wine to be brought, and did cut bread therein for sops, and did eat one; and then said to all therein that were round him, 'I pray of all my good friends that they do eat with me in remembrance of the .xii. apostles that with our Lord did eat and drink. And if there be any one that thinks evil or treachery, let him not come nigh. Then did approach Messire Engherrans de Couchi (Coucy), and did take the first sop, and Count Walter de St. Pol the second, and he said unto the king, Sire, now in this day we shall see who is the traitor.' And he said these words for that he knew that the king had him in suspicion for evil words. And the Count of Sancene took the third, and all the other barons afterwards; aud there was so great a crowd that they could not all come unto the bowl (hanap). And when the king saw this he was right glad, and said unto them, "Lords, ye are all my men, and I am your lord such as I am, and have much loved you, and borne you great honour, and have given of mine bountifully, and never did you wrong or unreason, but have ever led you with justice-par droit. Therefore I pray of you all that you do guard this day my body, my honour and your own. And if you think that the crown were better employed in one of you than in me, I grant myself willingly to you and will it with good heart and good will.' When the barons heard him speak they began to weep for pity, and said, “Sire, for God's

mercy, we will have no king if it be not you. Therefore attack your enemies boldly, and we are all prepared to die with you.'"- Page 147.

The story of Philip's offer to surrender his crown to the most worthy, has hitherto rested on the single authority of a monk of the Vosges; and this circumstance has induced M. A. Thierry * to throw discredit upon it. The coincidental testimony of our chronicler deprives M. Thierry's objection of almost all its force. The story, moreover, in itself is not improbable.

The landing of Lewis in England, at the instance of the barons, is next told. The step was adopted in spite of the advice of his father, who seems to have held the same opinion of the English as the French of the present day.

"By Saint James's lance,' said the king (by the way, our chronicler is the first to make us acquainted with this oath of Philip-Augustus), ‘do what pleaseth thee, but I believe that thou wilt never bring matters to bear ; for the English are traitrous and felon, nor will they ever keep covenants-car Englois sont traitour et félon, ne tenront convenant t.''

Lewis was reduced to straits for money, and addressed himself to his father for succour. This demand is followed by a story of much dramatic interest, not wholly true perchance, but testifying to the universal admiration inspired at the time by the character of Blanch of Castille.

“ The king said, by Saint James's lance he would do nothing of the sort, nor would he be excommunicated-escumenijés—for him. When Madam Blanch knew it, she came unto the king and said to him, 'How, sire, will you let your son die in a strange land ? Sire, for God, he is to be heir after you! send whatsoever he hath need of; at least, the issues (proceeds) of his patrimony.' 'Surely, Blanch,' said the king, ‘I will do nothing of the sort je n'en ferai noient.' " 'Tis well,' said the lady ; I know what I will do.' 'What will you do ?' said the king. By God's blessed mother, I have fair children of my lord ; them will I put in pledge, and shall find some one who will lend money upon them.'”– Page 158.

Struck with Blanch's heroism, the king opened his treasury to her; but to guard himself against John's new liege lord the pope, he cautiously abstained from appearing to send the money himself. John, in the meanwhile, had purchased the

* Lettres sur l'histoire de France.
+ This distrust was mutual.

Then answered king Richard,
Fy! à debles, vile coward !
Shall I never, by God above,
Trusten unto Frenchman's love.--(Ellis, ii. p. 280.)

interposition of the pope by a hearth-tax of 1111. estrelins de rente de cascun feu.

“And when the apostol and the brethren saw the great treasure, which was worth a thousand marks sterling the year, then were they right glad and much moved-moult liet et moult meus.”Page 157.

The homage and grant to the pope preceded the invasion of Lewis.

Our historian's account of the events of the reign of St. Lewis presents a singular adventure, to which we have in vain sought a key. Thibault king of Navarre, better known as the trouvère Count of Champagne and as the lover of Blanch of Castille, was suspected of having poisoned her husband Lewis VIII., and is insulted by Lewis's brother, the Count of Artois, who threw a cheese in his face !

“And as he did enter into the Palace-hall at Paris (the present Salles des Pas Perdus of the Palais de Justice), a man was set, who struck him with a cheese tied up in its basket (un froumage enfissiele) in the face, by the counsel of the Count of Artois, who never loved him *.”—Page 192.

The adventures of Saint Lewis in Egypt and the Holy Land are well told ; but here our chronicler must yield the palm to the inimitable Joinville, whose close personal connexion with the king and his share in the crusade give an authority to his narrative which cannot be accorded to any other writer. Joinville's portrait of Saint Lewis is a masterpiece of character-limning. Our chronicler makes him brave, pious and conscientious; but he gives us nothing like the exquisite simplicity with which Joinville describes the king's judicious recipe for settling theological disputation with unbelievers.

* According to the Chronique de Philippe Mousques,' the insult was still more singular,

Mais li frère li rois
Messire Robers, cel desroi
Ni li vot pardoner ni s'ire (colère),
Ainsi comenda et si fist dire
A ses valets qu'il li féissent
Tres tout la honte qu'il penissent.
Et quant li quens s'en dut aler
Cil li vinrent à l'encontrer ;
Si fu gietés de palestiaces (lambeaux)
Et de cinces (sangles) et de boians
Et si li trencièrent d'us dois (de deux doits)

La queue de son palefroi.
Fauchet also mentions the same event.

“Vous di-je fist li roys que nubz, se il n'est très bon clerc, ne doit disputer à eulz; mès l'omme lay, quant il oy mesdire de la loy crestienne, ne doit pas deffendre la loy crestienne; ne mais de l'espée, de quoi il doit donner parmi le ventre dedens, tant coume elle y peu entrer!”-$ 27.

One is tempted, in these talking times, to blame the late Mr. Jeremy Bentham for omitting so salutary a regulation amongst his rules for ordering the disputings about “la loy," in certain assemblies amongst ourselves.

The chronicle relates the retrocession to Henry III. of the territories conquered by Philip-Augustus, conformably with the statements of other historians, and joins Joinville in commending the conscientiousness of Lewis ; but his account does not require particular notice. He concludes with the history of a dispute between the Archbishop of Rheims and the abbots and monke, concerning the keeping of the abbey of Saint Remy in that city; but it is without interest to English readers.

Such is a sketch of the contents of this curious production. There are many interesting passages which we have passed over for want of room. We must refer the reader to the volume itself for these. But we cannot leave it without remarking on one of its most singular features. Sancho has not a greater store of proverbs at command than our chronicler. Thus of the talkativeness of servants he says, Céle couque mainsnie set, n'est souvent mie: of a presumptuous man, En .1. mui de quidance n'a pas (y a) plain pot de sapienche : of a too busy one, Tant grate kièvre (chèvre) que mal gist : of a great man, Vrais cuers ne puet mentir : of a foolish one, Biaus semblans fait musart liet (lætus) : of a covetous one, Qui tout convoite tout piert. Again, Cui Diex voet aidier, nus ne li puet nuire. La sour-some abat l'asne. N'eveillés pas chien gi dort. The dog has been unmeaningly changed into the cat in the modern proverb.

False discoveries of lost works have been so often published, that it betrays a more than allowable credulity to be lured into much expectation by fresh announcements. And yet when we call to mind the findings of a few years—a large portion of Cicero's Republic, a fragment of Claudian, an almost complete copy of Gaius, the Sic et Non of Abailard, and others, we cannot reconcile ourselves with the belief that the vast existing stores of MSS. will not yield up still more. There are good reasons for believing that the lost books of Livy, and the later history of Sallust, were in existence about the time that the Chronique de Rains was written *. It is not long since the public journals informed us of a valuable discovery made in Servia of ancient MS. works relating to the early history of the Sclavonic races. May this be at once a salutary reproach to our indifference and an encouragement to our industry.

ARTICLE VII.

Mecklenburg und der Zollverein, von H. F. RAAPE, &c. 1841. We have with sincere pleasure remarked that the view of our commercial relations with the Prussian Customs' League and with the States of the North-western German League, given in No. XXII. of this Review, has been productive of much good. Public attention has been called more directly to the point at issue between Great Britain and Prussia, by the simple revelation that there was a point at issue of which previously few had heard, and that this point involved principles not only of commercial policy but of international law, which could not be neglected without serious detriment to the dearest interests of this country and of the civilized world at large. The leading organs of the daily press have since conveyed a mass of useful information to the public, which has enabled the nation to decide on the commercial policy of the late ministry; and the decision has been, as we have seen in the result of the late elections, its unhesitating condemnation. The instinctive feeling of self-preservation spoke undisguisedly on this occasion; and a nation, which has a right to demand of a ministry in which it has placed confidence, a dispassionate and impartial consideration of truths which bear on such weighty interests, was roused to a simultaneous display of proper indignation at seeing the prospects of the intelligent and enterprising classes, and the

* Hume iii. Note N.

« PredošláPokračovať »