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tears, they unanimously gave the promise follow the same line. Not long afterwards, which he required, and promised to put the grass is trodden in, and the naked earth away their enmity forever.
is seen; the continuous path is formed. “The argument of the Gonfaloniere con But the path does not continue single; one tains the only principles, upon which go
traveller treads upon the boundary of grass vernment can be securely founded. With to suit his convenience, another wantonly, out neglecting, as collateral inducements, to a third for want of thought; more footsteps, insist upon the temporal blessings which more bare places. Tracks enlarge the path Providence always confers upon those who on either side. At length the trespass has faithfully seek the paths of peace; still the received the sanction of usage, and the only mode of insuring our continuance in owner of the field complains, but the law, them, is by looking to the example, and however unwillingly, is compelled to profollowing the precepts, of the great shep nounce that a public right of way has been herd of mankind.”
acquired, which can never more be denied We close our extracts from Sir Francis or closed. Palgrave's very interesting volume with an “When this happens, how often and how illustration, which appears to us original. fruitlessly does the proprietor regret that he
“ New institutions originate just as a did not take due measures for preventing path is made in a field. The first person the incursion, by stopping up the incipient who crosses the grass, makes so slight an path, when he was possessed both of the impression, that the sharpest eye can hardly right and the power. There is a moment discover the harm. After the first passen when you can warn off the trespassers and ger, however, other people follow; and stop up the footway ; but if once forborne, within a little wbile marks of their foot
your power is gone forever. And then, to steps begin to be perceivable. Nobody avoid the breaking down your hedges, and noticed the first foot prints; at what period prevent all the mischief you can, you make they became visible, nobody can recollect : a style to let the folks go easily over. Take but now, there the footsteps are, the grass matters quietly, when they have come to has changed its color, the depressions are this pass, for there is no help. Grudge not distinct, and they direct other wayfarers to what
you have lost: save what you can."
SKETCHES FROM BRITISH HISTORY.
BY W. Jos, WALTER, AUTHOR OF "THE LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR THOMAS MORE," ETC.
dustry of an amateur of the name of Vincent, and these transcripts are preserved in the library of the college of Arms, London. From them have been obtained the following authentic particulars of the Ladye Ela, the mother of a long line of illustrious men and the venerable foundress and abbess of the nunnery of Lacock.
Ela was born in 1188, in the castle of Amesburg, a town about seven miles distant from old Sarum. She had the misfortune to lose her father, Earl William of Salisbury, when only in her ninth year. Until that period, Ela had been reared, not only with religious care, but also in princely state in her native county of Wilts. The earl, her father, was one of the most distinguished subjects of the chivalrous Richard I, and possessed a high place in the royal favor. We find him taking a prominent part in both the coronations of him of the lion heart. At the first, which was solemnized with great state at Westminster, on the 3d of September, 1189, when each of the great earls of the kingdom filled his distinctive post in the ceremony, the earl of Salisbury carried the virga or rod, having a dove upon its summit. At the second, which took place at Winchester, April 18, 1194, after Richard's return from captivity in Germany, he was one of the four earls who bore the canopy over the head of his sovereign. The same year, he was named keeper of the king's charter for the licensing of tournaments throughout the realm, a situation of no mean responsibility in that age of chivalry. One of the five great “ steads," or fields appointed for the exercise of ournaments, was situated between Salisbury and Wilton; and on that spot, when a child, the future abbess of Lacock may have first witnessed the gallant but perilous feats of knightly valor, those proud exhibitions of personal courage, and those ambitious attempts to outrival in external splendor, which served as the nurseries of the chivalry of the age.
But while still a child, on losing the protection of her father, this heiress of many fair domains was suddenly snatched from the scenes familiar to her infancy, and subjected to a jealous seclusion in a foreign
land. What were the motives of this proceeding, we are left to conjecture. All that is said in the Book of Lacock" of the captivity of the maid of Salisbury, is this: “Ela being now deprived of both her father and mother, was secretly conveyed into Normandy by her relations, and there brought up in close and secret custody."
And now began the romantic part of the youthful Ela's history. Immediately upon the inquisition held after her father's death, the lands of the minor would, in due course, be taken into the custody of the king, she being a royal ward. But the abstraction of her person might, in all probability, have thrown some difficulty in the way of the inquisition, or the legal proceedings cousequent upon the same. The sequel of events arising from these circumstances is highly characteristic of the manners of a court where the minstrel monarch, the lion-hearted Richard, presided over his train of gallant and chivalrous troubadours. An English knight, named William Talbot, undertook to discover the place of the youthful heiress' concealment; the idea being probably suggested by King Richard's own dis covery, a few years before, by the minstrel Blondel.
Assuming the garb of a pilgrim, the gallant Talbot passed over into Normandy, and there continued his search, wandering to and fro, for the space of two years. When at length he had found the retreat in which the Lady Ela of Salisbury was detained, he exchanged his pilgrim's dress for that of a harper or travelling troubadour, and in that guise made his way into the court [curiam), in which the maiden was detained. As he sustained to admiration his character of a gleeman [homo jocosus), and was perfectly versed in the gests, or historical lays, which recorded the doings of former days, the stranger was kindly received, and soon treated as one of the household. A favorable moment was found, and the secret of his visit imparted to the fair detenue. Ela was then in her sixteenth year. Youth is adventurous, and it was not long ere the chivalrous undertaking was accomplished. Beneath the friendly shades of evening they eluded the vigilance of the castle wardens,
and in the disguise of peasants, made their way to the coast. A vessel was found to convey them to England, and, faithful to his trust, the adventurous knight presented the lost heiress to King Richard.
Among the gallant knights who graced the court at this period, there was no one of more winning manners, and at the same time of more lofty bearing than William Longespé [of the long sword]. He was the natural son of King Henry II, by the fair Rosamond Clifford, whose melancholy story traditional fate, and storied bower, so dear to the muse of romance, have all contributed to perpetuate that celebrity which her beauty acquired in her own day. It was with such great heiresses as Ela of Salisbury that provision was usually made for the younger offspring of royalty; it is, therefore, easy to conjecture that King Richard would take the earliest opportunity to confer upon his half-brother a provision suitable to his birth. It is probable that the heiress of Salisbury was at once assigned by the royal will, to William Longespé, when the death of her father left her the heiress of his estates and dignity, and while her person was still detained from the king's legal possession. In such case, it requires no effort of the imagination to conceive that the troubadour knight, William Talbot, was not only one whom the king could trust for his loyalty and discretion, but one who felt proud to be numbered among the most devoted friends of the youthful Longespé. Respecting Talbot we have this interesting fact that his nam e occurs among the witnesses to several of the earl's charters to Bradenstoke abbey; which shows that whether he had been a friend of Longespé from his early youth, or whether he had earned that friendship by his chivalrous services in recovering the person of Ela, he continued, in subsequent years, the faithful retainer of the house of Salisbury.
After the marriage of Ela we have nothing to recount of her for several years, unless it were to enumerate the names of her flourishing family of four sons and as many daughters.
In the year 1220, her name is brought before us on a highly interesting occasion,
the ceremony of founding the beautiful cathedral of Salisbury, a noble pile, which still challenges the admiration of every lover of Gothic architecture. Considerable preparations had been making in order to give due effect to the imposing ceremony. The bishop of Salisbury had been led to expect that the king would have honored the solemn occasion by his presence, and that he would have been accompanied by the legate and the archbishop of Canterbury, and many of the nobility of England; he had, therefore, incurred a great expense in order to do the rites of hospitality to all comers, and entertain them in the sumptuous style of that day. But the bishop was disappointed ; the king was obliged to be absent in order to attend a negociation then pending with the Welsh at Shrewsbury. The ceremony, however, could not be deferred any longer, the day having been fixed and publicly announced throughout the diocess.
An account of the ceremonies of the day has been left us by William de Wanda, who at the time was precentor, and afterwards dean of Sarum.
6 On the day appointed, the bishop came with great devotion, few earls or barons of the county attending, many of them being absent with the king; but a vast multitude of the common people crowded thither from all parts. When high mass had been performed at the old cathedral, and the grace of the Holy Spirit invoked in that touching hymn, Veni Creator Spiritus, the bishop having put off his shoes, went in procession with the clergy of the church to the new foundation, the litany being sung by all present. After the litany a sermon was preached to the people. The bishop then laid the first stone for our lord, Pope Honorius, who had granted the license for transplanting the church; the second for Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury, and cardinal of the holy Roman Church, who was then with the king in the marches of Wales; and the third for himself. Then the fourth was laid by William, earl of Salisbury [who held that title in right of his marriage), and the fifth by the Countess Ela, a woman whose worth is beyond all praise, being filled with piety
and the fear of the Lord. After her, the few noblemen present added each a stone; then Adam the dean, William the precentor, Henry the chancellor, Abraham the treasurer, and the archdeacons and canons of the church of Sarum, who were present, did the same, amidst the acclamations of the multitude, who wept for very joy, and contributed to the good work according to their ability.”
William de Wanda adds, that “several of the earls and barons, on their return from Wales, where service to the king had called them, came and laid the stones reserved for them in this ceremony, binding themselves to contribute an annual sum for the next seven years, towards building the cathedral.”
The first visit of the king to the new cathedral, was on the Friday next after Michaelmas, on which occasion he was attended by the judiciary, Hubert de Burgh. The offering made by the king was ten marks of silver, and a rich piece of silk ; the judiciary promised for the use of the cathedral, a copy of the Gospels, in the original Greek, bound in gold and ornamented with precious stones. This precious volume was brought the following week by the justiciary's chaplains, Luke, the dean of St. Martin's, London, and Thomas de Kent. The second visit of the king and the judiciary took place on the feast of the Holy Innocents, when the latter offered in person, at the altar, with great devotion, the splendid Text, or copy of the Gospels. At the same time, the king, not to be outdone in munificence, took from his finger, a ruby ring of great value, both the gold and stone of which he directed should be applied to the further ornament of the rich cover in which the said copy of the Gospels was encased.
In the spring of 1224, the earl of Salisbury sailed with sixty knights on an expedition to Gascony, which had refused to render homage and fealty to King Henry III. They all landed safely at Bordeaux, on Palm Sunday (April 7), where they were honorably received by the archbishop and citizens. They soon succeeded in reducing the refractory to obedience. In the stormy month of the October following, they set out
on their return to England. The voyage was disastrous to the earl, not only on account of the present hardships he encountered, but in its consequences as affecting the peace of the virtuous Ela, and eventually the life of the earl himself. The following is the account of the voyage, as given by Matthew of Paris.
“ After the earl had been many days and nights at sea, tossed by the tempest, and despairing of life, as did the sailors themselves, and all that were in the ship, he threw into the sea his precious rings, and whatever he possessed in gold and silver, or valuable raiment, in order that as he entered naked into this temporal life, so, despoiled of all earthly honor, he might pass to his eternal country. But while he was thus despairing of his life, a wax-taper of large size, and shining with great splendor, was seen by all in the ship, resting upon the summit of the mast, and near it they saw standing a maiden of surpassing beauty
, who preserved that bright waxen light, shining through the nocturnal darkness, from the violence of the wind and raio. Encouraged by this vision of heavenly brightness, the earl, as well as the whole of the crew, were led to trust that divine aid was vouchsafed to them. While all was amazement, and no one in the ship could conceive what the vision portended, Earl William alone assigned the favor of the benign appearance to the Blessed Virgin Mary; for the earl, on the day when he had been first honored with the belt of knighthood, had appointed a wax-light to stand before the altar of the most blessed mother of God, that it might burn during the mass which was daily wont to be devoutly chanted, together with the canonical hours, in her honor, till is temporal light should be exchanged for that which is eterpal.
“When day-light dawned, they made the isle of Rhé, where they landed in their boats. There was a Cistercian abbey in the island, to which the earl sent messengers
, requesting that the father abbot would allow him to conceal himself from his enemies within its walls, till a favorable wind should allow him to depart. The abbot kindly consented, and received him and his companions,
with hospitality, but with honor. The island was under the charge of Savaric de Maloleone, a chieftain who had good reason to know the earl, he having been of the number of those who formerly devastated the isle of Ely. After staying three days in the monastery, intimation was given him that unless he left before the following morning he would fall into the hands of his enemy. Upon this the earl flew to his ships, and again trusting himself to the winds and waves, continued struggling for nearly three months with the contrary currents of the channel, before he landed in England which was upon the coast of Cornwall and upon Christmas day.
Meanwhile, his friends in England, had despaired of his safety, all but the faithful wife of his bosom, who, though now a matron whose age and dignity should have commanded greater respect, became an object of pursuit to the fortune-hunters of the court. One of the persons who had then the greatest sway in the country, was the justiciary, Hubert de Burgh ; a man no less remarkable for his power and prosperity under one king, than for his trials and sufferings under another. This powerful personage, with most indecent haste, put forward Reimund, a nephew of his, as suitor 10 the presumed widow, the lady of Salisbury; and the youth, entering with a kindred spirit into the interested views of his ambitious relative, at once proceeded to seek an interview with the countess, and, it is said, hesitated not at once to insult her with his personal addresses. Ela, however, like another Penelope, possessed a heart which could not be alienated from her absent lord. When Reimund, with flattering speeches and large promises, was proceeding to open his suit, the Lady Ela, with all the calm dignity natural to her, replied, “that she had lately had the happiness of receiving assurances from persons upon whose report she could rely, that the earl, her husband, was in health and safety; that, even had she been so unfortunate as to lose her lord, she would in no case have received him for a husband, the inequality of their rank and station forbidding such a union.”
She added : “Young man, let me advise you
to seek a match elsewhere, and that too of your own choice. As to your present visit, you must be content to know that
have come hither to little purpose.”
And so Reimund de Burgh, to use a homely proverb, “ departed with a flea in his ear.”
On the 10th of January, 1225, the earl of Salisbury returned to protect and console the faithful Ela. It was the Saturday after the Epiphany; at the hour of vespers he repaired to the new cathedral to offer thanksgivings to God for his preservation and safe return; and on the Sunday following, himself and Ela were received at the door of the cathedral by a procession of the clergy, who welcomed his return with every demonstration of joy.
On the morrow he proceeded to the king, who was then at Marlborough, by whom he was welcomed in the most cordial man
He lost no time in making his complaint to Henry, alleging, that while employed in his service in a distant country, the judiciary had sent a man of low birth, who would fain have contracted an adulterous marriage with his wife, he himself being still living. He demanded redress from his sovereign, insinuating that if it were not promptly made, he should be compelled to seek it in person. Upon this, the judiciary who was present, stepped forward and frankly avowed that the fault rested with him. The earl had a heart alive to the precepts
his Divine Master; the hand of forgiveness was extended, and the judiciary was again received into favor. That same day the earl was feasted by the nobleman whom he had pardoned, and the disappointed Reimund is suspected of having caused poison to be mingled in his cup. The year following, this unhappy young man was drowned at Nantes, the horse on which he was riding by the side of the river Loire, having been precipitated down a steep bank into the stream.
The following day, the earl returned to his castle at Salisbury, and took to his bed, grievously sick. His illness increasing, and symptoms of approaching dissolution appearing, he begged the attendance of Richard Poore, the bishop of the city, who was his confessor, that he might receive the con