The Lives of

The Queens of England





"Knights of the Holy Ghost Departing for the Crusades"

After a minature from the Statutes of the Order of the Holy Ghost, at Naples. Manuscript
of the XIVth Century, in the Louvre. This voyage was never undertaken; but the cheviliers were
ordered to hold themseves ready in the evennt of their departure being resolved upon in Rome. The
artist has sketched all the preparitives for embarking; the crusaders, on horseback, have the bow
upon their breastplates; the vessels awaiting them are decked with banners upon which are blazoned
the arms of the Pope, of the Emperor, of France, of England, of Anjou-Sicily, of Tarentum, etc.


This electronic edition
was prepared by
Michael A. Linton


Philadelphia: Printed only for Subscribers by George Barrie & Son.

Agnes Strickland.

Etched by Ch. Thevenin after the Painting by J. Hayes
now in the National gallery, London.


Few historical works have ever acquired a popularity so immediate and continuous as that of the "Lives of the Queens of England." Published originally in twelve volumes (London, 1840-48), it ran quickly through several editions, of one of which alone, that of 1864-5, in six volumes, more than eleven thousand copies were sold. The first American reprint appeared in Philadelphia almost simultaneously with the original publication in England. Subsequent issues have conformed to the text of the revised editions, published in 1852, 1854, and subsequently, in eight volumes, and illustrated with portraits of all the queens. On both sides of the Atlantic the book has still a steady sale, and copies in public libraries are in frequent request. The attractiveness of the subject, as well as of the treatment, has always commended it to a far wider class of readers than those who take a special interest in historical studies; while the fulness of its details and the labor expended in its preparation have ensured it against rivalry in the field which it was the first to occupy.

The work destined to attain to this fortunate position was the composition of two maiden ladies, daughters of Thomas Strickland, of Reydon Hall, near Southwold, Suffolk, and of his second wife, Elizabeth Homer. The elder sister, born in 1794, and named after her mother, had an equal share with the younger in the execution of the work; but her invincible aversion to publicity led her, in this, as in other instances, to refuse to allow her name to appear cm the title page. [The biographies written by Elizabeth occupy somewhat less space than those by Agnes, but exceed them in number. They are those of Adelicia of Louvaine, Eleanora of Aquitaine, Berengaria of Navarre, Isabella of Angouleme, Marguerite of France, Philippa of Hainault, Anne of Bohemia, Eleanora of Castile, Isabella of Valois, Katherine of Valois, Elizabeth Woodville, Anne of Warwick, Elizabeth of York, Katharine of Arragon, Jane Seymour, Mary Tudor, Anne of Denmark, Henrietta Maria, Mary II., Queen Regnant, and Anne, Queen Regnant.] Hence the credit and responsibility of the achievement have been usually assigned to Agnes, despite her own acknowledgment of her sister's collaboration. She is the "Miss Strickland" who is commonly spoken of as the author of the work, and this is, in a measure, justified by the fact that it owed its inception to her, and that she took the more active part in securing the opportunities for research necessary for its successful accomplishment.

Born in London on the 19th of August, 1796, Agnes Strickland was the second of a family of nine children, four of whom, besides Elizabeth and herself, became known as authors. [These were Jane Margaret (1800-1888) who, besides some books for children, wrote the "Life of Agnes Strickland," and "Rome Republican and Regal: a Family History of Rome;" Mrs. Susanna Moodie (1803-1885) who published several novels, but is better known by the spirited account of her Canadian life entitled "Roughing it in the Bush;" Samuel (1809-1867), whose "Twenty-seven Years in Canada West" embodied much information valuable to intending colonists; and Mrs. Catharine Parr Traill (b. 1802) and still living in (1899) the list of whose publications includes juvenile and other stories, descriptions of Canadian life and scenery, and an illustrated work entitled "Studies of Plant Life; or, Floral Gleanings by Forest, Lake, and Plain." Ottawa. 1885.] Their early taste for literature was derived from and encouraged by their father, who took the chief part in the education of his elder daughters, and incited and directed them especially in the pursuit of historical and antiquarian studies. Unhappily, he did not live to witness the fruit of his labors. He died in 1818 of gout—a disease from which he had long suffered at intervals, and the final attacks of which were aggravated by mental distress arising from the loss of the greater part of his fortune.

We are told that this change of circumstances led the two sisters to engage in literature as a means of support. They were not, however, without independent resources, and their joint career of authorship did not begin till many years later, after Agnes had made some not very successful attempts in poetry, the first that appeared in book form being a metrical romance entitled "Worcester Field, or the Cavalier," published in 1827, which was followed in the same year by "The Seven Ages of Woman and other Poems." Better fortune attended the first ventures in prose of the sisters working in conjunction, though then, as always afterwards, under a single name. These were some books for the young, two of which, "Historical Tales of Illustrious British Children" (1833), and "Tales and Stories from History" (two volumes, 1836), passed through several editions, and were reprinted in America. Two works by Agnes, "Demetrius," a poem, and "The Pilgrims of Walsingham," a series of tales of the Middle Ages, in three volumes, were published respectively in 1833 and 1835; but neither of these brought any increase of reputation, nor did her productions or those of her sister at this period indicate the power to grapple with important themes or to win the ear of the general public.

But now a happy inspiration, favored by circumstances, opened the way to a sudden and great success. In 1837, Elizabeth Strickland was editing the "Court Journal," to which she contributed some short biographies of female sovereigns. Agnes thereupon conceived the idea of an elaborate work, to bear the title of "Memoirs of the Queens of England from the Norman Conquest." The moment was propitious. The accession to the throne of a youthful princess had just taken place, and had been hailed throughout the British dominions with demonstrations of sympathy and attachment far exceeding the ordinary professions of loyalty on such occasions. Application was made for permission to dedicate the intended work to the Queen, and this having been graciously accorded, the fact was announced when, in 1839, the first volume was ready for the press. The title thus prematurely made public was immediately appropriated by another writer, whose "Historical Memoirs of the Queens of England from the Twelfth to the Sixteenth Century" in two volumes, appeared in December of the same year. The Stricklands were at first dismayed on seeing their project apparently forestalled, and Agnes was inclined to abandon it. Elizabeth, however, insisted on its prosecution, while suggesting the change of title to one that was an obvious improvement on that which had been originally adopted. Nor was there, in fact, any occasion for discouragement. The work of their would-be rivals attracted little attention; it never reached a second edition, and the name of the author, Miss Hannah Lawrance, is now chiefly noticeable for her long life, which extended from 1795 to 1895.

The task to which the sisters had devoted themselves was undertaken with a full comprehension of the labor it involved, and their plan was formed in a true historical spirit sufficiently rare at that time. Their early training had habituated them to the work of investigation, and the conspicuous characters and events of English history in particular had filled their memories and excited their imaginations. Agnes, while still in her teens, had read and re-read the ponderous folios of Rapin and similar now forgotten works; and, less propitiously for the proper execution of their present task, both sisters had imbibed from their reading a passionate sentiment in favor of the House of Stewart, despite the opposite opinion of their father, who was a strong admirer of William III. and the Revolution. But in this respect they shared the common feeling of a time when Jacobitism, though extinct as a practical political principle, had been revived as a sentimental creed through the popularity of the Waverley novels.

It was on Agnes, as already mentioned, that the duty devolved of obtaining access to the depositaries, public and private, where materials of the kind required might be found; and for this she was the better fitted by her social instincts and personal attractiveness. She was tall, finely formed and singularly graceful, with a face, which if not beautiful, was handsome and expressive. [There are two portraits of her—one painted in 1846, which is now in the National Portrait Gallery, the other of a much later date. The former was engraved in London in 1850, and in Philadelphia, by Sartain, in 1857, and forms the frontispiece to the standard editions of the "Lives of the Queens." It confirms the description of her by her sister as having a pale complexion and black eyes and hair.] The poet Campbell, with whom she had an interview during a short stay in London, in 1827 (when she had also the pleasure of shaking hands with Sir Walter Scott), described her to his friends as "a lovely, interesting creature, full of genius and sensibility." From the time when she became generally known, she was a welcome guest in high social circles, and a frequent visitor at country houses, while the regard in which she was held is further attested by her many close and enduring friendships with persons of culture and distinction. The relations thus formed did much to facilitate the prosecution of her historical researches. When a first application for permission to examine the manuscripts in the State Paper Office was rejected by Lord John Russell, powerful influence was brought to bear, with the result that the sisters obtained separate orders granting them all the facilities they required. Among the private archives and collections which were promptly and freely opened to their inspection were those of the Duke of Devonshire, of Sir Thomas Phillips, of Middle Hill, of the Howards of Corby Castle, and of the Stricklands of Sizergh, an ancient family with which their own claimed a connection which seems to have been admitted, though it is said to be unsupported by direct documentary evidence.

A reception not less favorable was accorded to them in France, which they visited together in 1844, for the purpose of consulting and transcribing unpublished documents, especially in reference to Mary of Modena, the wife of James II., whose years of exile with her husband were passed at St. Germains. The interest of Guizot, then premier, had already been enlisted by the high opinion he had formed of their work from the volumes already published. He granted them a long interview, and furnished them with introductions which procured them admission to the Archives du Royaume and the Archives des Affaires Etrangeres. Other distinguished persons, archivists and scholars, among them Miguet, Michelet, Champollion, and Dumont, gave them valuable assistance, especially by causing search to be made for documents connected with the subject of their investigation. A letter from Agnes gives this account of their first visit to Michelet at the Hotel Soubise, where the national archives are preserved:

"We were received by him with great courtesy; and he told us that the employees in the Archives had succeeded in finding a little regarding our purpose. We were then introduced to a room adjoining his own, and presented with three packets, all in the well-known hand of the Queen of James II. These letters were ostensibly supposed only to consist of her correspondence with Madame Priolo, the Superior of the Convent of Chaillot, but they really contained other matters of great interest. Soon after, a considerable manuscript was brought to us containing anecdotes of her life. Then within the packets we found not only the will of this princess, but a most precious narrative of her escape, and the names of the ladies who quitted England with her and shared her exile—Lady Strickland being the one first mentioned by her royal mistress. I showed the name to M. Michelet, who made us a low bow, partly to us and partly to the name of our relative, and said, 'C'est une circonstance tres in-teressante,' as indeed it was. We set to work for two hours in good earnest, to the evident surprise of the French officials."

Before the completion of the "Lives of the Queens of England," the Stricklands were already planning another work, demanding almost an equal amount of labor, the chief part of which was undertaken by Agnes. At an early period she had become deeply interested in the story of that Scottish Queen around whose name and fateful career has raged a more heated and prolonged controversy, with stronger manifestations of sympathy and admiration on the one side and of aversion and execration on the other, than can be paralleled in the case of any other woman. On which side Miss Strickland would array herself could not be a matter of doubt, and the further she extended her researches the more ardent became her championship of the ill-starred queen. She began by collecting, translating and editing, with an historical introduction and notes, "Letters of Mary, Queen of Scots, illustrative of her Personal History, now first published from the Originals." The first edition, in three volumes, appeared in 1842-3; the second, in two volumes, in the latter year; while a complete and final one, in five volumes, was issued in 1864. The labor connected with this work was preparatory to a fuller biography of Mary than any that existed, while the success of the "Queens of England" naturally suggested the preparation of a companion series. The work, however, took a range beyond the limits originally intended, being entitled "Lives of the Queens of Scotland and English Princesses connected with the Royal Succession of Great Britain." It was published in 1851-59, in eight volumes, five of which were devoted to Mary Stuart, and were, with some of the minor biographies, the work of Agnes alone. [Elizabeth's share in this series comprised the lives of Margaret Tudor, Countess of Lenox, Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bavaria, and Sophia, Electress of Hanover.]

Three other joint productions remain to be mentioned—"Lives of the Bachelor Kings of England" "Lives of the Seven Bishops who were committed to the Tower in 1688" and "Lives of the Tudor Princesses, including Lady Jane Grey and her Sisters"—published respectively, each in one volume, in 1861, 1866, and 1868. Another book of the same character, "Lives of the Last Four Princesses of the Royal House of Stuart" published in 1872, was the work of Agnes alone, and was the last production of her prolific pen. In the intervals between her more important publications she had issued three which require to be mentioned merely as completing the list. These are, "Historic Scenes and Poetic Fancies," 1850; "Old Friends and New Acquaintances" (two series), 1860, and "How Will It End?" a novel in three volumes, which appeared in 1865 and came to a second edition in the same year.

The merit and attractiveness of the "Lives of the Queens of England" do not consist in the features which, singly or in combination, characterize the works of highly accomplished historians, such as grace or distinction of style, vigor of thought, or brilliant expositions of the causes and course of great political movements. On the other hand, in respect to wide and minute research, the Stricklands stand on a level with, or above, most of the distinguished writers who have dealt with the same periods of English history; and the result is a wealth of detail, illustrative of character and manners, lying for the most part outside the compass or the scope of ordinary histories. Often, no doubt, the incidents seem trivial, partaking of the character of anecdotical gossip. But even these have an interest for all but the severer class of readers, while the total effect is a reproduction of the life of the past, the early lack of which in strictly historical narratives gave rise to that hybrid, though often highly attractive, form of literature, the historical romance.

It must be admitted that this effect is gained less by any graphic power in the presentation of the facts than by the copious extracts from letters, reported conversations, and other contemporaneous documents, so continuously interwoven with the narrative. This method of writing is sometimes objected to as inartistic, being incompatible with the harmonious impression to be derived from a mode of treatment by which the material is so re-moulded as to preserve a continuity of style. But, after all, the proper object of a narrative of historical events is to inspire the reader with a sense of their reality, and it is undeniable that this is often impaired by a process of modelling which excites admiration by its uniform brilliancy and skill. Thus the stately periods of Gibbon, abounding as they do in information and unfolding in their well-ordered sequence the progressive development of his momentous theme, leave us nevertheless conscious of a lack, the nature of which will be better apprehended if we turn to the less ambitious work of Mr. Hodgkin, "Italy and its Invaders," which, largely by means of its excerpts from the original sources, enables us to get a vivid idea of many a personage and scene that on the pages of the more famous historian makes no such appeal to our imagination. So, too, when Macaulay, in rhetorically balanced sentences, reports the arguments of different speakers at the Council-board or in Parliament, the consummate art with which this is done does not disguise the fact that the utterances have undergone a transmutation, that their characteristic form has been effaced, that we are listening, not to Halifax or Shrewsbury, but to Macaulay himself. However much we may admire, we are under no illusion. Though the hand be that of Esau, the voice is clearly that of Jacob.

The method adopted by the Stricklands was the only one by which they, at least, could have accomplished work of real utility and established a solid reputation. They would never have achieved this success if they had clothed all the material they so industriously collected in their own language—in a form, that is to say, requiring weightier qualities than they possessed to gain acceptance either from the student or from the general reader. On the other hand it was not by the mere accumulation and reproduction of original material, such as a Dry as dust might have made, that they won the approbation of either class. Whatever their demerits in other respects, they were guided in the selection of their extracts by a true and fine perception of what would best illustrate the characters, actions and surroundings of their heroines; while the connecting links of the narrative are not in general such as to detract from the effect.

Of contemporaneous testimonies to the interest and value of the work, it is sufficient to cite those of three historians, of different nations, each eminent in his own field. Guizot, in acknowledging the reception of the first two volumes of the "Lives of the Queens of England," writes to Agnes in 1840, "I have read them, Mademoiselle, with lively pleasure. It is a charming work. You have studied from the source, and presented your facts singularly exempt from dryness. My perusal being finished, I have sent your book to my daughters . . . . who will read them in their turn with the lively pleasure natural to their age." Lingard, who was then engaged in the revision of his "History of England," wrote about the same time to Mr, Howard, of Corby, "I have snatched a few moments now and then to read Miss Strickland's work, which you have had the kindness to send me. It afforded me great pleasure, bringing to my recollection many anecdotes which I had forgotten, and making me acquainted with many that I had never met with—at least as far as I can recollect . . . . I should say that Miss Strickland's promises to be a very favourite book, particularly among the ladies . . . . I am happy that she has become a sister of the craft, and that she will do honour to the body." Several years later, in the preface to the new edition of his work, after acknowledging his indebtedness to the editors of various documentary collections recently issued, he adds: "There remains, however, one name that shall not be passed over in silence,—that of a female writer, Miss Agnes Strickland, whose claim to the distinction is of a different kind, and peculiarly her own,—the discovery of a new mine of historic lore previously unexplored; a mine which she has also worked with great success in those attractive volumes, her 'Lives of the Queens of England.'" Finally, Prescott, in a note in his "History of Philip the Second," writes, "Miss Strickland's interesting volumes are particularly valuable to the historian for the copious extracts they contain from curious unpublished documents, which had escaped the notice of writers too exclusively occupied with political events to give much heed to details of a domestic and personal nature." Prescott had, in fact, listened with avidity to the reading of the volumes comprising the Lives of Mary Tudor and Elizabeth, finding in them abundant matter of a kind that gratified a taste which he shared with the authors and with the general mass of readers, as well as aids in the special study in which he was then engaged. It was not his way to leave such a service unacknowledged, or to speak condescendingly of those who had rendered it. In 1850, when visiting the tombs in Westminster Abbey, in company with Dean Milman, the historian Hallam, Lady Lyell, and others, he cited Miss Strickland as an authority in regard to facts connected with the subject of one of the monuments, turning to the present writer to confirm his recollection; and, when Lady Lyell smilingly demurred to his estimation of an authoress whom probably no one else in the company ranked quite so high, he repeated it with at least as much warmth as he was in the habit of showing in the defence of his opinions.

The diligence of the Stricklands in their search for and examination of historical manuscripts is the worthier of commemoration from the fact that, at the time when they entered the field, little had been done in England by the government or by learned societies to smooth the path of the explorer. The first volume of the Camden Society's publications appeared in 1838, and it was not till thirty years later that the printing began of the great series of state papers and other documents still in course of issue under the supervision of the Master of the Rolls. Moreover, the public repositories of historical manuscripts were often in a state of confusion, and few students, except mere antiquarians and genealogists sought access to them. In short, as regarded English history, the era of investigation which has since had so active a reign, can scarcely be said to have commenced. Hume, whose History of England was still the standard work on the subject, had been notoriously indolent in the matter of research. Lingard, though as superior to his predecessor in learning and industry as he was his inferior in literary skill, made no personal explorations in public or private archives, contenting himself with such transcripts of manuscripts as were furnished him by others, chiefly from the Library of the Vatican. One person, indeed, Sir James Mackintosh, had projected a History of England based on thorough research, and partly by his own labor, partly through the contributions of a great number of representatives of historical families, had accumulated a mass of manuscript material filling, when arranged, fifty volumes, of which Macaulay has written, "I have never seen, and I do not believe that there anywhere exists, within the same compass, so noble a collection of extracts from public and private archives." But it was not Mackintosh, but Macaulay himself who ultimately utilized this collection, and the first fruits of his labor did not appear till after the publication of the "Lives of the Queens of England." It need scarcely be added that the names of Froude, Freeman, Green, and Gardiner were at that time unknown in connection with the study of English history.

The Stricklands are therefore justly to be ranked among the earliest pioneers in a field which has since been so extensively cultivated. It seems, indeed, not too much to say that they were the first writers on English history having in view the general mass of readers who recognized the necessity of going to the primary sources of information, and bringing the greatest possible amount of light to bear upon the subject which they had undertaken to treat. And besides working assiduously in the State Paper Office, the library of the British Museum, the Bodleian library at Oxford, and the muniment rooms of private castles, they availed themselves in a greater degree than was then common of opportunities to visit localities associated with the scenes and events they were to describe. Agnes, especially, spent much time in this way, and her enthusiasm in the pursuit reached its acme when she turned from the study of the English queens to that of Mary Stuart. In repeated visits to Scotland and the north of England she seems to have traversed all the ground which her heroine had passed over, explored the palaces and castles where she had resided as a sovereign or languished as a captive, and mused with reverence and pity over the extant relics of her grandeur and her misfortunes. Everywhere she met not only with the guidance and assistance she required, but with the most hospitable entertainment, and the fatigues of travel and research were exceeded by those of social festivities. In a letter from Lennoxlove, the abode of her friend Lady Blantyre, she speaks of an interval of "blessed rest"—"for," she adds, "though there has been company all the week, and more are coming next, I have been able to work my difficult chapters, and to nurse my bad cold. I write, too, in my own room, by a good fire, till one. Then take a long stroll in the lovely gardens and park, then work again after lunch-time."

Her way of life was, it must be owned, very different from that of the student who, wholly absorbed in his work, shuts himself up in seclusion. She had herself an opportunity of observing the contrast when she passed a few days at Brougham Castle, where the famous ex-chancellor, then immersed in scientific researches, seldom left his own apartment till dinner time, when he showed himself morose and irritable. With Agnes Strickland, a frequent participation in the functions and gayeties of society, instead of being a mere distraction or even a necessary stimulant to her work, was its natural accompaniment. Her tastes in this direction and her fondness for witnessing scenes of pageantry and pomp might be reckoned among her qualifications for depicting the ceremonial life of former ages. What more natural or legitimate than that she who had to describe so many coronations should eagerly avail herself of an opportunity to be present at that of the youthful Victoria? After her presentation at court, she was a regular attendant at the "drawing-rooms," whether held by the queen in person or by one of the princesses. At a ball at the vice-regal lodge in Dublin, in 1861, the Prince of Wales, in whose honor it was given, desired that she should be introduced to him, and expressed the pleasure he had derived from her books, though, speaking of the "Bachelor Kings," he assured her he "did not mean to be one." Nor was the recognition of her role as the historiographer of female royalty confined to persons of exalted station. When, in 1865, she was present at the Oxford "Commemoration," in the Sheldonian Theatre, the undergraduates saluted her on her entrance, with shouts of "The Queens! The Queens! Three cheers for the Queens!"

But it is time to turn from the record of the praises and honors thus lavished upon her to the adverse criticism of which she was also the object. Some of this may be dismissed without scrutiny, as obviously dictated by the jealousy and spite provoked by her sudden access of popularity. It is different with the charge most frequently brought against her, that of a lack of impartiality—a strong and prevailing bias in favor of the House of Stuart, and an unfair treatment of its opponents. There are, it is true, few historical writers who have not been subject to similar imputations, and the spirit of partizanship has, in the common opinion, betrayed itself as clearly on the opposite side in the works of Macaulay and Froude. Nor has the censure in her case been altogether unqualified. In an elaborate article on the "Lives of the Queens of England," in the "Edinburgh Review," the writer, after remarking that "to all the princes of the unhappy house of Stuart, Miss Strickland bears true and indiscriminate allegiance," and that "not even the coarse absurdities of James I. can exhaust her benevolent interest for his credit," goes on to observe: "Her love and veneration for his unfortunate son [Charles I] are more intelligible feelings; and we are bound to say that she has but rarely suffered them to betray her into approbation or defence of his political misconduct."

It was, however, in her Life of the Queen of Scots that she revealed herself completely as an impassioned advocate and eulogist. Mary is, with her, simply a victim, the innocent, pitiable, adorable victim of Scottish conspiracy and English statecraft. Apart from Miss Strickland's political prepossessions, all her feminine instincts were aroused in defense of a woman so beautiful, so accomplished, at once so high-spirited and so full of graciousness and charm, who in a time of settled order and tranquillity might have reigned a very queen of hearts, but who, placed by fate in a centre of turbulence and fierce conflicting factions, walked ever among pitfalls, and after an unparalleled series of adventures and calamities, throughout which she bore herself, if not wisely, yet courageously, received at last her death-warrant from the royal kinswoman to whom she had fled for protection. There are not many persons at the present day who take this one-sided view of Mary's career, regarding all her misfortunes as unmerited and ail her adversaries as criminals. Yet there are probably still fewer who are content to abide by the harsh verdict of Froude, who, pursues her with obloquy and contempt down to her death upon the scaffold, and dismisses her at last with the curt and summary pronouncement that "she was a bad woman." That she was accessory to the murder of Darnley and that she plotted against Elizabeth are points that seem no longer to admit of dispute. But when one remembers the circumstances of her education, the character of the age, the perils and the temptations that surrounded her, and the insults and outrages that were heaped upon her, it seems to need the robust conscience of the wholesale apologist of Henry the Eighth to cast unmeasured condemnation on poor Mary Stuart. It remains only to add that from an imputation which is often coupled with the charge of partizanship, that of suppressing or garbling evidence, the Stricklands are entirely exempt.

During the most active period of their joint authorship the sisters, though they passed much of their time in London or the neighborhood for the convenience of their work, had their permanent home with their mother, at Reydon Hall. But in 1865, Mrs. Strickland having died, in her ninety-second year, Agnes leased a house, "Park Lane Cottage," in Southwold—a pleasant little town on the coast of Suffolk—while Elizabeth went to reside at Bayswater, near Kensington Gardens, removing some years later to a small property which she had purchased, "Abbot's Lodge," near Tilford, Surrey. At the outset of their career they had been very inadequately remunerated for their labors, owing to an unfortunate contract with Colburn, the original publisher of the "Lives of the Queens of England." After his death, in 1863, Agnes repurchased the copyright for £1862 15s. 6d.—a somewhat larger sum than he had paid for it—and her subsequent arrangements with other publishers—the Longmans, Bell and Daldy, and the Blackwoods, who published the "Lives of the Queens of Scotland"—seem to have been mutually satisfactory. In 1870, having met with some pecuniary losses, she received from Mr. Gladstone a notice that she had been granted a pension of £100 a year. At this period, though now seventy-four years old, her literary activity had suffered little or no abatement, and her visits to different places, whether for historical investigation or for social purposes were still not infrequent. In 1869 she went to the Hague, to examine the archives in connection with her work on the Stuart princesses, and while there had a long interview with the queen (Sophia Frederica) of Holland, one of the most accomplished women of her time and especially versed in the study of history. After the completion of this book she prepared a revised edition of her life of Mary Stuart, which appeared, in two volumes, in 1873. But her labors had already been cut short by a disastrous accident. In June, 1872, while descending a staircase, she fell and fractured her right leg just above the ankle. Paralysis supervened; and though she recovered sufficiently to be able to take short walks supported by her maid and by a stick, her speech remained impaired, her handwriting became almost illegible, and her intellectual faculties were perceptibly clouded. She lingered for over two years, dying serenely, after an apparent clearing of her mind, on the 13th of July, 1874, when she had nearly completed her seventy-eighth year. The sister who bad been the companion of her labors did not long survive her; she died at the age of eighty, on the 30th of April, 1875.

The career of these two women was useful and honorable, and their lives were, on the whole, singularly happy, made so chiefly by absorption in a pursuit well-suited to their tastes, and, in all essential respects, to their powers. Whatever deduction may be made on grounds already mentioned, the value and interest of their most important work are such as to entitle it to a high place among similar productions—we may even say a unique place among those of writers of the same sex. If we detect in it the same lack of breadth and grasp of thought which is characteristic of the works of earlier and contemporaneous female historians, it is lifted far above them by its constant display of fresh and conscientious research, and if, on the other hand, there are some histories by female writers of the present day that bear the stamp of a trained scholarship, comprehensive study, and masculine vigor of treatment, these are works which only select readers can be expected to appreciate. The works of the Stricklands fill a niche of their own, of which they are not likely to be dispossessed. As a recent, not too friendly critic, remarks, they "contain pictures of the court, of society, and of domestic life not to be found elsewhere." [Article by Miss Elizabeth Lee, in the Dictionary of National Biography, vol. 59, p. 50.] Another living writer, whose own admirable studies in English history add weight to his judgment, says, in reference to Queen Elizabeth, "Miss Strickland's Life, with all its shortcomings, is the best personal memoir of the queen that has yet appeared." [Article by Rev. Augustus Jessop, Ibid., vol. 17, p. 231.] The statement would be equally true if extended to the other Lives in the same series. The work it may be safely said, will long continue to be read with pleasure and profit.



Miss Strickland's text refers in places to illustrations which have been omitted in this edition, for the reason that the aim of the artist seems to have been to make a pretty drawing rather than an exact one.


to the

Revised, Complete Edition

MANY years have elapsed since the first volume of these royal biographies issued from the press: fresh impressions of every successive volume have been repeatedly required, yet it was not till the completion of the undertaking that the work could be reprinted with perfect uniformity as a whole.

A revised edition, embodying the collections which have been brought to light since the appearance of earlier impressions, is now offered to the world. Whatever improvements, however, may have been effected in the external form and fashion of our Queens, we never can contemplate them in their new costume with the same feelings with which we have been wont to recognize the well-thumbed copies of the first familiar editions, in the hands of gentle readers of all ages and degrees, on the decks of steamboats, in railroad carriages, and other places of general resort, where stranger links of the great chain of life and intelligence are accidentally drawn together for the journey of a day, never perchance to meet again. Not unfrequently on such occasions have we been obligingly offered a peep into "the new volume" by courteous fellow-travellers, unknown to us, who suspected not how intimately we were acquainted with its contents, far less how many a toilsome day and sleepless night it had cost us to trace out the actions and characteristics of many of the royal heroines of these biographies, of whom little beyond their names was previously known.

The personal histories of the Anglo-Norman, several of the Plantagenet, and even two or three of the Tudor and Stuart queen-consorts, were involved in scarcely less obscurity than those of their British and Anglo-Saxon predecessors. Dimly, however, as their memorials floated over the surface of general history, they afforded indubitable evidence that substantial matter connected with those shadows would, on diligent search, be discovered, as, indeed, the result has proved. Documentary historians alone can appreciate the difficulties, the expense, the injury to health, to say nothing of the sacrifice of more profitable literary pursuits, that have been involved in this undertaking. The hope that the Lives of the Queens of England might be regarded as a national undertaking, honorable to the female character, and generally useful to society, encouraged us to the completion of the task.

The historical biographer's business, however zealously and carefully performed in the first instance, when breaking unwrought ground, must be often repeated before all the widely-scattered and deeply-buried treasures of the past can be collected together. Truth lies not on the substratum, but, as the wisdom of ages bears testimony, in a well, which only those who will take the trouble of digging deeply can find, although it be easy enough to draw when once the sealed-up fountain has been discovered and opened. This observation is peculiarly applicable to those documents which, after slumbering forgotten for centuries in their secret depositories, are at last brought forward, like incorruptible witnesses in a perplexing trial, to confute the subtleties of some specious barrister who has exerted the persuasive powers of eloquent language to establish falsehood. "Facts, not opinions," should be the historian's motto; and every person who engages in that difficult and responsible department of literature ought to bear in mind the charge which prefaces the juryman's oath:—"You shall truly and justly try this cause, you shall present no one from malice, you shall excuse no one from favor," etc., etc.

To such a height have some prejudices been carried, that it has been regarded as a species of heresy to record the evil as well as the good of persons who are usually made subjects of popular panegyric, and authors have actually feared in some cases to reveal the base metal which has been hidden beneath a meretricious gilding, lest they should provoke a host of assailants. It was not thus that the historians of Holy Writ performed their office. The sins of David and Solomon are recorded by them with stern fidelity and merited censure, for with the sacred annalists there is no compromise between truth and expediency. Expediency! perish the word, if guilt be covered and moral justice sacrificed to such considerations!

Nothing has been more fatal to the cause of truth than the school of historical essay, which, instead of communicating information, makes everything subservient to a political system, repudiates inconvenient facts as gossip, and imposes upon the defrauded reader declarations about the dignity of history, instead of laying before him a digest of its evidences. But take the proceedings in a court of justice,—a trial for murder, for example,—how minutely is every circumstance investigated, what trifles tend to the conviction of guilt and the establishment of innocence. How attentive is the judge to the evidence, how indifferent to the eloquence of the advocate. He listens to the depositions of the witnesses, he jots them down, he collates them in his tablets, he compares the first statements with the cross-examinations, he detects discrepancies, he cuts short verbiage, he allows no quibbles or prevarication, but keeps every one to the point. In summing up, he proves that all depends on the evidence, nothing on the pleadings; if he condescend to notice the arguments of the rival counsel, it is only to caution the jury against being unduly biassed by mere elocution,—words, not facts. The duty of the historian, like that of the judge, is to keep to the facts, and not to go one tittle beyond the evidences, far less to suppress or pervert them.

Our Introduction contains brief notices of the ancient British and Saxon queens. Their records are, indeed, too scanty to admit of any other arrangement. This series of royal biographies is, however, confined to the lives of our mediaeval queens, commencing with the consort of William the Conqueror, occupying that most interesting and important period of our national chronology, from the death of the last monarch of the Anglo-Saxon line, Edward the Confessor, in the year 1066, to the demise of the last sovereign of the royal house of Stuart, Queen Anne, in 1714. In this series of queens, thirty have worn the crown-matrimonial, and four the regal diadem of this realm.

What changes—what revolutions—what scenes of civil and religious strife—what exciting tragedies are not involved in the details of those four-and-thirty lives! They extend over six hundred and fifty-two years, such as the world will never see again,—the ages of feudality, of chivalry, and romance—ages of splendor and misery, that witnessed the brilliant chimera of crusades, the more fatal triumphs of our Edwards and Henrys, in their reiterated attempts to annex the crown of France to that of England, and the national destitution and domestic woe that followed the lavish expenditure of English blood and treasure in a foreign land—the deadly feud of the rival Roses of York and Lancaster, which ended in the extinction of the name and male line of Plantagenet—the stupendous changes of public opinion that followed the accession of the house of' Tudor to the throne, effecting first the overthrow of the feudal system, then of the Romish theocracy, leaving royalty to revel unchecked in a century of absolute despotism. After the crisis of the Reformation and the emancipation of England from the papal yoke, came the struggle of the middle classes for the assertion of their political rights, overpowering royalty for a time, and establishing a democracy under the name of a Commonwealth; which ended, as all democracies sooner or later must, in a military dictatorship, followed by the restoration of the monarchical government and a fever of loyal affection for the restored sovereign. Then came the slow but sure reaction of democracy and dissent against royalty and the established church, assisted by a no-popery panic—the Orange intrigues, encouraged by a pope, against the Roman Catholic sovereign James II.—the conflicting passions of the revolution of 1688—the expulsion of the male line of Stuart—the triumph of an oligarchy—the Dutch reign, the era of continental wars, standing armies, national debt, and universal taxation—the contests between selfish parties and rival interests during the reign of Anne—and, finally, the happy establishment of a Protestant succession, in the peaceful accession of the illustrious House of Brunswick to the throne of the United Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland.

With this progressive chain of national events and changes have the royal ladies in our series of queenly biographies been inextricably linked. To use the words of Guizot, "Great events have acted on them, and they have acted according to the events." Such as they were in life we have endeavored to portray them, both in good and ill, without regard to any other considerations than the development of the facts. Their sayings, their doings, their manners, their costume, will be found faithfully chronicled in this work, which also includes the most interesting of their letters: the orthography of these, as well as the extracts from, ancient documents, have been modernized for the sake of perspicuity.

The materials for the lives of the Tudor and Stuart queens are of a more copious and important nature than the records of the consorts of our Anglo-Norman and Plantagenet sovereigns. We miss, indeed, the illuminated pages, and the no less picturesque details of the historians of the age of chivalry, rich in their quaint simplicity, for the last of the monastic chroniclers, John Rous, of Warwick, closed his labors with the blood-stained annals of the last of the Plantagenet kings.

A new school of history commences with sir Thomas More's Life of Richard III.; and we revel in the gorgeous descriptions of Hall and Holingshed, the characteristic anecdotes of the faithful Cavendish, the circumstantial narratives of Stowe and Speed, and other annalists of less distinguished names. It is, however, from the acts of the Privy Council, the Parliamentary Journals, and the unpublished Regal Records and MSS. in the State Paper Office, as well as from the treasures preserved in the Bibliotheque du Roi, at Paris, and the private MS. collections of historical families and gentlemen of antiquarian research, that our most important facts are gathered. State papers, autograph letters, and other important documents, which the antiquarian taste of the present age has drawn forth from the repositories where they have slumbered among the dust of centuries, have afforded their silent but incontrovertible evidence on matters illustrative of the private history of royalty, to enable writers who, unbiassed by the leaven of party spirit, deal in facts, not opinions, to unravel the tangled web of falsehood. Every person who has referred to original documents is aware that it is a work of time and patience to read the MSS. of the Tudor era, Those in the State Paper Office and the Cottonian Library have suffered much from accidents and from the injuries of time. Water, and even fire, have partially passed over some; in others, the mildew has swept whole sentences from the page, leaving historical mysteries in provoking obscurity, and occasionally baffling the attempts of the most persevering antiquary to raise the shadowy curtain of the past.

The records of the Tudor queens are replete with circumstances of powerful interest, and rich in the picturesque costume of an age of pageantry and romance. Yet of some of these ladies so little beyond the general outline is known, that the lives of Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, and Katharine Howard were for the first time opened to the public in this work.

Our earlier queens were necessarily members of the church of Home, and there are only the biographies of five avowedly Protestant queens in this series. Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, and Anne of Cleves died in communion with the church of Rome. Katharine Parr is, therefore, our first Protestant queen, and the nursing mother of the Reformation. There is only another Protestant queen-consort, Anne of Denmark, in this series, and our three queens-regnant, Elizabeth, Mary II., and Anne. Undoubtedly these princesses would have been better women if their actions had been more conformable to the principles inculcated by the pure and apostolic doctrines of the church of England. Sincere friends of that church will not blame those who transfer the reproach, which political creedists have brought on their profession, from her to the individuals who have violated her precepts under the pretext of defending her interests.

The queens of England were not the shadowy queens of tragedy or romance, to whom imaginary words and deeds could be imputed to suit a purpose. They were the queens of real life, who exercised their own free will in the words they spoke, the parts they performed, the influence they exercised, the letters they wrote. They have left mute but irrefragable witnesses of what they were in their own deeds, for which they, and not their biographers, must stand accountable. To tamper with truth, for the sake of conventional views, is an imbecility not to be expected of historians. Events spring out of each other: therefore, either to suppress or give a false version of one leads the reader into a complicated mass of errors, having the same effect as the spurious figure with which a dishonestly disposed schoolboy endeavors to prove a sum that baffles his feeble powers of calculation. Ay, and it is as easily detected by those who are accustomed to verify history by the tests of dates and documents. It is, however, the doom of every writer who has had the fidelity to bring forward suppressed evidences, or the courage to confute long-established falsehoods, to be assailed, not only by the false but by the deluded, in the same spirit of ignorant prejudice with which Galileo was persecuted by the bigots of a darker age, for having ventured to demonstrate a scientific truth.

What was the result as regarded Galileo and his discovereries? Why, truly, the poor philosopher was compelled to ask pardon for having been the first to call attention to a fact which it would now be regarded as the extreme of folly to doubt! Neither the clamor of the angry supporters of the old opinion, nor the forced submission of the person who had exposed its fallacy, had in the least affected the fact, any more than the assertion that black is white can make evil good or good evil. Opinions have their date, and change with circumstances, but facts are immutable. We have endeavored to develop those connected with the biographies of the queens of England with uncompromising fidelity, without succumbing to the passions and prejudices of either sects or parties, the peevish ephemerides of a day, who fret and buzz out their brief term of existence, and are forgotten. It is not for such we write: we labor in a high vocation, even that of enabling the lovers of truth and moral justice to judge of our queens and their attributes,—not according to conventional censure or praise, but according to that unerring test, prescribed not by "carnal wisdom, but by heavenly wisdom coming down from above," which has said, "By their fruits ye shall know them."

We have related the parentage of every queen, described her education, traced the influence of family connections and national habits on her conduct, both public and private, and given a concise outline of the domestic, as well as the general history of her times, and its effects on her character, and we have done so with singleness of heart, unbiassed by selfish interests or narrow views. If we have borne false witness in any instance, let those who bring accusations bring also proofs of their assertions. A queen is no ordinary woman, to be condemned on hearsay evidence; she is the type of the heavenly bride in the beautiful 45th Psalm:—"Whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are holy, whatsoever things are pure, and of good report" in the female character, ought to be found in her. A queen-regnant occupies a still higher position,—she is God's vicegerent upon earth, and is therefore to be held in reverence by his people. In proportion to her power, so are her responsibilities. Of the four queens-regnant, whose lives are narrated in this series of biographies, one only, queen Elizabeth, was possessed of absolute power. Her sister Mary I. had placed herself under the control of a cruel and tyrannical husband, who filled her council and her palace with his creatures, and rendered her the miserable tool of his constitutional bigotry. The case of the second Mary was not unlike that of the first, as regarded the marital tutelage under which she was crushed. Anne, when she designated herself "a crowned slave," described her position only too accurately.

The Lives of the Tudor and Stuart female sovereigns form an important portion of this work; there is much that is new to the general reader in each, in the shape of original anecdotes and inedited letters, especially in those of the royal Stuart sisters, Mary II. and queen Anne. The biographies of those princesses have hitherto been written either in profound ignorance of their conduct on the part of the writer, or else the better to work out general principles, in the form of vague outlines full of high-sounding eulogiums, in which all personal facts were omitted. We have endeavored to supply the blanks, by tracing out their actions, and compelling them to bear witness of themselves by their letters,—such letters as they permitted to survive them. Strange mysteries might have been unfolded if biographers had been permitted to glance over the contents of those papers which queen Mary spent a lonely vigil in her closet in destroying, when she felt the dread fiat had gone forth:—"Set thine house in order, for thou shalt die and not live." The great marvel regarding the secret correspondence of royalty at such epochs is not that so much is destroyed, but that any should survive.

The materials for the biography of Mary Beatrice of Modena, the consort of James II., are chiefly derived from the unpublished documents of the period. Many of these, and indeed the most important, are locked up in the secret archives of France, papers that are guarded with such extreme jealousy from the curiosity of foreigners that nothing less than the powerful introduction of M. Guizot, when premier of France, could have procured access to that collection. Through the kindness and liberality of that accomplished statesman-historian, every facility for research and transcription was granted during our residence in Paris in 1844. The result was fortunate beyond our most sanguine expectations, in the discovery of a very important mass of inedited royal letters and contemporary records connected with the personal history of the expatriated Stuarts. Not the least curious of these are the disjointed fragments of a quaint circumstantial diary kept by one of the nuns of Chaillot, in the years 1711, 1712, 1713, and 1714, who, with minuteness and simplicity worthy of Samuel Pepys himself, has recorded the proceedings and table-talk of the exiled queen during her occasional abode in that nunnery. This "convent log-book," as it has been pleasantly termed by one of our talented reviewers, was, of course, never intended for Protestant eyes, for it admits us fully within the grate, and puts us in possession of things that were never intended to be whispered without the walls of that mysterious little world; and though, as a whole, it would be somewhat weary work to go through the detail of the devotional exercises, fasts, and other observances practised by the sisters of St. Marie de Chaillot and their royal visitor, it abounds in characteristic traits and anecdotes. Much additional light is thrown on the personal history of the exiled royal family by the incidents that have been there chronicled from the queen's own lips. The fidelity of the statements is verified by their strict agreement with other inedited documents, of the existence of which the sister of Chaillot could not have been aware. Besides these treasures, we were permitted to take transcripts of upwards of two hundred original autograph letters of this queen, being her confidential correspondence for the last thirty years of her life, with her friend Francoise Angelique Priolo, and others of the nuns of Chaillot. To this correspondence we are indebted for many touching pictures of the domestic life of the fallen queen and her children during their residence in the chateau of St. Germains. Some of the letters have been literally steeped in the tears of the royal writer, especially those which she wrote after the battle of La Hogue, during the absence of King James, when she was in hourly expectation of the birth of her youngest child, and, finally, in her last utter desolation.

The friendly assistance rendered by M. Michelet, in the prosecution of our researches in the Archives of the Kingdom of France, demands our grateful acknowledgments. We are also indebted, through the favor of M. Guizot, and the courtesy of M. Mignet and M. Dumont for inedited documents and royal letters from the Archives des Affaires Etrangeres; nor must the great kindness of M. Champollion, in facilitating our researches in the Bibliotheque du Roi, be forgotten, nor the service rendered by him in the discovery and communication of a large portfolio of inedited Stuart papers, from the archives of St. Germain's.

The lives of the queens of England necessarily close with that of queen Anne. She is the last queen of Great Britain of whom historical biography can be written,—at least, consistently with the plan of a work based on documents, and illustrated by original letters.

Grateful acknowledgments are herewith offered to the noble and learned friends who have assisted us in the progress of the Lives of the Queens of England, by granting us access to national and family archives, and favoring us with the loan of documents and rare books, besides many other courtesies, which have been continued with unwearied, kindness to the conclusion of the work. Among these we wish to notice in particular the names of our departed friends, the late sir Harris Nicolas, the historian of The Orders of Knighthood; Henry Howard, Esq., of Corby; the late sir William Wood, Garter king-of-arms; Mr. Beltz, Lancaster Herald; Sidney Taylor, Esq.; and Monsieur Buchon, the learned editor of the Burgundian Chronicles; sir Cuthbert Sharp; Alexander Macdonald, Esq., of the Register House, Edinburgh; R. K. Porter, and Miss Jane Porter.

Of those who happily still adorn society, we have the honor to acknowledge our obligations in various ways connected with the documentary portion of this work to the baroness Willoughby de Eresby, the dukes of Devonshire and Somerset, lady Mary Christopher, the countess of Stradbroke, sir John and lady Matilda Maxwell, of Polloc; lady Georgiana Bathurst, the lady Petre, dowager lady Bedingfield, sir Thomas Phillipps, Bart., of Middlehill; D. E. Davey, Esq., of Ufford; Dr. Lingard; the Rev. G. C. Tomlinson, the Rev. Joseph Hunter; John Adey Repton, Esq., James Orchard Halliwell, Esq., John Bruce, Esq., Thomas Saunders, Esq., City Comptroller; Rev. H. Symonds; Thomas Garrard, Esq., Town Clerk of Bristol; Madame Colmache; C. H. Howard, Esq., M.P.; John Kiddell, Esq., of the Faculty of Advocates, Edinburgh; Francis Home, Esq., Deputy Sheriff of Linlithgow; Miss Mary Home; Frederick Devon, Esq., of the Chapter-house; J. H. Glover, Esq., her Majesty's librarian at Windsor castle; sir F. Madden; sir Charles Young, Garter king-of-arms; W. Courthope, Esq.; and the Rev. Eccles Carter, of Bristol cathedral.

Nor must we omit this opportunity of returning thanks to our unknown or anonymous correspondents, who have favored us with transcripts and references, which have, occasionally, proved very useful; and if they have not, in every instance, been either new to us, or available in the course of the work, have always been duly appreciated as friendly attentions and tokens of good-will.

We cannot take our leave of the gentle readers who have kindly cheered us on our toilsome track by the unqualified approbation with which they have greeted every fresh volume without expressing the satisfaction it has given us to have been able to afford mingled pleasure and instruction to so extensive a circle of friends,—friends who, though personally unknown to us, have loved us, confided in our integrity, brought our Queens into their domestic circles, associated them with the sacred joys of home, and sent them as pledges of affection to their dear ones far away, even to the remotest corners of the world. We should be undeserving of the popularity with which this work has been honored if we could look upon it with apathy; but we regard it as God's blessing on our labors and their sweetest reward.

P.S.—I have used the plural we, because I speak not only in my own name, but in that of my sister, whose share in this work I am especially desirous to notice to the world, although she refuses to allow her name to appear on the title-page with that of



June, 1851.


MATILDA OF FLANDERS, Queen of William the Conqueror
ADELICIA OF LOUVAINE surnamed the Fair Maid of Brabant, Second Queen of Henry I.


"THE queen of England," says that learned commentator on the laws and constitution of this country, Blackstone, "is either queen-regnant, queen-consort, or queen-dowager." The first of these is a female sovereign reigning in her own right, and exercising all the functions of regal authority in her own person,—as in the case of her present majesty queen Victoria, who ascended the throne, not only by rightful inheritance and the consent of the people, but also in full accordance with the ancient British custom, noticed by Tacitus in these remarkable words: "Solent foeminarum ductu bellare, et sexum in imperiis non discernere." [Life of Agricola.]

No other princess has, however, been enthroned in this land under such auspicious circumstances as our present sovereign lady. Mary I. was not recognized without bloodshed. Elizabeth's title was disputed. Mary II. was only a sovereign in name, and as much dependent on the will of her royal husband as a queen-consort. The archbishop of Canterbury forfeited the primacy of England for declining either to assist at her coronation, or to take the oaths. The same scruples of conscience withheld the nonjuring bishops and clergy, and many of the nobility and gentry of England, from performing their homage either to her, or to queen Anne. Not one of those four queens, therefore, was crowned with the unanimous consent of her people. But the rapturous acclamations that drowned the pealing of the bells and the thunders of the artillery, at the recognition of our beloved liege lady queen Victoria, in Westminster abbey, can never be forgotten by those who then heard the voices of a united nation uplifted in assent. I was present, and felt the massy walls of the abbey thrill, from base to tower, with the mighty sound, as the burst of loyal enthusiasm, within that august sanctuary, was echoed by the thronging multitude without, hailing her queen by universal suffrage.

A queen-consort has many exemptions and minute prerogatives. For instance, she pays no toll, nor is she liable to any amercement in any court. In all cases, however, where the law has not expressly declared her exempted, she is upon the same footing with other subjects, being to all intents and purposes the king's subject, and not his equal. [Blackstone's Commentaries: Rights of Persons.] The royal charters, in ancient times, were frequently signed by the queen as well as by the king; yet this was not in the quality of a coadjutor in the authority by which the grant was made, but evidently in the capacity of a witness only, and on account of her high rank she was doubtless a most important one. In point of security of her life and person, the queen-consort is put on the same footing with the king. It is equally treason (by the statute of the 25th Edward III.) "to compass or imagine the death of our lady the king's companion, as of the king himself." [Ibid, book i. chap. iv.]

"The queen is entitled to some pecuniary advantages, which form her a distinct revenue," continues Blackstone, "one of which, and formerly the most important, was the aurum reginae, or queen-gold, a royal revenue belonging to every queen-consort during her marriage with the king, and due from every person who hath made a voluntary offering or fine to the king amounting to ten marks or upwards; and it is due in the proportion of one-tenth part more, over and above the entire offering or fine made to the king, [Prynne's Aurum Reginae.] and becomes an actual debt of record to the queen's majesty by the mere recording of the fine. Thus, if an hundred marks of silver be given to the king to take in mortmain, or to have a fair, market, park, chase, or free-warren, then the queen was entitled to ten marks in silver, or rather its equivalent,—one mark in gold, by the name of queen-gold, or aurum reginae"

Another very ancient perquisite of the queen-consort, as mentioned by old writers and quoted by the learned roundhead Prynne [Aurum Reginae.] (who after the Restoration became, when keeper of the Tower records, a most zealous stickler for the privileges of the queens of England), is, that on the taking of a whale on the coasts, which is a royal fish, it shall be divided between the king and queen; the head only being the king's property, and the tail the queen's. The reason of this whimsical division, as assigned by our ancient records, was to furnish the queen's wardrobe with whalebone. [Bracton. Britton.] Now, this shrewd conjecture of the learned civilian quoted by Blackstone may be considered as sufficient authority by barristers and judges to settle the point, but as it relates to matters on which ladies, generally speaking, possess more critical knowledge than lawyers or antiquaries, we beg to observe that the royal garments-feminine would be poorly provided with the article alluded to if her majesty depended on this contingency alone for her supply, as the peculiar kind of whalebone used in a lady's dress grows in the head of the fish, which, as we have seen, falls to the share of the king.

It is well known that the ward of Queenhithe derives its name from the circumstance of vessels unlading at that little harbor paying tolls to the queen of Henry III., Eleanor of Provence. The covetous disposition of this princess induced her to use her influence with the king, in order to compel every vessel freighted with corn, or other valuable lading, to land at her quay, to increase the revenue she drew from this source. It is well for the interests of trade and commerce that our latter queens have been actuated by very different feelings towards the subjects of their royal husbands, than the sordid selfishness practised by this princess.

The queen-regnant, in addition to the cares of government, has to preside over all the arrangements connected with female royalty, which, in the reign of a married king, devolve on the queen-consort; she has, therefore, more to occupy her time and attention than a king, for whom the laws of England expressly provide that he is not to be troubled with his wife's affairs, like an ordinary husband. There have been but three unmarried kings of England,—William Rufus, Edward V., and Edward VI. The two last died at tender ages; but the 'Red King' was a determined bachelor, and his court, unrestrained by the presence and beneficial influence of a queen, was the focus of profaneness and profligacy.

The earliest British queen named in history is Cartismandua, who, though a married woman, appears to have been the sovereign of the Brigantes, reigning in her own right. This was about the year 50.

Boadicea, or Bodva, the warrior queen of the Iceni, succeeded her deceased lord, king Prasutagus, in the regal office. Speed gives us a curious print of one of her coins in his Chronicle. The description of her dress and appearance on the morning of the battle that ended so disastrously for the royal Amazon and her country, quoted from a Roman historian, is remarkably picturesque:—"After she had dismounted from her chariot, in which she had been driving from rank to rank to encourage her troops, attended by her daughters and her numerous army she proceeded to a throne of marshy turfs, apparelled, after the fashion of the Romans, in a loose gown of changeable colors, under which she wore a kirtle very thickly plaited, the tresses of her yellow hair hanging to the skirts of her dress. About her neck she wore a chain of gold, and bore a light spear in her hand, being of person tall, and of a comely, cheerful, and modest countenance; and so awhile she stood, pausing to survey her army, and being regarded with reverential silence, she addressed to them an impassioned and eloquent speech on the wrongs of her country." The overthrow and death of this heroic princess took place in the year 60.

There is every reason to suppose that the noble code of laws called the Common Law of England, usually attributed to Alfred, were by him derived from the laws first established by a British queen. "Martia," says Holinshed, [Holinshed's Description of England, vol. i. p. 298; 4to ed.] "surnamed Proba, or the Just, was the widow of Gutiline king of the Britons, and was left protectress of the realm during the minority of her son. Perceiving much in the conduct of her subjects which needed reformation, she devised sundry wholesome laws, which the Britons, after her death, named the Martian statutes. Alfred caused the laws of this excellently learned princess, whom all commended for her knowledge of the Greek tongue, to be established in the realm." These laws, embracing trial by jury and the just descent of property, were afterwards collated and still farther improved by Edward the Confessor, and were as pertinaciously demanded from the successors of William the Conqueror by the Anglo-Normans, as by their Anglo-Saxon subjects.

Rowena, the wily Saxon princess, who, in an evil hour for the unhappy people of the land, became the consort of Vortigern in the year 450, is the next queen whose name occurs in our early annals. Guiniver, the golden-haired queen of Arthur, and her faithless successor and namesake, have been so mixed up with the tales of the romance poets and troubadours, that it would be difficult to verify a single fact connected with either.

Among the queens of the Saxon Heptarchy we hail the nursing mothers of the Christian faith in this island, who firmly established the good work begun by the British lady Claudia, and the empress Helena. The first and most illustrious of these queens was Bertha, the daughter of Cherebert king of Paris, who had the glory of converting her pagan husband, Ethelbert, the king of Kent, to that faith of which she was so bright an ornament, and of planting the first Christian church at Canterbury. Her daughter, Ethelburga, was in like manner the means of inducing her valiant lord, Edwin king of Northumbria, to embrace the Christian faith. Eanfled, the daughter of this illustrious pair, afterwards the consort of Oswy king of Mercia, was the first individual who received the sacrament of baptism in Northumbria.

In the eighth century, the consorts of the Saxon kings were excluded, by a solemn law, from sharing in the honors of royalty, on account of the crimes of the queen Edburga, who had poisoned her husband, Brihtric king of Wessex; [Although this infamous woman escaped the vengeance of human justice by fleeing to the continent, she was reduced to such abject destitution, that Asser declares she was seen begging her bread at Pavia, where she died.—Note to Malmesbury, by Dr. Giles.] and even when Egbert consolidated the kingdoms of the Heptarchy into an empire, of which he became the Bretwalda, or sovereign, his queen Redburga was not permitted to participate in his coronation. Osburga, the first wife of Ethelwulph, and the mother of the great Alfred, was also debarred from this distinction; but when, on her death, or, as some historians say, her divorce, Ethelwulph espoused the beautiful and accomplished Judith, the sister of the emperor of the Franks, he violated this law by placing her beside him on the King's-bench, and allowing her a chair of state, and all the other distinctions to which her high birth entitled her. This afforded a pretence to his ungallant subjects for a general revolt, headed by his eldest son Ethelbald, by whom he was deprived of half his dominions. Yet Ethelbald, on his father's death, was so captivated by the charms of the fair cause of his parricidal rebellion, that he outraged all Christian decency by marrying her.

The beautiful and unfortunate Elgiva, the consort of Edwy, has afforded a favorite theme for poetry and romance; but the partisans of her great enemy, Dunstan, have so mystified her history, that it would be no easy matter to give an authentic account of her life. Elfrida, the fair and false queen of Edgar, has acquired an infamous celebrity for her remorseless hardness of heart. She did not possess the talents necessary to the accomplishment of her design of seizing the reins of government after she had assassinated her unfortunate stepson at Corfe castle, for in this she was entirely circumvented by the political genius of Dunstan, the master-spirit of the age.

Emma of Normandy, the beautiful queen of Ethelred, and afterwards of Canute, plays a conspicuous part in the Saxon annals. There is a Latin treatise, written in her praise by a contemporary historian, entitled, "Encomium Emmae;" but, notwithstanding the florid commendations there bestowed upon her, the character of this queen must be considered a doubtful one. The manner in which she sacrificed the interests of her children by her first husband, Ethelred, to those by her second unnatural marriage with the Danish conqueror, is little to her credit, and was certainly never forgiven by her son, Edward the Confessor; though that monarch, after he had witnessed the triumphant manner in which she cleared herself of the charges brought against her by her foes, by passing through the ordeal of walking barefoot, unscathed, over the nine red-hot ploughshares in Winchester cathedral, threw himself at her feet in a transport of filial penitence, implored her pardon with tears, and submitted to the discipline at the high altar, as a penance for having exposed her to such a test of her innocence. [Milner's Winchester.]

Editha, the consort of Edward the Confessor, was not only an amiable, but a learned lady. The Saxon historian, Ingulphus, himself a scholar at Westminster monastery, close by Editha's palace, affirms that the queen used frequently to intercept him and his school-fellows in her walks, and ask them questions on their progress in Latin, or, in the words of his translator, "moot points of grammar with them, in which she oftentimes posed them." Sometimes she gave them a piece of silver or two out of her own purse, and sent them to the palace buttery to breakfast. She was skilful in the works of the needle, and with her own hands she embroidered the garments of her royal husband, Edward the Confessor. But well as the acquirements and tastes of Editha qualified her to be the companion of that learned prince, he never treated her with the affection of a husband, or ceased to remember that her father had supported the Danish usurpation, and imbrued his hands in the blood of the royal line. The last Anglo-Saxon queen, Edith, or Alfgith, surnamed the Fair, the faithful consort of the unfortunate Harold, was the sister of the earls Morcar and Edwin, so celebrated in the Saxon annals, and the widow of Griffin, prince of North Wales. The researches of sir Henry Ellis, and other antiquaries of the present day, lead to the conclusion that the touching instance of woman's tender and devoted love,—the verification of Harold's mangled body among the slain at Hastings, generally attributed to his paramour, belongs rather to queen Edith, his disconsolate widow.

Such is the brief summary of our early British and Anglo-Saxon queens. A far more important position on the progressive tableau of history is occupied by the royal ladies who form the series of our mediaeval queens, commencing with Matilda of Flanders, the wife of William the Conqueror, the mother of a mighty line of kings, whose august representative, our liege lady queen Victoria, at present wears the crown of this realm. The spirit of chivalry, born in the poetic South, was not understood by the matter-of-fact Saxons, who regarded women as a very subordinate link of the social chain. The Normans, having attained to a higher grade of civilization, brought with them the refined notion, inculcated by the troubadours and minstrels of France and Italy, that the softer sex was entitled, not only to the protection and tenderness, but to the homage and service of all true knights. The revolution in popular opinion effected by this generous sentiment elevated the character of woman, and rendered the consort of an Anglo-Norman or Plantagenet king a personage of scarcely less importance than her lord.

"There is something," observes an eloquent contemporary, "very peculiar in the view which we obtain of history in tracing the lives of queens-consort. The great world is never entirely shut out: the chariot of state is always to be seen,—the sound of its wheels is ever in our ears. We observe that the thoughts, the feelings, the actions of her whose course we arc tracing are at no time entirely disconnected with him by whose hand the reins are guided, and we not unfrequently detect the impulse of her finger by the direction in which it moves." Whether beloved or not, the influence on society of the wife and companion of the sovereign must always be considerable; and for the honor of womankind be it remembered, that it has, generally speaking, been exerted for worthy purposes. Our queens have been instruments, in the hands of God, for the advancement of civilization, and the exercise of moral and religious influence; many of them have been brought from foreign climes to plant the flowers and refinements of a more polished state of society in our own, and well have they, for the most part, performed their mission.

Boadicea haranguing the Britons.

William the Conqueror brought the sword and the feudal tenure. He burned villages, and turned populous districts into his hunting-grounds. His consort, Matilda, introduced her Flemish artisans, to teach the useful and profitable manufactures of her native land to a starving population: she brought her architects, and set them to build the stately fanes, which gave employment to another class of her subjects, and encouraged the fine arts,—sculpture, painting, and needle-work. Above all, she bestowed especial regard and honors on the poets and chroniclers of her era.

The consort of Henry I., Matilda of Scotland, familiarly designated by her subjects "Maude, the gode quene," not only excelled in personal works of piety and charity, and in refining the morals and manners of the licentious Norman court, but exerted her influence with her royal husband to obtain the precious boon of a charter for the people, which secured to them the privilege of being governed by the righteous laws of Edward the Confessor. Her graceful successor, Adelicia of Louvaine, was, like herself, a patroness of poetry and history, and did much to improve the spirit of the age by affording a bright example of purity of conduct.

Our third Matilda, the consort of Stephen, was the founder of churches and hospitals, and the friend of the poor. It is certain that her virtues, talents, and conjugal heroism did more to preserve the crown to her husband than the swords of the warlike barons who espoused his cause. Eleanora of Aquitaine, though defective in her moral conduct, was a useful queen in her statistic and commercial regulations.

Berengaria, the crusading queen, of whom so much has been said and so little known, before the publication of her biography in the first edition of this work, was only influential through her mild virtues, her learning, and her piety; but she never held her state in England, which, during the greater portion of her warlike husband's reign, was suffering from the evils of absenteeism.

Isabella of Angouleme, the consort of John, was one of the few queens who have left no honorable memorials, either on the page of history or the statistics of this country. Neither can anything be said in praise of Eleanor of Provence, the consort of Henry III., whose selfishness, avarice, and reckless extravagance offended all ranks of the people, especially the citizens of London, and precipitated the realm into the horrors of civil war.

The moral beauty of the character of Eleanor of Castile, the consort of Edward I., her wisdom, prudence, and feminine virtues, did much to correct the evils which the follies of her predecessors had caused, and restored the queenly office to its proper estimation. Her amiable successor, Marguerite of France, has left no other records than those of compassion and kindliness of heart.

For the honor of female royalty be it noticed, that Isabella of France is the only instance of a queen of England acting in open and shameless violation of the duties of her high vocation, allying herself with traitors and foreign agitators against her king and husband, and staining her name with the combined crimes of treason, adultery, murder, and regicide. It would, indeed, be difficult to parallel, in the history of any other country, so many beautiful examples of conjugal devotedness as are to be found in the annals of the queens of England. Much of the statistic prosperity of England during the long, glorious reign of Edward III. may with justice be attributed to the admirable qualities and popular government of queen Philippa, who had the wisdom to establish, and the good taste to encourage, home manufactures, and never failed to exert her influence in a good cause.

Under the auspices and protection of the blameless Anne of Bohemia, the first queen of Richard II., we hail the first dawn of the principles of the Reformation. The seeds that were then sown under her gentle influence, though apparently crushed in the succeeding reigns, took deeper root than shallow observers suspected, and were destined to spring up in the sixteenth century, and to produce fruits that should extend to the ends of the earth, when, in the fulness of time, the gospel should be preached by English missionaries to nations, of whose existence neither Wickliffe nor his royal patroness, queen Anne of England, in the fourteenth century, were aware. Isabella of Valois, the virgin widow of Richard II., whose eventful history has been for the first time recorded in this work, had no scope for queenly influence in this country, being recalled at so tender an age to her own.

Rapin has been betrayed by his vindictive hatred of his own country to assert, that every king of England who married a French princess was unfortunate, and came to an untimely end; but how far this assertion is borne out by facts, let the triumphant career of Henry V., the husband of Katherine of Valois, daughter of Charles VI. of France, answer. The calamitous fate of Henry VI. resulted, not from his marriage with Margaret of Anjou, but was brought about by a concatenation of circumstances, which inevitably prepared the way for the miseries of his reign long before that unfortunate princess was born. The fatal deviation from the regular line of the regal succession in the elevation of Henry IV. to the throne, insured a civil war as soon as the representative of the elder line should see a favorable opportunity for asserting his claims. The French wars, by exhausting the resources of the crown, compelled the ministers of Henry VI. to resort to excessive taxation, and the yet more unpopular expedient of debasing the silver coinage; and thus the affections of the people were alienated. The military talents of the duke of York, his wealth, and family alliance with the most powerful and popular nobleman in England,—the earl of Warwick,—must necessarily have turned the scale against the impoverished sovereign, even if he had been better fitted by nature and education to maintain a contest. The energies of Henry's queen, in truth, supported his cause long after any other person would have regarded it as hopeless. Her courage and firmness delayed a catastrophe which nothing could avert.

It is a curious study to trace the effect of the political changes of those unquiet times on the consorts of Henry VI., Edward IV., and Richard III. Three women more essentially opposite in their characteristics and conduct than the three contemporary, but not hostile, queens of the rival roses,—Margaret of Anjou, Elizabeth Woodville, and Anne Neville,—it would be difficult to find. The first, of royal birth and foreign education, schooled in adversity from her cradle, lion-like and indomitable under every vicissitude; the second, the daughter of one English knight and the widow of another, fair, insinuating, full of self-love and world-craft, inflated by sudden elevation, yet vacillating and submitting to become the tool of her enemies in her reverse of fortune; the third, the type of the timid dove, who is transferred without a struggle from the talons of the stricken eagle who had first seized her, to the grasp of the wily kite. How strangely were the destinies of these three unfortunate queens allied in calamity by the political changes of an era, which is thus briefly defined by the masterly pen of Guizot:—

"The history of England in the fifteenth century consists of two great epochs,—the French wars without, those of the roses within,—the wars abroad and the wars at home. Scarcely was the foreign war terminated when the civil war commenced; long and fatally was it continued while the houses of York and Lancaster contested the throne. When those sanguinary disputes were ended, the high English aristocracy found themselves ruined, decimated, and deprived of the power they had formerly exercised. The associated barons could no longer control the throne when it was ascended by the Tudors; and with Henry VII., in 1485, the era of centralization and the triumph of royalty commenced." The sovereign and the great body of the people from that time made common cause to prevent the re-establishment of an oligarchy, which had been found equally inimical to the rights of the commons and the dignity of the crown.

Having thus briefly traced the history and influence of the queens of England from the establishment of the feudal system to its close, commencing with the first Anglo-Norman queen, Matilda the wife of William the Conqueror, and concluding with Anne of Warwick, the last Plantagenet queen, herself the sad representative of the mightiest of all though aristocratic dictators of the fifteenth century,—the earl of

Warwick, surnamed the 'king-maker,'—we proceed to consider those of the new epoch.

Elizabeth of York, the consort of Henry VII., is the connecting link between the royal houses of Plantagenet and Tudor. According to the legitimate order of succession she was the rightful sovereign of the realm, and though she condescended to accept the crown-matrimonial, she might have contested the regal garland. She chose the nobler distinction of giving peace to her bleeding country by tacitly investing her victorious champion with her rights, and blending the rival roses of York and Lancaster in her bridal-wreath. It was thus that Henry VII., unimpeded by conjugal rivalry, was enabled to work out his enlightened plans, by breaking down the barriers with which the pride and power of the aristocracy had closed the avenues to preferment against the unprivileged classes. The people, tired of the evils of an oligarchy, looked to the sovereign for protection, and the first stone in the altar of civil and religious liberty was planted on the ruins of feudality. The effects of the new system were so rapid, that in the succeeding reign we behold, to use the forcible language of a popular French writer, "two of Henry the Eighth's most powerful ministers of state, Wolsey and Cromwell, emanating, the one from the butcher's shambles, the other from the blacksmith's forge." Extremes, however, are dangerous, and the despotism which these and other of Henry's parvenu statesmen contrived to establish was, while it lasted, more cruel and oppressive than the tyranny and exclusiveness of the feudal magnates; but it had only an ephemeral existence. The art of printing had become general, and the spirit of freedom was progressing on the wings of knowledge through the land. The emancipation of England from the papal domination followed so immediately, that it appears futile to attribute that mighty change to any other cause. The stormy passions of Henry VIII., the charms and genius of Anne Boleyn, the virtues and eloquence of Katharine Parr, all had, to a certain degree, an effect in hastening the crisis; but the Reformation was cradled in the printing-press, and established by no other instrument.

In detailing the successive historic tragedies of the queens of Henry VIII., we enter upon perilous ground. The lapse of three centuries has done so little to calm the excited feelings caused by the theological disputes with which their names are blended, that it is scarcely possible to state facts impartially without displeasing those readers, whose opinions have been biassed by party writers on one side or the other. Henry VIII. was married six times, and divorced thrice: he beheaded two of his wives, and left two surviving widows,—Anne of Cleves and Katharine Parr. As long as the virtuous influence of his first consort, Katharine of Arragon, lasted, he was a good king, and, if not a good man, the evil passions which rendered the history of the latter years of his life one continuous chronology of crime, were kept within bounds. Four of his queens claimed no higher rank than the daughters of knights: of these, Anne Boleyn and Katharine Howard were cousins-german; both were married by Henry during the life of a previously wedded consort of royal birth, and were alike doomed by the remorseless tyrant to perish on a scaffold as soon as the ephemeral passion which led to their fatal elevation to a throne had subsided. We know of no tragedy so full of circumstances of painful interest as the lives of those unhappy ladies. It ought never to be forgotten, that it was to the wisdom and moral courage of his last queen, the learned and amiable Katharine Parr, that England is indebted for the preservation of her universities from the general plunder of ecclesiastical property.

The daughters of Henry VIII., Mary and Elizabeth, occupy more important places than any other ladies in this series of royal biographies. They were not only queens but sovereigns, girded with the sword of state and invested with the spurs of knighthood at their respective inaugurations, in token that they represented their male predecessors in the regal office, not merely as legislators, but, if necessary, as military leaders. Mary virtually abdicated her high office when she became, in evil hour both for herself and her subjects, the consort, and finally the miserable state-tool and victim, of the despotic bigot, Philip the Second of Spain.

Purely English in her descent, both on the father's and mother's side for many generations, Elizabeth, notwithstanding the regal blood of the Plantagenets, which she derived from her royal grandmother, Elizabeth of York, was, literally speaking, a daughter of the people, acquainted intimately with the manners, customs, and even the prejudices of those over whom she reigned. This nationality, which never could be acquired by the foreign consorts of the Stuart kings, endeared her to her subjects as the last of a line of native sovereigns, while her great regal talents rendered her reign prosperous at home and glorious abroad, and caused the sway of female monarchs to be regarded as auspicious for the time to come.

The life of every queen of England whose name has been involved with the conflicting parties and passions excited by revolutions or differences of religious opinions, has always been a task of extreme difficulty. More peculiarly so with regard to the consorts of Charles I., Charles II., and James II., since, for upwards of a century after the revolution of 1688, it was considered a test of loyalty to the reigning family and attachment to the church of England to revile the sovereigns of the house of Stuart, root and branch, and to consign them, their wives and children, their friends and servants, and every one who would not unite in desecrating their tombs, to the reprobation of all posterity. Every one who attempted to write history at that period was, to use the metaphor of the witty author of Eothen, "subjected to the immutable law, which compels a man with a pen in his hand to be uttering now and then some sentiment not his own, as though, like a French peasant under the old regime, he were bound to perform a certain amount of work on the public highways." Happily the necessity, if it ever existed, of warping the web of truth to fit the exigencies of a political crisis, exists no longer. The title of the present illustrious occupant of the throne of Great Britain to the crown she wears is founded on the soundest principles, both of constitutional freedom of choice in the people, and legitimate descent from the ancient monarchs of the realm. The tombs of the last princes of the male line of the royal house of Stuart were erected at the expense of their august kinsman George IV. That generous prince set a noble example of liberal feeling in the sympathy which he was the first to accord to that unfortunate family. He did more; he checked the hackneyed system of basing modern history on the abuse of James II. and his consort, by authorizing the publication of a portion of the Stuart papers, and employing his librarian and historiographer to arrange the life of that prince from his journals and correspondence.

The consort of James II., Mary Beatrice of Modena, played an important rather than a conspicuous part in the historic drama of the stirring times in which her lot was cast. The tender age at which she was reluctantly torn from a convent to become the wife of a prince whose years nearly trebled her own, and the feminine tone of her mind, deterred her from interfering in affairs of state during the sixteen years of her residence in England. The ascetic habits and premature superannuation of her unfortunate consort compelled her, for the sake of her son, to emerge at length from the sanctuary of the domestic altar to enter upon the stormy arena of public life, when she became, and continued for many years after, the rallying point of the Jacobites. All the plots and secret correspondence of that party were carried on under her auspices. There are epochs in her life when she comes before us in her beauty, her misfortunes, her conjugal tenderness, and passionate maternity, like one of the distressed queens of Greek tragedy struggling against the decrees of adverse destiny. The slight mention of her that appears on the surface of English history has been penned by chroniclers of a different spirit from "Griffith,"—men whose hearts were either hardened by strong political and polemic animosities, or who, as a matter of business or expediency, did their utmost to defame her, because she was the wife of James II. and the mother of his unfortunate son. The bitterest of her unprovoked enemies, Burnet, was reduced to the paltry expedients of vituperation and calumny in the attacks he constantly makes on her. The first, like swearing, is only an imbecile abuse of words, and the last vanishes before the slightest examination. History is happily written on different principles in the present age. "We have now," says Guizot, "to control our assertions by the facts;" in plain English, to say nothing either in the way of praise or censure which cannot be substantiated by sound evidence.

It was the personal influence of Mary Beatrice with Louis XIV., the dauphin, and the duke of Burgundy, that led to the infraction of the peace of Eyswick by the courts of France and Spain, through their recognition of her son's claims to an empty title: to please her, Louis XIV. allowed the dependent on his bounty to be proclaimed at the gates of one of his own royal palaces as James III., king not only of Great Britain and Ireland, but even of France, and to quarter the fleur-de-lis unmolested. The situation of the royal widow and her son, when abandoned by their protector Louis XIV. at the peace of Utrecht, closely resembles that of Constance of Bretagne and her son Arthur after the recognition of the title of king John by their allies; but Mary Beatrice exhibits none of the fierce maternity attributed by Shakspeare to the mother of the rejected claimant of the English throne: her feelings were subdued by a long acquaintance with adversity and the fever of disappointed hope.

Our Dutch king, William III., is supposed to have intimated his contempt for the fair sex in general, and his jealousy of his illustrious consort's superior title in particular, when it was proposed to confer the sovereignty of Great Britain on her, by his coarse declaration that "he would not hold the crown by apron-strings." But the fact was, that Mary, though two degrees nearer in blood to the regal succession, had no more right to the crown than himself as the law then stood; and if the order of legitimacy were to be violated by setting aside the male heir, William saw no reason why it should be done in Mary's favor rather than his own. The conventional assembly adjusted this delicate point by deciding that the prince and princess of Orange should reign as joint sovereigns, to which William outwardly consented; yet the household-books furnish abundant proofs that, as far as he durst, he deprived his queen of the dignity which the will of the people had conferred upon her. The warrants were for a considerable time issued in his name singly, and dated in the first or second years of his, instead of their majesties' reign. It is also observable, that he never allowed her to participate with himself in the ceremonial of opening or proroguing parliament, on which occasions he occupied the throne solus, and arrogated exclusively to himself the regal office of sceptering or rejecting bills, which ought to have been submitted to her at the same time.

Mary, though naturally ambitious and fond of pageantry, endured these ungallant curtailments of her royal prerogatives and personal dignity with a submission which her foreign spouse could never have ventured to exact from her if she had succeeded to the Britannic empire on the demise of the crown. In that case, William of Orange would have been indebted to her favor for the empty title of king, and such ceremonial honors and dignity as it might have pleased her to confer on him. Circumstances were, however, widely different. William's Dutch troops had rudely expelled Mary's royal father from his palace, forced him to vacate his regal office by driving him from the seat of government, and causing him to flee for refuge to a foreign land. William remaining thus undisputed master of the metropolis and exchequer, considered that Mary was indebted to him, not he to her, for a crown and although the suffrages of the people invested her with the dignity of queen-regnant, she was, in all things, as subservient to his authority as if she had been merely a queen-consort. The conjugal apron-strings were, nevertheless, William's strongest hold on the crown of England. Nothing but Mary's popular and able government at home could have enabled him to overcome the difficulties of his position during the revolt of Ireland and the insurrection in Scotland.

The mild sway of Anne, her tenderness of the lives of her subjects, her munificent charities to the poor, her royal bounties to that meritorious portion of the church, the indigent working clergy, caused her to be regarded, while living, with loyal affection by the great body of her subjects, and endeared her memory to succeeding generations. Anne is the last queen of Great Britain of whom a personal history can be written, till Time, the great mother of truth, shall raise the curtain of a recent but doubtful past, and by the publication of letters and domestic state-papers now inaccessible, enable those who may undertake the biographies of the queens of the reigning family to perform their task with fidelity.

Matilda of Flanders

Queen of William the Conqueror


Title of Queen—Regina—Matilda first so called—Her descent from Alfred—Parents—Education—Learning—Beauty—Character—Skill in Embroidery—Sought in marriage by William of Normandy—His passionate love—Unsuccessful courtship—Brihtric Meaw, the English envoy—Matilda's love for him—Perseverance of William of Normandy—Furious conduct of William to Matilda—Their marriage—Rich apparel—William's early life—William and Matilda excommunicated—Dispensation—Matilda's taste for architecture—Matilda's sister married to Tostig—Birth of Matilda's eldest son—Harold's visit—Betrothed to Matilda's daughter—William's invasion of England—Letter to Matilda's brother—Matilda appointed regent of Normandy—Her son Robert—Happy arrival of Matilda in the Mora—Ship presented by her—William sails in it to England—Matilda's delineations—Battle of Hastings—News of victory brought to Matilda—Our Lady of Good Tidings.

MATILDA, the wife of William the Conqueror, was the first consort of a king of England who was called regina. [Asser, in his life of Alfred, whose contemporary and friend he was, and must therefore be regarded as a very important authority, expressly states the Anglo-Saxons did not "suffer the queen to sit near the king, nor to be called regina, but merely the king's wife:" that is, quen, or companion. It ought to be noted, that the Saxon historians writing in Latin, use, in both instances, the Latin word Regina, to signify queen, being ashamed of introducing a barbarous word into the Latin text; but the meaning is evident.] This was an innovation in the ancient customs of the land, for the Saxons simply styled the wife of the king 'the lady his companion,' [Hlafdige se cwene is the Saxon phrase. Hlafdige, or lady, means the 'giver of bread;' cwene, or quen, was anciently used as a term of equality, indiscriminately applied to both sexes. In the old Norman chronicles and poems, instead of the duke of Normandy and his peers, the phrase used is the duke of Normandy and his quens. "The word 'quen,' signifying companion," says Rapin, vol. i. p. 148, "was common both to men and women." So late as the thirteenth century a collection of poems, written by Charles of Anjou and his courtiers, is quoted as the Songs of the Quens of Anjou. Also in a chant of the twelfth century, enumerating the war-cries of the French provinces, we find

And the quens of Thibaut
"Champagne and passavant!' cry.]

and to them it was displeasing to hear the Normans speak of Matilda as la Royne, as if she were a female sovereign, reigning in her own right;—so distinct in those days was the meaning attached in this country to the lofty title of reine, or Regina, from that of queen, which, though at present the highest female title of honor used in England, then only signified companion. The people of the land murmured among themselves at this unprecedented assumption of dignity in the wife of their Norman sovereign; yet 'the strange woman,' as they called Matilda, could boast of royal Saxon blood. She was, in fact, the direct descendant of the best and noblest of their monarchs, Alfred, through the marriage of his daughter Elstrith with Baldwin II. of Flanders, whose son, Arnold the Great, was the immediate ancestor of Matilda,—an interesting circumstance, which history passes over in silence. [See Matilda's pedigree in Ducarel's Norman Antiquities. She was also descended from Judith, daughter of the emperor of the Franks, who after the death of Ethelwolf married the earl of Flanders. One of the annotators on William of Malmesbury asserts, that Judith, the widow of Ethelwolf, was the mother of Matilda the wife of the Conqueror; but if so, Matilda must have been 150 years old at the time of her marriage.] Few of the queens of England, indeed, can claim a more illustrious descent than this princess. Her father, Baldwin V., surnamed the Gentle, earl of Flanders, was the son of Baldwin IV. by Eleanora, daughter of duke Richard II. of Normandy; and her mother was Adelais, daughter of Robert king of France, and sister to Henry, the reigning sovereign of that country. She was nearly related to the emperor of Germany, and to most of the royal families in Europe. "If any one," says William of Poitou, "inquires who was Matilda's mother, he will learn that she was the daughter of Robert king of Gaul, the son and the nephew of kings from royal kings descended."

Matilda was born about the year 1031, and was very carefully educated. She was possessed of fine natural talents, and was no less celebrated for her learning than for her great beauty. William of Malmesbury, when speaking of this princess, says, "She was a singular mirror of prudence in our days, and the perfection of virtue." Among her other acquirements, Matilda was particularly famed for her skill in ornamental needlework, which, in that age, was considered one of the most important and desirable accomplishments which princesses and ladies of high rank could possess. We are told by a worthy chronicler, [Malmesbury, vol. i. book ii. p. 26.] "that the proficiency of the four sisters of king Athelstane in spinning, weaving, and embroidery, procured those royal spinsters the addresses of the greatest princes in Europe." The fame of this excellent stitchery is, however, all the memorial that remains of the industry of Matilda's Saxon cousins; but her own great work, the Bayeux tapestry, is still in existence, and is, beyond all competition, the most wonderful achievement, in the gentle craft of needlework, that ever was executed by fair and royal hands. But of this we shall have to speak more fully, in its proper place, as a pictorial chronicle of the conquest of England.

The earl of Flanders, Matilda's father, was a rich, powerful, and politic prince, equally skilled in the arts of war and of peace. It was to him that the town of Lille, which he rebuilt and greatly beautified, owed its subsequent greatness; and the home manufactures of his native country, through his judicious encouragement, became a source of wealth and prosperity to Flanders. His family connection with the king of France, his suzerain and ally, and his intimate relationship to most of the royal houses in Europe, rendered his alliance very desirable to several of the reigning princes, his neighbors, who became suitors for the hand of his daughter. Matilda had, however, bestowed her first affections on a young Saxon nobleman named Brihtric, and surnamed, from the fairness of his complexion, "Meaw," or "Snaw," who had visited her father's court on a mission from Edward the Confessor. Brihtric Meaw was the son of Algar, lord of the honor of Gloucester, and was possessed of so fair a heritage in that fruitful part of England, that he would not have been esteemed an unsuitable consort for the Flemish princess if their love had been reciprocal, but, for some reason, he was insensible to her regard. [Chronicle of Tewkesbury. Cotton MSS. Cleopatra, c. 111, 220. Leland's Collectanea, vol. i. p. 78. Monasticon, 111, 59. Palgrave's Rise and Progress, vol. i. p. 294. Thierry's Anglo-Normans, vol. i. p. 335.] The dark sequel of this tale, which will be related in its proper place, is one of those strange facts which occasionally tinge the page of history with the colors of romance.

Whilst Matilda was wasting her morning bloom of life in unrequited love for the youthful envoy, whose affection was probably already pledged to one of his fair countrywomen, the report of her charms and noble qualities attracted the attention of the most accomplished sovereign in Christendom. "Duke William of Normandy," says William of Jumieges, "having learned that Baldwin earl of Flanders had a daughter named Matilda, very beautiful in person and of a generous disposition, sent deputies, by the advice of his peers, to ask her of her father in marriage, who gladly consented, and gave her a large portion." Wace, also, tells us "that Matilda was very fair and graceful, and that her father gave her joyfully to duke William, with large store of wealth and very rich appareilement." Seven long years, however, of stormy debate intervened before the courtship of William of Normandy was brought to this happy conclusion. Contemporary chroniclers, indeed, afford us reason to suspect, that the subsequent conquest of England proved a less difficult achievement to the valiant duke than the wooing and winning of Matilda of Flanders. He had to contend against the opposition of the courts of France and Burgundy, the intrigues of his rival kinsmen of the race of Rollo, the objections of the church, and, worse than all, the reluctance and disdain of the lady. The chronicler Ingerius declares, "that William was so infuriated by the scorn with which Matilda treated him, that he waylaid her in the streets of Bruges, as she was returning with her ladies from mass, beat her, rolled her in the mud, spoiled her rich array, and then rode off at full speed." This Teutonic mode of courtship, according to the above authority, brought the matter to a favorable crisis; for Matilda, being convinced of the strength of William's passion by the violence of his behavior, or afraid of encountering a second beating, consented to become his wife. [Chronicle of Inger, likewise called Ingerius. The anecdote has been translated by J. P. Andrews.]

A different version of this strange episode in a royal wooing is given by Baudoin d'Avesnes, who shows that the provocation which duke William had received from his fair cousin was not merely a rejection of his matrimonial overtures, but an insulting allusion to the defect in his birth. According to this writer, the earl of Flanders received the Norman envoys who came to treat for a marriage between their duke and Matilda very courteously, and expressed great satisfaction at the proposed alliance; but when he spoke of it to the damsel his daughter, she replied, with infinite disdain, that "she would not have a bastard for her husband."

The earl softened the coarse terms in which Matilda had signified her rejection of duke William, and excused her as well as he could to the Norman deputies. Her passion for Brihtric Meaw had, probably, more to do with her rude refusal of William than the defect in his birth on which she grounded her objection. It was not long, however, before William was informed of what Matilda had really said. He was peculiarly sensitive on the painful subject of his illegitimacy, and no one had ever taunted him with it unpunished. Neither the high rank nor the soft sex of the fair offender availed to protect her from his vengeance. In a transport of fury he mounted his horse, and, attended by only a few of his people, rode privately to Lille, where the court of Flanders then was. He alighted at the palace gates, entered the hall of presence alone, passed boldly through it, strode unquestioned through the state apartments of the earl of Flanders, and burst into the countess's chamber, where he found the damsel her daughter, whom he seized by her long tresses, and as she, of course, struggled to escape from his ruffian grasp, dragged her by them about the chamber, struck her repeatedly, and flung her on the ground at his feet. After the perpetration of these outrages, he made his way back to the spot where his squire held his horse in readiness, sprang to the saddle, and setting spurs to the good steed, distanced all pursuit. Although the Norman, French, and Flemish chroniclers differ as to the place where William the Conqueror perpetrated this rude personal assault on his fair cousin, and relate the manner of it with some few variations, they all agree as to the fact that he felled her to the ground by the violence of his blows. This incident is quoted by one of the most learned of historians, Michelet, in his History of France, and authenticated by the author of L'Art de Verifier les Dates, from a curious contemporary MS. Vatout also records the circumstance in his History of the Chateau d'Eu; and refers the antiquary for further particulars to an ancient MS. chronicle in the Ecclesiastical library at St. Germains-au-Pres, Paris.

When earl Baldwin heard of the unprecedented affront that had been offered to his daughter, he was highly incensed, made a hostile attack on duke William's territories to avenge it, did a great deal of damage, and suffered not a little in return, for William was never slack at retaliation. After a long series of aggressive warfare in this unprofitable quarrel, they found it expedient to enter into pacific negotiation, by the advice of all their wise and prudent counsellors. A meeting took place between the belligerent parties for the ratification of the treaty, when, to the surprise of every one, duke William renewed his suit for Matilda's hand; and, to the still greater astonishment of all her friends, when the proposal was named to the said damsel, she replied, that "it pleased her well." [Baudoin d'Avesnes.] Her father, who had not anticipated so favorable an answer, was much delighted at forming a bond of strong family alliance with his formidable neighbor, lost no time in concluding the matrimonial treaty, and gave his daughter, as before said, a large portion in lands and money, with abundance of jewels and rich array. [Ibid. Vatout's History of Eu.] The castle of Augi—no other, gentle reader, than the chateau d'Eu, so much celebrated in our own times as the family residence of Louis Philippe of Orleans, late king of the French, and his queen—was the place appointed for the solemnization of the marriage of Matilda of Flanders and William of Normandy. This castle was conveniently situated for the purpose, being at the extreme frontier of William's territories. He had recently taken it, after a fierce siege, from a party of his rebellious nobles, headed by Busac, the half-brother of Robert count of Eu; which Busac, being the grandson in the female line of Richard I., duke of Normandy, had set up a rival claim to the duchy in the year 1047. His claims had been supported by Henry king of France, and the disaffected portion of William's baronage. Robert count of Eu had not taken an active part in the rebellion, but had allowed his castle to be made the stronghold of Busac and his confederates. [Benoit's Chronicles of Normandy. Vatout's History of Eu.]

After the reduction of this fortress by the victorious duke in the year 1049, the count of Eu remained as a sort of state-prisoner in his own castle, which was garrisoned by duke William's soldiers. Such was the position of affairs at chateau d'Eu when the two courts of Normandy and Flanders met there, in the year 1052, for the celebration of the marriage between William and Matilda. [The chronicle of Paris places the date of Matilda's marriage in the year 1056; but all other writers of the period affirm that this event took place in the year 1050.] The duke arrived first, attended by his valiant quens, to await the advent of the haughty bride, whom he had wooed after so strange a fashion. Matilda came, accompanied by both her parents and a splendid train of nobles and ladies; and there, in the cathedral church of Notre Dame d'Eu, the spousal rites were solemnized, and the marriage blessed; in the presence of both courts.

In the midst of the rejoicings at the nuptial feast, the earl of Flanders, waxing merry, asked his daughter, laughingly, how it happened that she had so easily been brought to consent at last to a marriage, which she had so scornfully refused in the first instance. "Because," replied Matilda, pleasantly, "I did not know the duke so well then as I do now; for," continued she, "he must be a man of great courage and high daring who could venture to come and beat me in my own father's palace." [Baudoin d'Avesnes.] How the valiant duke ever ventured into her presence again, after such a manifestation of his bold spirit, we are at a loss to imagine; and that she should like him the better for his ruffianly behavior appears more unaccountable still, affording at the same time a curious instance of the rude manners of the period and of the inconsistencies of the human heart.

The lively answer of the young duchess was of course much applauded by her new lord and his vassal peers. The disgraced count of Eu, seeing his victorious suzerain in such high good humor, took the opportunity of the general rejoicings to sue for pardon; and that so successfully, that William restored his lands and castle, and, becoming thoroughly reconciled to him, from that day took him into favor, of which he never had the slightest cause to repent; for, bound to him by gratitude, Robert of Eu became thenceforth one of his most attached adherents, and greatly assisted by his valor and good counsel in the conquest of England. [Vatout's History of Chateau d'Eu.] The presence of so many illustrious personages, the splendor of the nuptial fetes, and the quantity of money which the influx of the numerous strangers who flocked to Eu to witness this remarkable marriage caused to be circulated in that town, made the inhabitants forget their sufferings during the siege.

The royal mantle, garnished with jewels, in which Matilda was arrayed on the day of her espousals, and also that worn by her mighty lord on the same occasion, together with his helmet, were long preserved in the treasury of the cathedral of Bayeux. Lancelot mentions an inventory of precious effects belonging to the church, dated 1476, in which these costly bridal garments are enumerated.

From Eu, William conducted his newly wedded duchess to Rouen, where she made her public entry as his bride, still accompanied by her parents, who were invited by William to participate in the rejoicings and festivities with which his marriage was commemorated in the capital of his dominions. The earl and countess of Flanders remained with the duke and duchess several days, to witness the pageantry and all the popular indications of satisfaction with which Matilda was received. [William of Jumieges. Chronicle of Normandy.] When all the tourneys and fetes were ended, the earl and countess of Flanders took leave of their daughter, and returned to their own country. William consoled Matilda for the loss of their society by taking her on a royal progress through Normandy, to show her the principal towns, and to make her acquainted with the manners and customs of the mighty people over whose court she was to preside. He was, of course, proud of displaying a consort of such surpassing beauty and majestic grace to his subjects. Everywhere she came she was received with demonstrations of delight and admiration. It was more than half a century since there had been a duchess of Normandy; and as bachelor sovereigns seldom conduce to the domestic happiness or prosperity of a nation, all ranks of people were prepared to welcome Matilda with joy, and to anticipate great political and social advantages from the auspicious alliance their duke had formed.

Nothing could be more perilous than the position of William's affairs at the period of his marriage with Matilda of Flanders. He was menaced on every side by powerful neighbors, who were eager to appropriate and parcel out the fertile fields of Normandy, to the enlargement of their respective borders; and at the same time a formidable party was arraying itself against him within his own dominions in favor of Guy of Burgundy, the eldest son of his aunt Alice. This prince was the nearest legitimate male descendant of duke Richard the Second of Normandy; and as the direct line had failed with duke Robert, the late sovereign, he was, notwithstanding the operation of the Salic law, considered by many to possess a better right to the dukedom than the son of duke Richard by Arlotta, the skinner's daughter of Falaise. The particulars of William's birth are too well known to require recapitulation; but it is proper to notice that there are historians who maintain that Arlotta was the wife of duke Robert, though not of rank or breeding fit to be acknowledged as his duchess. [William of Malmesbury. Ingulphus.] This we are disposed to regard as a mere paradox, since William, who would have been only too happy to avail himself of the plea of even a contract or promise of marriage between his parents, in order to strengthen his defective title by a pretence of legitimacy, never made any such assertion. On the contrary, not only before his victorious sword had purchased for him a more honorable surname, but even afterwards, he submitted to the use of the one derived from his mother's shame; and in the charter of the lands which he bestowed on his son-in-law, Alan duke of Bretagne, in Yorkshire, he subscribed himself "William, surnamed Bastardus." [Leland.] It is a general opinion that Arlotta was married to Herlewin of Conteville during the lifetime of duke Robert, and that this circumstance prevented any possibility of William attempting to assert that he was the legitimate offspring of his royal sire. [After the accession of Henry II. to the throne, a Saxon pedigree was ingeniously invented for Arlotta, which is too great a curiosity to be omitted. "Edmund Ironside," says the Saxon genealogist, "had two sons, Edwin and Edward, and an only daughter, whose name does not appear in history because of her bad conduct, seeing that she formed a most imprudent alliance with the king's skinner. The king, in his anger, banished the skinner from England, together with his daughter. They both went to Normandy, where they lived on public charity, and had successively three daughters. Having one day come to Falaise to beg at duke Richard's door, the duke, struck with the beauty of the woman and her children, asked who she was? 'I am an Englishwoman,' she said, 'and of the royal blood.' The duke, on this answer, treated her with honor, took the skinner into his service, and had one of his daughters brought up in the palace. She was Arlotte, or Charlotte, the mother of the Conqueror."—Thierry.]

William was, from the very moment of his birth, regarded as a child of the most singular promise. The manful grasp with which his baby hand detained the rushes of which he had 'taken seizin' [The feudal term for taking possession.] the moment after his entrance into life, when, in consequence of the danger of his mother, he was permitted to lie unheeded on the floor of his chamber where he first saw the light, [William of Malmesbury.] gave occasion to the oracular gossips in attendance on Arlotta to predict "that the child would become a mighty man, ready to acquire everything within his reach; and that which he acquired, he would with a strong hand steadfastly maintain against all challengers."—"When William was a year old, he was introduced into the presence of his father, duke Robert, who seeing what a goodly and fair child he was, and how closely he resembled the royal line of Normandy, embraced him, acknowledged him to be his son, and caused him to receive princely nurture in his own palace. When William was five years old, a battalion of boys, of his own age, was placed under his command, with whom he practised the military exercise according to the custom of those days. Over these infant followers William assumed the authority of a sovereign in miniature; and if dissensions arose among them, they always referred to his decision, and his judgments are said to have been remarkable for their acuteness and equity." [Henderson's Life of the Conqueror.] Thus early in life did the mighty Norman learn to enact the character of a leader and legislator. Nature had, indeed, eminently fitted him for the lofty station which he was afterwards destined to fill; and his powerful talents were strengthened and improved by an education such as few princes in that rude, unlettered age were so fortunate as to receive. At the age of eight years he was able to read and explain Caesar's Commentaries. [According to William of Malmesbury, the importance which the Conqueror placed on mental culture was great. Throughout life he was used to say, "that an illiterate king was a crowned ass."]

The beauty and early promise of this boy caused him to be regarded with peculiar interest by the Normans; but as a child of illegitimate birth, William possessed no legal claim to the succession. His title was simply founded on the appointment of the duke, his father. That prince, having no other issue, before he set out on his mysterious pilgrimage for the Holy Land, called the peers of Normandy together, in the hotel de Ville, and required them to swear fealty to the young William as his successor. When the princely boy, then a child of seven years old, was brought in to receive the homage of the assembled nobles, duke Robert took him in his arms, and, after kissing and passionately embracing him, he presented him to his valiant 'quens,' as their future sovereign, with this remark, "He is little, but he will grow." ["Il est petit, mais il croitera."—Wace.] The peers of Normandy having consented to recognize William, [Chronicle of Normandy. Malmesbury.] the duke appointed his vassal kinsman and friend, Alan duke of Bretagne, seneschal of his dominions in his absence. Then he carried his son to Paris, and delivered him into the hands of the king of France, his suzerain, or paramount lord; and having received his promise of protecting and cherishing the boy with a loving care, he made William perform the same homage to that monarch as if he were already the reigning duke of Normandy, by which he secured his sovereign's recognition of his son's title to the ducal crown. After these arrangements, duke Robert departed on that expedition, from which he never again returned to his own dominions. [It was whispered by some, that duke Robert undertook his pilgrimage to Jerusalem as an expiatory penance for the death of his elder brother and sovereign, duke Richard III., which he was suspected of having hastened; while others believed he was impelled from motives of piety alone to pay his vows at the holy grave, according to a new but prevailing spirit of misdirected devotion, which manifested itself among the princes and nobles of that age of superstition and romance. Whether duke Robert ever reached the place of his destination is uncertain. The last authentic tidings respecting him that reached his capital were brought by Pirou, a returned pilgrim from the Holy Land, who reported that he met his lord, the duke of Normandy, on his way to the holy city, borne in a litter on the shoulders of four stout Saracens, being then too ill to proceed on his journey on foot. When the royal pilgrim recognized his vassal, he exclaimed, with great animation, "Tell my valiant peers that you have seen your sovereign carried towards heaven on the backs of fiends."—William of Malmesbury. Whether this uncourteous allusion to the spiritual darkness of his pagan bearers was sufficiently intelligible to them to have the effect of provoking them into shortening his journey thither, we know not. Some chronicles, indeed, assert that he died at Nicea, in Bithynia, on his return; but there is a strange uncertainty connected with his fate, and it appears that the Norman nobles long expected his return,—an expectation that was probably most favorable to the cause of his youthful successor, whose title might otherwise have been more effectually disputed by the heirs of the sisters and aunts of duke Robert.]

At the court of his sovereign, Henry I. of France, the uncle of his future spouse, Matilda of Flanders, William completed his education, and learned the science of diplomacy, secure from all the factions and intrigues with which Normandy was convulsed. The states, true to the fealty they had sworn to the son of their deceased lord, sent ambassadors to Paris to claim their young duke. [Chronicle of Normandy.] The king of France resigned him to the deputies, but soon after invaded his dominions. Raoul de Gace and Roger de Beaumont stoutly maintained the cause of their young duke, both in the court and in the camp. They were his tutors in the art of war, and through their assistance and advice he was enabled to maintain the dignity of a sovereign and military chief, at a period of life when princes are generally occupied in childish amusements or the pleasures of the chase. [Ibid. Malmesbury. Wace.]

One by one, almost every Norman noble who could boast any portion of the blood of Rollo, the founder of the ducal line of Normandy, was incited by king Henry of France to stir up an insurrection as a rival claimant of the crown. On one occasion, William would in all probability have fallen a victim to the plot which his cousin Guy of Burgundy had laid to surprise him, when he was on a hunting excursion, and was to pass the night without any of his military retinue at the castle of Valognes; but from this peril he was preserved by the fidelity of his fool, who, happening to overhear the conspirators arranging their plan, travelled all night at full speed to give the duke notice of his danger; and finding means to make an entrance into the castle at four o'clock in the morning, he struck violently with the handle of his whip at the chamber door of his sleeping sovereign, and shouted, "Levez, levez, seigneur!" till he succeeded in rousing him. So close at hand, however, were Guy of Burgundy and his confederates, that it was only by mounting his swiftest steed, half-dressed, and riding with fiery speed for many hours, that William could effect his escape from his pursuers; and even then he must have fallen into their hands, if he had not encountered a gentleman on the road with whom he changed horses, his own being thoroughly spent. Guy of Burgundy was afterwards taken prisoner by the young duke; but having been on affectionate terms with him in his childhood, he generously forgave him all the trouble he had occasioned him, and his many attempts against his life. [Ibid. Mezerai. Wace.]

The king of France was preparing to invade Normandy again, but William's fortunate marriage with Matilda, who was a legitimate descendant of the royal line, strengthened his defective title to the throne of Normandy, and gained for him a powerful ally in the person of his father-in-law, the earl of Flanders. The death of Henry averted the storm that still lowered over Normandy; and the young Philip of France, his son and successor, having been left during his minority under the guardianship of his aunt's husband, Baldwin of Flanders, Matilda's father, William found himself entirely relieved from all present fears of hostility on the part of France. [St. Marthe. Wace.] Scarcely, however, was he preparing himself to enjoy the happiness of wedded life, when a fresh cause of annoyance arose.

Mauger, the archbishop of Rouen, an illegitimate uncle of the young duke, who had taken great pains to prevent his marriage with Matilda of Flanders, finding all the obstacles which he had raised against it were unavailing, proceeded to pronounce sentence of excommunication against the newly wedded pair, under the plea of its being a marriage within the forbidden degrees of consanguinity. [Chronicle of Normandy. Matilda was the grand-daughter of Eleanor of Normandy, William's aunt.] William indignantly appealed to the pope against this sentence, who, on the parties submitting to the usual fines, nullified the archbishop's ecclesiastical censures, and granted the dispensation for the marriage, on condition of the young duke and duchess each building and endowing an abbey at Caen, and an hospital for the blind. Lanfranc, afterwards the celebrated archbishop of Canterbury, but at that time an obscure individual, to whom William had extended his protection and patronage, was intrusted with this negotiation, which he conducted with such ability as to secure to himself the favor and confidence both of William and Matilda, by whom he was, in after years, advanced to the office of tutor to their royal offspring, and finally to the highest ecclesiastical rank and power.

William and Matilda submitted to the conditions on which the dispensation for their marriage had been granted, by founding the sister abbeys of St. Stephen and the Holy Trinity. That of St. Stephen was built and endowed by William for a fraternity of monks, of which he made Lanfranc abbot. Matilda founded and endowed that of the Holy Trinity, for nuns. It should appear that the ground on which these holy edifices were erected was not very honestly obtained, as we shall have occasion to show hereafter. [Montfaucon. Malmesbury.] William, highly exasperated at the archbishop's attempt to separate him from his bride, retaliated upon him by calling a convocation of all the bishops of Normandy, at Lisieux, before whom he caused Mauger to be accused of several crimes and misdemeanors, especially of selling consecrated chalices, and other articles of church-plate, to supply his luxury. [William of Malmesbury.] Mauger, being convicted of these mal-practices, was deposed from his office. The disgrace of the archbishop has been attributed to the resentment Matilda conceived against him on account of his impertinent attempt to invalidate her marriage; and that William, being roused by her complaints, sought out an occasion to degrade him from his see.

Tranquillity being established, William proceeded to build a royal palace within the precincts of St. Stephen's abbey, for his own residence and that of his young duchess. The great hall, or council-chamber, of this palace was one of the most magnificent apartments at that time in Europe.

Matilda, inheriting from her father, Baldwin of Lille, a taste for architecture, took great delight in the progress of these stately buildings; and her foundations are among the most splendid relics of Norman grandeur. She was a munificent patroness of the arts, and afforded great encouragement to men of learning, co-operating with her husband most actively in all his paternal plans for the advancement of trade, the extension of commerce, and the general happiness of the people committed to their charge. In this they were most successful. Normandy, so long torn with contending factions, and impoverished with foreign warfare, began to taste the blessings of repose; and, under the wise government of her energetic sovereign, soon experienced the good effects of his enlightened policy. At his own expense, William built the first pier that ever was constructed, at Cherbourg. [Henderson's Life of William the Conqueror.] He superintended the building and organization of fleets, traced out commodious harbors for his ships, and in a comparatively short time rendered Normandy a very considerable maritime power, and finally the mistress of the Channel.

The domestic happiness which William enjoyed with his beautiful duchess appears to have been very great. All historians have agreed that they were a most attached pair, and that whatever might have been the previous state of Matilda's affections they were unalterably and faithfully fixed upon him from the hour she became his wife; and with reason, for William was the most devoted of husbands, and always allowed her to take the ascendant in the matrimonial scale. The confidence he reposed in her was unbounded, and very shortly after their marriage he intrusted the reins of government to her care, when he crossed over to England to pay a visit to his friend and kinsman, Edward the Confessor. By his marriage with Matilda, William had added a nearer tie of relationship to the English sovereign; and he was, perhaps, willing to remind the childless monarch of that circumstance, and to recall to his memory the hospitality he had received, both at the Flemish and the Norman courts, during the period of his adversity. [Hidden, Polychronicon.] Edward received him very honorably, and presented him with hawks and hounds, and many other fair and goodly gifts, says Wace, "as tokens of his love." Duke William paid this visit during the exile of Godwin and his sons; it is probable that he availed himself of their absence to obtain from Edward the promise of being adopted as his successor to the English throne, and also to commence a series of political intrigues connected with that mighty project, which, fourteen years afterwards, he carried into effect.

In pursuing the broad stream of history, how few writers take the trouble of tracing the under-currents by which the tide of events is influenced! The marriage of Tostig, the son of Godwin, with Judith of Flanders, the sister of Matilda, wife of William of Normandy, was one great cause of the treacherous and unnatural conduct, on his part, which decided the fate of Harold, and transferred the crown of England to the Norman line. During the period of their exile from England, Godwin and his family sought refuge at the court of the earl of Flanders, Tostig's father-in-law, from whom they received friendly and hospitable entertainment, and were treated by the duke and duchess of Normandy with all the marks of friendship that might reasonably be expected, in consideration of the family connection to which we have alluded. [Wace. Ingulphus. Eadmer.]

Nine months after her marriage, Matilda gave birth to a son, whom William named Robert, after his father, thinking that the name of a prince whose memory was dear to Normandy, would insure the popularity of his heir. [Malmesbury. Wace.] The happiness of the royal pair was greatly increased by this event. They were at that period reckoned the handsomest and most tenderly united couple in Europe. The fine natural talents of both had been improved by a degree of mental cultivation very unusual in that age; there was a similarity in their tastes and pursuits which rendered their companionship delightful to each other in private hours, and gave to all their public acts that graceful unanimity which could not fail of producing the happiest effects on the minds of their subjects. The birth of Robert was followed in quick succession by that of Richard, William Rufus, Cecilia, Agatha, Constance, Adela, Adelaide, and Gundred. During several years of peace and national prosperity, Matilda and her husband employed themselves in superintending the education of their lovely and numerous family, several of whom, according to the report of contemporary chronicles, were children of great promise. [Malmesbury. Ordericus Vitalis.]

No very remarkable event occurs in the records of Matilda's court, till the arrival of Harold in the year 1065. Harold, having undertaken a voyage to Normandy in an open fishing-boat, was driven by stress of weather into the river Maye, in the territories of the earl of Ponthieu, by whom, with the intention of extorting a large ransom, he was seized, and immured in the dungeons of Beaurain. The duke of Normandy, however, demanded the illustrious captive, and the earl of Ponthieu, understanding that Harold's brother was husband to the duchess of Normandy's sister, thought it most prudent to resign his prey to the family connection by whom it was claimed. Harold was treated with apparent friendship by William and Matilda. They even offered to bestow one of their daughters upon him in marriage,—a young lady whose age did not exceed seven years; and to her Harold permitted himself to be affianced, though without any intention of keeping his plight.

William then confided to his reluctant guest the tale of his own adoption by Edward the Confessor, for his successor, and proceeded to extort from him a solemn oath to render him all the assistance in his power, in furtherance of his designs on the crown of England. [Wace. Malmesbury. Thierry.] Harold, on his return to England, came to an open rupture with his brother Tostig. Probably he had, during his late visit to Normandy, discovered how entirely the latter was in the interest of his Flemish wife's connections. Tostig then fled, with his wife and children, to the court of his father-in-law, the earl of Flanders, and devoted himself entirely to the cause of William of Normandy.

At this perilous crisis, when so dark a storm was slowly but surely gathering over England, a woful deterioration had taken place in the national character of the people, especially among the higher classes, who had given way to every species of luxury and licentious folly. William of Malmesbury draws the following quaint picture of their manners and proceedings at this period. "Englishmen," says he, "had then transformed themselves into the strange manners of the French, not only in their speech and behavior, but in their deeds and characters. Their fashion in dress was to go fantastically appointed, with garments shortened to the knee. Their heads shorn, and their beards shaven all but the upper lip, on which they wore long moustaches.

Their arms they loaded with massive bracelets of gold, carrying withal pictured marks upon their skins, pounced in with divers colors;" by which it is evident that the Anglo-Saxons had adopted the barbarous practice of tattooing their persons, like the rude aborigines of the island eleven centuries previous. "They were," continues our author, "accustomed to eat to repletion, and to drink to excess; while the clergy wholly addicted themselves to light and trivial literature, and could scarcely read their own breviaries." In a word, they had, according to the witness of their own chronicles, arrived at that pass of sensuality and folly which is generally supposed to provoke a national visitation in the shape of pestilence or the sword.

"The Normans of that period," says Malmesbury, "were proudly apparelled, delicate in their food, but not gluttonous; a race inured to war, which they could scarcely live without; fierce in rushing upon the foe, and, when unequal in force, ready to use stratagem or bribery to gain their ends. They live in large houses with economy; they wish to rival their superiors; they envy their equals, and plunder their inferiors, but not unfrequently intermarry with their vassals." Such were the general characteristics of the men whom William had rendered veterans in the art of war, and, both by precept and example, stimulated to habits of frugality, temperance, and self-control. A mighty sovereign and a mighty people, possessing within themselves the elements of every requisite that might insure the success of an undertaking, which, by every other nation in Europe, must have been considered as little short of madness.

When the intelligence of king Edward's death, coupled with the news of Harold's assumption of the regal dignity, reached the court of Normandy, William was struck speechless with indignation and surprise, and is said to have unconsciously tied and untied the rich cordon that fastened his cloak several times, in the first tumults of his agitation and anger he then gave vent to his wrath, in fierce animadversions on Harold's broken faith in causing himself to be crowned king of England, in defiance of the solemn oath he had sworn to him to support his claims. William, also complained, of the affront that had been offered to his daughter by the faithless Saxon, who, regardless of his contract to the little Norman princess, just before king Edward's death strengthened his interest with the English nobles by-marrying Edith or Algitha, sister to the powerful earls Morcar and Edwin, and widow to Griffith, prince of Wales. This circumstance is mentioned with great bitterness in all William's proclamations and reproachful messages to Harold, and appears to have been considered by him to the full as great a villany as the assumption of the crown of England.

William I. the Conqueror.

When William first made known to his Norman peers his positive intention of asserting, by force of arms, his claims to the crown of England, on the plea of Edward the Confessor's verbal adoption of himself as successor to that realm, there were stormy debates among them on the subject. They were then assembled in the hall of Lillebon, where they remained long in council, but chiefly employed in complaining to one another of the warlike temper of their lord. There were, however, great differences of opinion among them, and they separated themselves into several distinct groups, because many chose to speak at once, and no one could obtain the attention of the whole assembly, but harangued as many hearers as could be prevailed on to listen to him. The majority were opposed to the idea of the expedition to England; they said, "they had already been grievously taxed to support the duke's foreign wars," and that "they were not only poor, but in debt;" while others were no less vehement in advocating their sovereign's project, and spoke "of the propriety of contributing ships and men, and crossing the sea with him." Some said "they would," others, "that they would not;" and at last the contention among them became so fierce, that Fitz-Osborn, of Breteuil, surnamed the Proud Spirit, stood forth and harangued the malcontent portion of the assembly in these words:—"Why should you go on wrangling with your natural lord, who seeks to gain honor? You owe him service for your fiefs, and you ought to render it with all readiness. Instead of waiting for him to entreat you, you ought to hasten to him and offer your assistance, that he may not hereafter complain that his design has failed through, your delays."—"Sir," replied they, "we fear the sea, and we are not bound to serve beyond it. But do you speak to the duke for us, for we do not seem to know our own minds, and we think you will decide better for us than we can do for ourselves." [Wace.]

Fitz-Osborn, thus empowered to act as their deputy, went to the duke at their head, and in their names made him the most unconditional proffers of their assistance and co-operation. "Behold," said Fitz-Osborn, "the loving loyalty of your lieges, my lord, and their zeal for your service. They will pass with you over sea, and double their accustomed service. He who is bound to furnish twenty knights, will bring forty; he who should serve you with thirty, will now serve you with sixty; and he who owes one hundred, will cheerfully pay two hundred. [Wace's Chronicle of Normandy.] For myself, I will, in good love to my sovereign in his need, contribute sixty well-appointed ships charged with fighting men." Here the dissentient barons interrupted him with a clamor of disapprobation, exclaiming, "That he might give as much as he pleased himself, but they had never empowered him to promise such unheard-of aids for them;" [Ibid.] and they would submit to no such exactions from their sovereign, since if they once performed double service, it would henceforth be demanded of them as a right.

"In short," continues the lively chronicler, "they raised such an uproar that no one could hear another speak,—no one could either listen to reason, or render it for himself. Then the duke, being greatly perplexed with the noise, withdrew, and sending for the barons one by one, exerted all his powers of persuasion to induce them to accede to his wishes, promising 'to reward them richly with Saxon spoils for the assistance he now required at their hands; and if they felt disposed to make good Fitz-Osborn's offer of double service at that time, he should receive it as a proof of their loyal affection, and never think of demanding it as a right on any future occasion.'" The nobles, on this conciliatory address, were pacified; and feeling that it was a much easier thing to maintain their opposition to their sovereign's wishes in the council than in the presence-chamber, began to assume a different tone, and even expressed their willingness to oblige him as far as it lay in their power.

William next invited his neighbors, the Bretons, the Angevins, and men of Boulogne, to join his banners, bribing them with promises of good pay, and a share in the spoils of merrie England. He even proposed to take the king of France into the alliance, offering, if he would assist him with the quota of money, men, and ships which he required, to own him for the suzerain or paramount lord of England, as well as Normandy, and to render him a liegeman's homage for that island as well as for his continental dominions. Philip treated the idea of William's annexing England to Normandy as an extravagant chimera, [Wace's Chronicle of Normandy.] and asked him, "Who would take care of his duchy while he was running after a kingdom?" To this sarcastic query, William replied, "That is a care that shall not need to trouble our neighbors; by the grace of God we are blessed with a prudent wife and loving subjects, who will keep our border securely during our absence." [Ibid.]

William entreated the young count Baldwin of Flanders, the brother of his duchess, to accompany him as a friendly ally; but the wily Fleming, with whom the family connection seems to have had but little weight, replied by asking William, "What share of England he intended to bestow on him by way of recompense?" [Wace.] The duke, surprised at this demand, told his brother-in-law, "That he could not satisfy him on that point till he had consulted with his barons on the subject;" but instead of naming the matter to them he took a piece of fair parchment, and having folded it in the form of a letter, he superscribed it to count Baldwin of Flanders, sealed it with the ducal seal, and wrote the following distich on the label that surrounded the scroll:—

"Beau frere, en Angleterre vous aurez
Ce qui dedans escript vous trouverez;" [Henderson. Wace.]

which is to say, "Brother-in-law, I give you such a share of England as you shall find within this letter."

He sent the letter to the young count by a shrewd-witted page, who was much in his confidence. When Baldwin had read this promising endorsement, he broke the seal, full of expectation; but finding the parchment blank, he showed it to the bearer, and asked what was the duke's meaning? "Nought is written here," replied the messenger, "and nought shalt thou receive; therefore look for nothing. The honor that the duke seeks will be for the advantage of your sister and her children, and their greatness will be the advancement of yourself, and the benefit will be felt by your country; but if you refuse your aid, then, with the blessing of God, my lord will conquer England without your help." [Wace.]

But though William ventured, by means of this sarcastic device, to reprove the selfish feelings manifested by his brother-in-law, he was fain to subscribe to the only terms on which the aid of Matilda's father could be obtained; which was, by securing to him and his successors a perpetual pension of 300 marks of silver annually, in the event of his succeeding in establishing himself as king of England. [Wil. Gemetecensis, p. 665, and Daniel's Histoire de France, vol. iii. p. 90. Baldwin earl of Flanders furnished Tostig with sixty ships.—Malmesbury.—Saxon Annals.] According to the Flemish historians, this pension was actually paid during the life of Baldwin Y. and his son Baldwin VI., but afterwards discontinued. It is certain that Matilda's family connections rendered the most important assistance to William in the conquest of England, and her countrymen were among his bravest auxiliaries. [Tradition makes the famous Robin Hood a descendant of Matilda's nephew, Gilbert de Gant, who attended the Conqueror to England.—Hist, of Sleaford by Dr. Yerborough.] The earl of Flanders was, in fact, the first person to commence hostilities against Harold, by furnishing the traitor Tostig with ships and a military force to make a descent on England. Tostig executed his mission more like a pirate brigand than an accredited leader. The brave earls Morcar and Edwin drove him into Scotland, whence he passed into Norway, where he succeeded in persuading king Harfager to invade England at one point, simultaneously with William of Normandy's attack in another quarter of the island. [Brompton. Saxon Annals.]

The minds of the people of England in general were, at this momentous crisis, laboring under a superstitious depression, occasioned by the appearance of the splendid three-tailed comet, which became visible in their horizon at the commencement of the memorable year 1066, a few days before the death of king Edward. The astrologers who foretold the approach of this comet had thought proper to announce that it was ominous of a great national calamity in an oracular Latin distich, of which the following rude couplet is a literal translation:—

"In the year one thousand and sixty-six,
Comets to England's sons an end shall fix."

"About this time," says Malmesbury, "a comet or star, denoting, as they say, a change in kingdoms, appeared trailing its extended and fiery train along the sky; wherefore a certain monk of our monastery named Elmer, bowing down with terror when the bright star first became visible to his eye, prophetically exclaimed, 'Thou art come! a matter of great lamentation to many a mother art thou come! I have seen thee long before; but now I behold thee in thy terrors, threatening destruction to this country.'" Wace, whom we may almost regard in the light of a contemporary chronicler, in still quainter language describes the appearance of this comet, and the impression it made on the unphilosophical star-gazers of the eleventh century. "This year a great star appeared in the heavens, shining for fourteen days, with three long rays streaming towards the south. Such a star as is wont to be seen when a kingdom is about to change its ruler. I have seen men who saw it,—men who were of full age at the time of its appearance, and who lived many years afterwards."

The descriptions which I have just quoted from the pen of the Norman poet and the monastic chronicler, fall far short of the marvellousness of Matilda's delineation of this comet in the Bayeux tapestry, where the royal needle has represented it of dimensions that might well have justified the alarm of the terror-stricken group of Saxon princes, priests, and ladies, who appear to be rushing out of their pigmy dwellings, and pointing to it with unequivocal signs of horror; for, independently of the fact that it looks near enough to singe all their noses, it would have whisked the world and all its sister planets out of their orbits, if it had been of a hundredth part proportionable to the magnitude there portrayed. [Bayeux tapestry.] Some allowance, however, ought to be made for the exaggeration of feminine reminiscences of an object, which we can scarcely suppose to, have been transferred to the embroidered chronicle of the conquest of England till after the triumphant termination of William of Normandy's enterprise afforded his queen-duchess so magnificent a subject for the employment of the skill and ingenuity of herself and the ladies of her court, in recording his achievements on canvas by dint of needlework. But, on the eve of this adventurous expedition, we may conclude that Matilda's time and thoughts were more importantly occupied than in the labors of the loom, or the fabrication of worsted pictures; when, in addition to all her fears and anxieties in parting with her lord, we doubt not but she had, at least, as much trouble in reconciling the Norman ladies to the absence of their husbands and lovers, [Wace.] as the duke had to prevail on these his valiant quens to accompany him on an expedition so full of peril to all parties concerned in it.

Previously to his departure to join his ships and forces assembled at the port of St. Vallery, William solemnly invested Matilda with the regency of Normandy, and entreated, "that he and his companions in arms might have the benefit of her prayers, and the prayers of her ladies, for the success of their expedition." He appointed for her council some of the wisest and most experienced men among the prelates and elder nobles of Normandy. [William of Poitou. Wace. Malmesbury.] The most celebrated of these, for courage, ability, and wisdom, was Roger de Beaumont, and by him William recommended the duchess to be advised in all matters of domestic policy. He also associated with the duchess in the regency their eldest son, Robert; and this youth, who had just completed his thirteenth year, was nominally the military chief of Normandy during the absence of his sire.

The invasion of England was by no means a popular measure with any class of William's subjects; and during the time that his armament remained wind-bound at St. Vallery, the common soldiers began to murmur in their tents. "The man must be mad," they said, "to persist in going to subjugate a foreign country, since God, who withheld the wind, opposed him; that his father, who was surnamed Robert le Diable, purposed something of the kind, and was in like manner frustrated; and that it was the fate of that family to aspire to things beyond them, and to find God their adversary." [Malmesbury. Wace.] When the duke heard of these disheartening reports, he called a council of his chiefs, at which it was agreed that the body of St. Vallery should be brought forth, to receive the offerings and vows of those who should feel disposed to implore his intercession for a favorable wind. [Ibid.] Thus artfully did he, instead of interposing the authority of a sovereign and a military leader to punish the language of sedition and mutiny among his troops, oppose superstition to superstition, to amuse the short-sighted instruments of his ambition. The bones of the patron saint of the port were accordingly brought forth, with great solemnity, and exposed in their shrine on the green turf beneath the canopy of heaven, for the double purpose of receiving the prayers of the pious and the contributions of the charitable. [Ibid.] The Norman chroniclers affirm that the shrine was half buried in the heaps of gold, silver, and precious things which were showered upon it by the crowds of votaries who came to pay their respects to the saints. Thus were the malcontents amused till the wind changed.

In the mean time William was agreeably surprised by the arrival of his duchess at the port in a splendid vessel of war, called the Mora, [Wace.] which she had caused to be built unknown to him, and adorned in the most royal style of magnificence for his acceptance. The effigy of their youngest son (William), formed of gilded bronze, some writers say of gold, was placed at the prow of this vessel, with his face turned towards' England, holding a trumpet to his lips with one hand, and bearing in the other a bow, with the arrow aimed at England. It seemed as if the wind had only delayed in order to enable Matilda to offer this gratifying and auspicious gift to her departing lord; for scarcely had the acclamations with which it was greeted by the admiring host died away, when the long-desired breeze sprang up, "and a joyful clamor," says Malmesbury, "then arising, summoned every one to the ships." The duke himself, first launching from the continent into the deep, led the way in the Mora, which by day was distinguished by a blood-red flag, [Thierry's Anglo-Normans.] and, as soon as it was dark, carried a light at the mast-head, as a beacon to guide the other ships. The first night, the royal leader so far outsailed his followers, that when morning dawned the Mora was in the mid-seas alone, without a single sail of her convoy in sight, though these were a thousand in number. Somewhat disturbed at this circumstance, William ordered the master of the Mora to go to the topmast and look out, and bring him word what he had seen.

The reply was, Nothing but sea and sky.—"Go up again," said the duke, "and look out." The man cried out, "That he saw four specks in the distance, like the sails of ships."—"Look once again," cried William: then the master exclaimed, "I see a forest of tall masts and a press of sails bearing gallantly towards us." [Ibid.]
Rough weather occurred during the voyage, but it is remarkable that, out of so numerous a fleet, only two vessels were lost. In one of these was a noted astrologer, who had taken upon himself to predict that the expedition would be entirely successful, for that Harold would resign England to the duke without a battle. William neither believed in omens nor encouraged fortune-telling, and when he heard the catastrophe of the unfortunate soothsayer who had thought proper to join himself to the armament, shrewdly observed, "Little could he have known of the fate of others, who could not foresee his own." [Wace. Henderson.]

On 28th of September, 1066, the Norman fleet made the port of Pevensey, on the coast of Sussex. Wace's chronicle of the Norman conquest affords a graphic picture of the disembarkation of the duke and his armament. The knights and archers landed first. [There is a tradition in the north of England, that the foremost man of this company to touch the land of promise was the ancestor of the Stricklands of Sizergh castle, in Westmoreland, who derive their name and arms from this circumstance. They show the sword in the ancient banqueting-room in the D'Eyncourt tower of Sizergh castle, with which it is asserted by that venerable gossip, tradition, that the redoubted chief first struck the land at Pevensey. The weapon, which appears formed for a giant's grasp, is not, however, we imagine, of earlier date than the days of Edward III., and greatly resembles the sword of state belonging to that monarch which is shown in Westminster abbey. It is more probable that it pertained to sir Thomas Strickland, who attended the victorious Edward in his French campaigns, than to the Norman founder of his lineage, who was indebted, not to his foreign comrades, but to the English spectators of the disembarkation for his Saxon surname.] After the soldiers, came the carpenters, armorers, and masons, with their tools in their hands, planes, saws, axes, and other implements slung to their sides. Last of all came the duke, who, stumbling as he leaped to shore, measured his majestic height upon the beach. Forthwith all raised a cry of distress. "An evil sign is here!" exclaimed the superstitious Normans; but the duke, who in recovering himself had filled his hands with sand, cried in a loud and cheerful voice, "See! seigneurs; by the splendor of God I have seized England with my two hands. [Wace. Ordericus Vitalis.] Without challenge no prize can be made, and that which I have grasped I will, by your good help, maintain."

On this, one of his followers ran forward, and snatching a handful of thatch from the roof of a hut, brought it to the duke, exclaiming, merrily, "Sire, come forward, and receive seizin. [Wace. Simeon Dunelm. Matthew of Westminster. This ceremony is still observed in the transfer of some copyhold estates. Formerly a turf from a field, and a piece of thatch from the roof of a tenement, were all the conveyance required to give the purchaser a legal title of possession.] I give you seizin, in token that this realm is yours." "I accept it," replied the duke, "and may God be with us!" [Wace.] They then sat clown and dined together on the beach; afterwards, they sought for a spot whereon to rear a wooden fort, which they had brought in disjointed pieces in their ships from Normandy.

Matilda has, in a curious section of the Bayeux tapestry, shown us the manner in which the trusty followers of her lord carried the disjointed frame-work of this timber fortress to the shore. The soldiers assisted the carpenters and other craftsmen in this arduous undertaking, and the duke encouraged and stimulated them in this union of labor to such good purpose, that before even-fall they had finished their building, fortified it, and supped merrily therein. Here the duke tarried four days. William had, through the agency of Matilda's brother-in-law, Tostig, arranged measures with Harfager, king of Norway, that their attacks upon England should be simultaneous; but the contrary winds which had detained his fleets so long at St. Vallery, had speeded the sails of his northern ally, so that Harfager and Tostig entered the Tyne with three hundred ships, and commenced their work of rapine and devastation a full fortnight before the arrival of the Norman armament. Harold was thus at liberty to direct his whole strength against his fraternal foe and Harfager. The intelligence that both Tostig and Harfager were defeated and slain at Stanford bridge reached William four days after his landing at Pevensey, [Saxon Annals. Malmesbury. S. Dunelm. Henry Huntingdon. Wace.] while ho lay intrenched in his wooden citadel, waiting for a communication from his confederates before he ventured to advance farther up the country. On receiving this unfavorable news, William manifested no consternation or surprise, but turning to his nobles, said, "You see the astrologer's prediction was false. We cannot win the land without a battle; and here I vow, that, if it shall please God to give me the victory, on whatever spot it shall befall, I will there build a church to be consecrated to the blessed Trinity, and to St. Martin, where perpetual prayers shall be offered for the sins of Edward the Confessor, for my own sins, the sins of Matilda my spouse, and the sins of such as have attended me in this expedition, but more particularly for the sins of such as may fall in the battle." [Wace.] This vow greatly reassured his followers, and appears to have been considered by the valiant Normans as a very comfortable arrangement. Hard work, however, it must have prepared for the priests, who had to sing and pray away the sins of all the parties specified, if we take into consideration who and what manner of people they were.

Harold, meantime, was far beyond the Humber, and in high spirits at the signal victory he had obtained at Stanford bridge, and the delusive idea that the duke of Normandy had delayed his threatened invasion till the spring, [Speed.] as the father of Matilda had deceitfully informed him. But the intelligence of the arrival of these unwelcome guests was too soon conveyed to him by a knight from the neighborhood of Pevensey, who had heard the outcry of the peasants on the coast of Sussex when they saw the great fleet arrive; and being aware of the project of the Norman duke, had posted himself behind a hill, where, unseen himself, he had watched the disembarkation of this mighty host and their proceedings on the shore till they had built up and intrenched their wooden fortress, which, being done with such inconceivable rapidity, appeared to him like the work of enchantment. Sorely troubled at what he had seen, the knight girded on his sword, and taking lance in hand, mounted his fleetest steed, and tarried not by the way, either for rest or refreshment, till he had found Harold, to whom he communicated his alarming tidings in these words: "The Normans have come. They have landed at Hastings, and built up a fort, which they have enclosed with a foss and palisades; and they will rend the land from thee and thine, unless thou defend it well." [Wace.]

In the forlorn hope of ridding himself of his formidable invader, Harold offered to purchase the departure of the Norman duke, telling him "that if silver or gold were his object, he, who had enriched himself with the spoils of the defeated king of Norway, would give him enough to satisfy both himself and his followers."—"Thanks for Harold's fair words," replied William; "but I did not bring so many ecus into this country to change them for his esterlins. [Wace. A play on words, meaning crowns and shillings; ecu meaning a shield, as well as the coin called a crown.] My purpose in coming is to claim this realm, which is mine according to the gift of king Edward, which was confirmed by Harold's oath."—"Nay, but you ask too much of us, sire," returned the messenger, by whom the pacific offer had been made; "my lord is not so pressed that he should resign his kingdom at your desire. Harold will give you nothing but what you can take from him, unless in a friendly way, as a condition for your departure, which he is willing to purchase with large store of silver and gold and fine garments; but if you accept not his offer, know that he is ready to give you battle on Saturday next, if you be in the field on that day." [Malmesbury. Matthew of Westminster. Wace.]

The duke accepted this challenge; and on the Friday evening preceding that fatal day for the Saxon cause, Harold planted his gonfanon on the very spot where Battle abbey now stands. The Normans and English being equally apprehensive of attack during the season of darkness, kept watch and ward that night, but employed their vigils in a very different manner. The English, according to the report of contemporary chroniclers, kept up their spirits with a riotous carouse, crying "Wassail!" and "Drink heal!" [Meaning, "Wish health," and "Drink health."] dancing, laughing, and gambling all night. The Normans, on the contrary, being in a devout frame of mind, made confessions of their sins, and employed the precious moments in recommending themselves to the care of God.

The battle joined on the 14th of October, Harold's birthday, on a spot about seven miles from Hastings, called Heathfield, where the town of Battle now stands. When William was arming for the encounter, in his haste and agitation he unwittingly put on his hauberk the hind part before. [Malmesbury. Wace. William of Poitou.] He quickly changed it; but perceiving, from the looks of consternation among the by-standers that his mistake had been noticed, and construed into an omen of ill, he smilingly observed, "I have seen many a man who, if such a thing had happened to him, would not have entered the battle-field; but I never believed in omens, nor have I ever put my faith in fortune-tellers or divinations of any kind, for my trust is in God. Let not this mischance discourage you, for if this change import aught, it is that the power of my dukedom shall be turned into a kingdom,—yea, a king shall I be, who have hitherto been but a duke." [Wace.] Then the duke called for the good steed which had been presented to him as a token of friendship by the king of Spain.

Matilda has done justice to this noble charger in her Bayeux tapestry. It is represented as caparisoned for the battle, and led by Gualtier Giffart, the duke's squire. There is in the same group the figure of a knight armed cap-a-pie, in the close fitting ring-armor and nasal conical helmet worn by the Norman chivalry of that era, with a gonfanon attached to his lance something after the fashion of the streamer which forms part of the paraphernalia of the modern lancer, with this difference only, that the gonfanon of the ancient knight was adorned with his device or armorial bearing, and served the purpose of a banner or general rallying point for his followers. The knightly figure in the Bayeux tapestry which I have just described is generally believed to have been designed for the veritable effigies of the redoubtable conqueror of this realm, or at any rate as correct a resemblance of him as his loving spouse Matilda could produce in cross-stitch. He is delineated in the act of extending his hand to greet his favorite steed.

"The duke," says Wace, "took the reins, put foot in stirrup, and mounted; and the good horse pawed, pranced, reared himself up, and curvetted." The viscount of Toazay, who stood by, thus expressed to those around him his admiration of the duke's fine appearance and noble horsemanship: [Ibid.] "Never," said he, "have I seen a man so fairly armed, nor one who rode so gallantly, and became his hauberk so well, or bore his lance so gracefully. There is no other such knight under heaven! A fair count he is, and a fair king he will be. Let him fight, and he will overcome; and shame be to him who shall fail him!" [Wace. Chronicle of the Dukes of Normandy.]

The Normans were drawn up in three bodies. Montgomery and Fitz-Osborn led the first, Geoffrey Martel led the second, and the duke himself headed the third, which was composed of the flower of Normandy, and kept in reserve till the proper moment for its effective advance should be ascertained by its skilful and puissant leader. Taillefer, the warrior minstrel of Normandy, rode gallantly at the head of the chivalry of his native land, singing the war-song of Rollo. [Malmesbury. Matthew of Westminster. Henry of Huntingdon. Speed Rapin. Chron. de Bello Wil. Gremet.] William had that day three horses killed under him, without losing a drop of his own blood; finding, however, that Harold had succeeded in rallying a strong body of men around him on one of the heights, with the evident intention of keeping possession of that vantage ground till the approaching night should favor the Saxons' retreat, he made his last desperate charge upon the people of the land. In this attack it is supposed that Harold was slain by a random arrow, which was shot through the left eye into his brain.

The victorious duke pitched his tent that night in the field of the dead, which, in memory of the dreadful slaughter that had dyed the earth to crimson, was ever after called by him the vale of Sanguelac. [Saxon Annals. Speed. Ordericus says it was called so long before this battle.] This fiercely contested battle cost William the lives of six thousand of his bravest followers; but Malmesbury, and other accredited historians of that time, rate the loss of the Saxons at threescore thousand men. [The following day was devoted by the Norman conquerors to the interment of their dead; and William gave leave and license to the Saxon peasants to per form the like charitable office to the remains of their unfortunate countrymen. Search was made for the body of Harold, but at first in vain. The spoilers had stripped and gashed the victims of the fight, so that it was difficult to distinguish between the mortal remains of the leader and the serf. Githa, the mother of Harold, had been herself unable to identify the body of her beloved son; but there was one whose fond eye no change in the object of her affection could deceive; this was a Saxon lady of great beauty, Edith, surnamed Swans-Hals, or the Swan-necked. She had formerly been on those terms with Harold which had rendered her only too familiar with his personal characteristics, and by her his corpse was recognized. Githa, it is said, offered to purchase it of William at the price of its weight in gold; but he yielded it without a ransom to the afflicted mother, either through a generous impulse of compassion, or with a view of conciliating the kindred of the deceased. He also cashiered a Norman soldier, who boasted of having gashed the leg of the royal Saxon after he had fallen. The mother of Harold buried her son in Waltham abbey, placing over his tomb the simple but expressive sentence, HAROLD INFELIX.—Thierry. Chronicle of Waltham. Malmesbury.]

When the duchess-regent of Normandy, Matilda, received the joyful tidings of the victory which her lord had obtained at Hastings, she was engaged in her devotions in the chapel of the Benedictine priory of Notre Dame, in the fields near the suburbs of St. Sever; and after returning her thanksgivings to the God of battles for the success of her consort's arms, she ordered that the priory should henceforth be called, in memory of that circumstance, Notre Dame de Bonnes Nouvelles. And by that name it is distinguished to this day. [Ducarel's Norman Antiquities.]

The coronation of the mighty forefather of our present line of sovereigns took place at Westminster, on Monday the 25th of December, being Christmas-day, called by our Saxon ancestors, Midwinter-day. Splendid preparations were made in the sister cities of London and Westminster for the celebration of the twofold festival of the Nativity of our Lord and the inauguration of the new sovereign. On the afternoon of Christmas-eve, William of Normandy entered the city on horseback with his victorious followers. He took up his lodgings that night at the palace in Black-friars, where Bridewell now stands. Early in the morning he went by water to London bridge, where, he landed and proceeded to a house near London stone; after reposing awhile, he set forth with a stately cavalcade gallantly mounted, and rode to Westminster amidst the shouts of a prodigious multitude, who were reconciled by the excitement of the pageant to the idea of receiving for their sovereign a man whom nature had so admirably qualified to set off the trappings of royalty. [Ingulphus. Ordericus Vitalis.] Next to his person rode the nobility of England, and those of Normandy followed.

In consequence of the dispute between Stigand, archbishop of Canterbury, and the pope, William chose to be crowned and consecrated by the hand of Aldred, archbishop of York, ["Then, on Midwinter-day, archbishop Aldred hallowed him to king at Westminster, and gave him possession with the books of Christ; and also swore him, ere that he would set the crown upon his head, that he would so well govern this nation as any king before him best did, if they would be faithful to him."—Saxon Chronicle.] to avoid the possibility of the ceremony being questioned at any future time. He took not the crown, however, as a right of conquest, but by consent of the people; for the archbishop, before he placed the royal circlet on his head, paused, and turning to the English nobles, asked them "if they were willing to have the duke of Normandy for their king?" to which they replied with such continuous acclamations of assent, that the vehemence of their loyalty, more noisy than sincere, had been productive of the most fatal consequences. William had surrounded the abbey and guarded its approaches with a large body of Norman soldiers, as a prudential measure, in case any attempt upon his life should be made by his new vassals; and those trusty guards without the abbey, mistaking the clamorous applause within for a seditious rising among the Saxons, with intent to massacre their lord and his Norman followers, in the first emotions of surprise and rage set fire to the adjoining houses by way of reprisals. The flames rapidly communicating to the wooden buildings round about, produced great consternation, and occasioned the loss of many lives. William and the pale and trembling assistant prelates and priests within the church were dismayed, and faltered in the midst of the ceremonial, and with good cause; for if great exertions had not been used by the more sober-minded portion of the Norman guards to extinguish the conflagration, which presently extended to the abbey, that magnificent edifice, with all the illustrious company within its walls, must have been consumed together. Some persons have considered this fire as the work of the Saxon populace, with intent to destroy at one blow the Norman conqueror and his followers, with such of their own countrymen as had forgotten their honor so far as to become, not only witnesses, but assistants, at the coronation of their foe. And this indeed is not improbable, if the Anglo-Saxons of that period had evinced a spirit capable of conceiving and carrying into execution a design of such terrific grandeur for the deliverance of their country. The Norman soldiery could by no means be appeased till their beloved chief came out of the abbey, and showed himself to them in his coronation-robes and diadem. [William of Poitou. Lingard.]

Matilda of Flanders

Queen of William the Conqueror


Matilda assumes the title of queen of England in Normandy—Her regency there—Patronage of learning—Charities—Her vengeance on Brihtric Meaw—Obtains his lands—His imprisonment—Death in prison—William's court at Berkhamstead—Triumphant return to Normandy—Matilda awaits his landing—Triumphal Norman progresses—Revolts in England—William reappoints Matilda regent—Embarks for England in a storm—William sends for Matilda—She arrives in England with her children—Her coronation at Winchester—Champion at her coronation—Birth of her son Henry—Bayeux tapestry—The dwarf artist, Turold—Matilda's daughter—Revolt of the English—Queen Matilda's return to Normandy—Regent there the third time—Her passionate love for her eldest son—Death of her father—Dissensions of her brothers—Ill effects of her absence—Separate governments of William and Matilda—King of France attacks Matilda—Her able government—Discontent of Norman ladies—Scandalous reports—William's supposed conjugal infidelity—Matilda's cruelty to her rival—Duke of Bretagne invades Normandy—Marriage with Matilda's second daughter—Dissensions in the royal family—Matilda's partiality to her son Robert—Her second son, prince Richard—His death—New Forest.

"Our mistress Matilda," says William of Poitou, [This elegant author, who is also called Pictaviensis, was archdeacon of Lisieux. His chronicle of the Conquest of England is written in very flowing language, greatly resembling in style an heroic poem. It abounds with eulogiums on his royal patron, but is extremely valuable on account of the personal history which it contains. It is sometimes called the Domestic Chronicle of William of Normandy.] the chaplain of the Conqueror, "had already assumed the name of queen, though she was not yet crowned. She had governed Normandy during the absence of her lord with great prudence and skill." So firmly, indeed, had that authority been sustained that, though the whole flower and strength of Normandy had followed the fortunes of their warlike duke to the shores of England, not one of the neighboring princes had ventured to molest the duchess-regent. Her kinsman, the emperor Henry, had engaged, in event of any aggression on the part of France or Bretagne, to defend Normandy with the whole strength of Germany, and she also had a powerful neighbor and protector in the earl of Flanders, her father; but great credit was certainly due to her own political conduct, in keeping the duchy free, both from external embroilments and internal strife at such a momentous period. Her government was very popular as well as prosperous in Normandy, where, surrounded by the most learned men of the age, she advanced in no slight degree the progress of civilization and refinement. The encouragement she afforded to arts and letters has won for this princess golden reports in the chronicle lore of that age. [Ordericus Vitalis. William of Poitou.]

Well aware was Matilda of the importance it is to princes to enlist in their service the pens of those who possess the power of defending or undermining thrones, and whose influence continues to bias the minds of men after the lapse of ages. "This princess," says Ordericus Vitalis, "who derived her descent from the kings of France and emperors of Germany, was even more distinguished for the purity of her mind and manners than for her illustrious lineage. As a queen she was munificent, and liberal of her gifts. She united beauty with gentle breeding and all the graces of Christian holiness. While the victorious arms of her illustrious spouse subdued all things before him, she was indefatigable in alleviating distress in every shape, and redoubled her alms. In a word, she exceeded all commendations, and won the love of all hearts."

Such is the character which one of the most eloquent and circumstantial historians of the eleventh century has given of Matilda. Yet Ordericus Vitalis, as a contemporary witness, could scarcely have been ignorant of the dark stain which the first exercise of her newly-acquired power in England has left upon her memory. The Chronicle of Tewkesbury, which states that Brihtric Meaw, the lord of the honor of Gloucester, when he resided at her father's court as ambassador from Edward the Confessor had refused to marry Matilda, adds, that in the first year of the reign of William the Conqueror, Matilda obtained from her lord the grant of all Brihtric's lands and honors, and that she then caused the unfortunate Saxon to be seized at his manor of Hanelye, and conveyed to Winchester, where he died in prison and was privately buried. [Chron. Tewkesbury, Bib. Cottonian MSS. Cleopatra, c. 111. Monasticon, vol. iii. p. 59. Leland's Coll., vol. i. p. 78. The author of the continuation of Brut, born in the same age, and written in the reign of Henry I., son of this queen, thus alludes to this circumstance:

"La quele jadis, quant fu pucelle,
Ama un conte el'Angleterre,
Brihtric Mau, le oi nomer,
Apres le roi ki fu riehe ber.
A lui la pucell envoeia rnessager,
Pur sa amour a lui procurer:
Mais Brihtric Maude refusa."

'Who, when she was maiden,
Loved a count of England,
Brihtric Mau he was named,
Except the king was no richer man.
To him the virgin sent a messenger,
His love for her to obtain:
But Brihtric refused Maude.']

Thus, then, does it appear that Matilda, after having enjoyed for fourteen years the greatest happiness as a wife and mother, had secretly brooded over the bitter memory of the slight that had been offered to her in early youth, for the purpose of inflicting the deadliest vengeance in return on the man who had rejected the love she had once condescended to offer. This circumstance is briefly related, not only in a general, but a topographical history, without comment, and it is in no slight degree confirmed by the records of the Domesday-book, where it appears that Avening, Tewkesbury, Fairford, Thornbury, Whitenhurst, and various other possessions in Gloucestershire, belonging to Brihtric, the son of Algar, were granted to Matilda by the Conqueror; and after her death, reverting to the crown, were by William again bestowed on their second son, William Rufus. ["Infra scriptas terras tenuit Brihtric, et post Regina Matilda."—Domesday-book, tom. ii. p. 100. History of Gloucester.]

Matilda, moreover, deprived Gloucester of its charter and civic liberties, merely because it was the city of the unfortunate Brihtric,—perhaps for showing some sign of resentment for his fate. We fear that the first of our Norman queens must, on this evidence, stand convicted of the crime of wrong and robbery, if not of absolute murder; and if it had been possible to make a post-mortem examination on the body of the unfortunate son of Algar, sufficient reason might have been seen, perhaps, for the private nature of his interment. All this wrong was done by agency; for, if dates be correct, Matilda had not yet entered England. [In addition to our numerous ancient authorities regarding Brihtric Meaw, we subjoin this important extract from a work by one of our most learned antiquarian historians of the age: "Brihtric, the son of Algar, a Saxon thane, is stated in Domesday to have held this manor in the reign of Edward the Confessor; but having given offence to Maud, the daughter of Baldwin count of Flanders, previous to her marriage with William duke of Normandy, by refusing to marry her himself, his property was seized by that monarch on the conquest, and bestowed, seemingly in revenge, upon the queen."—Ellis's History of Thornbury Castle. Bristol, 1839.]

A few days after his coronation, William, feeling some reason to distrust the Londoners, withdrew to his old quarters at Berkhamstead, where he kept his court, and succeeded in drawing round him many of the most influential of the Saxon princes and thanes, to whom, in return for their oaths of allegiance, he restored their estates and honors. His next step, for the mutual satisfaction of his Norman followers and Saxon subjects, was to lay the foundation of the church and abbey of St. Martin, now called Battle abbey, where perpetual prayers were directed to be offered up for the repose of the souls of all who had fallen in that sanguinary conflict.

William having been now six months separated from his wife and family, his desire to embrace them once more, and to display to his Norman subjects his newly acquired grandeur, induced him to spend the Easter festival in Normandy with Matilda. Previous to his departure, he placed strong Norman garrisons in all his castles, and carried with him to Normandy all the leading men among the Anglo-Saxons. Among these were Edgar Atheling, Morcar, Edwin, and Waltheof. [William of Poitou. Malmesbury. S. Dunelm. Walsingham.] He re-embarked in the Mora, in the month of March, 1067, and, with the most splendid company that ever sailed from England, crossed the seas, and landed on his native shore, a little below the abbey of Fescamp. Matilda was there, with her children, [William of Poitou. Henderson.] in readiness to receive and welcome her illustrious lord, who was greeted with the most enthusiastic rapture by all classes of his subjects. For joy of William's return the solemn fast of Lent was this year kept as a festival; all labor was suspended, and nothing but mirth and pleasure prevailed in his native Normandy. [William of Poitou.]

William appears to have had infinite pleasure in displaying, not only to his wife and family, but to the foreign ambassadors, the costly spoils which he had brought over from England. [Ibid.] The quantity and exquisite workmanship of the gold and silver plate, and, withal, the richness of the embroidered garments wrought by the skilful hands of the Anglo-Saxon ladies (then esteemed so inestimably precious in all parts of Europe, that they were called, by distinction, Anglicum opus [English work.] ), excited the admiration and astonishment of all beholders; but more particularly did the splendid dress of his guards, and the magnificence and beauty of the long-haired and moustached Anglo-Saxon nobles by whom he was attended, attract the wonder of the foreign princes and peers.

On the 18th of June, Matilda's newly erected abbey-church of the Holy Trinity, being now completed, was consecrated with great pomp, in the presence of the royal foundress and her victorious lord. On the same day, duke William presented at the altar their infant daughter Cecilia, and devoted her to the service of God. [Hardy's Notes on William of Malmesbury.] A grand, yet painfully exciting pageant that scene must have been, for who could then answer how far the heart of the unconscious babe, who was thus devoted to a life of religious celibacy, obedience, humility, poverty, and seclusion from the world, might hereafter acquiesce in the sacrifice to which her parents were devoting her? But what a subject for the pencil of the historic painter, that church in its fresh glorious beauty!—thronged with a venerating congregation of nobles, ladies, burghers, soldiers, peasants, mariners, and craftsmen, clad in the picturesque costumes of their various ranks and callings, interspersed with the victorious Norman and vanquished Saxon chiefs, whose descendants are now blended into one mighty people,—the beautiful duchess Matilda, invested with the regal insignia of the queenly rank to which her warlike consort's late achievements had elevated her, surrounded with all her blooming progeny, yet looking with fonder maternal interest on the chosen lamb which had just been separated from that fair flock, to be presented by the conqueror of England as a thank-offering to the God of battles, who had prospered him in his late enterprise, and given him a name greater than that of his far-famed predecessor, Rollo. [Matilda's foundation possesses a strong historical interest, even as connected with recent events in France. M. de Lamartine, in his beautiful work on the Gironde, when relating the occurrences of the youth of Charlotte Corday, who was brought up in that abbey, gives us this information on its modern destination: "These vast cloisters and chapel of Norman architecture, built in 1066 by Matilda, wife of William the Conqueror, after having been deserted, degraded, and forgotten in its ruins until 1730, was then magnificently restored; at this day it forms one of the finest hospitals in France, and one of the most splendid public buildings in the city of Caen."—Vol. iii. p. 57. 1848.]

The whole summer was spent by William in a series of triumphant progresses, through the towns and cities of Normandy, with his queen-duchess. [Ordericus Vitalis. Saxon Chronicle.] Meanwhile, the spirit of freedom was crushed, but not extinguished, among the people of England, and the absence of the Conqueror was regarded as a favorable opportunity for expelling the unwelcome locusts who had fastened upon the land, and were devouring its fatness. A secret plot was organized for a simultaneous rising throughout England, and a general massacre of the Normans. [W. Poitou.] But though the terror of William's actual presence was withdrawn for a season, he kept up a strict espionage on the proceedings of the English. The first rumor of what was going on among them, roused him from the career of pleasure which he had been pursuing. Relinquishing the idea of keeping a splendid Christmas with his beloved family, he reappointed Matilda and his son Robert regents of Normandy, and embarking on a stormy sea, he sailed from Dieppe on the 6th of December. [Ordcricus Vitalis.] On the 7th he arrived at Winchelsea, and proceeded immediately to London, to the consternation of the malcontents, who thought they were sure of him for the winter season.

After the suppression of the revolt, William, perceiving the disadvantages attendant on a queenless court, and feeling withal the greatest desire to enjoy the society of his beautiful consort, despatched a noble company into Normandy, to conduct Matilda and her children to England. [Ibid.] She joyfully obeyed the welcome mandate of her lord, and crossed the sea with a stately cortege of nobles, knights, and ladies. [Ibid.] Among the learned clerks by whom she was attended was the celebrated Gui, bishop of Amiens, who had distinguished himself by an heroic poem on the defeat and fall of Harold.

Matilda arrived in England soon after Easter, in the month of April, 1068, and proceeding immediately to Winchester, was received with great joy by her lord; preparations were instantly commenced for her coronation, which was appointed to take place in that city on Whit-Sunday. [Florence of Worcester. S. Dunelm. M. Westminster.] The great festivals of the church appear in the middle ages to have been considered by the English as peculiarly auspicious days for the solemnization of coronations and marriages, if we may judge by the frequency of their occurrence at those seasons. Sunday was generally chosen for a coronation-day. William, who had been exceedingly anxious to share his newly-acquired honors with Matilda, chose to be re-crowned at the same time, to render the pageant of her consecration more imposing; and farther to conciliate the affections of his English subjects, he repeated for the second time the oath by which he engaged to govern with justice and moderation, and to preserve inviolate that great palladium of English liberty, trial by jury. [S. Dunelm, Saxon Chronicle.]

This coronation was far more splendid than that which had preceded it in Westminster abbey, at William's first inauguration, where the absence of the queen and her ladies deprived the ceremony of much of its brilliancy, and the alarming conflagration by which it was interrupted must have greatly abridged the pomp and festivities that had been anticipated on that occasion. Here everything went off auspiciously. It was in the smiling season of the year, when the days were long and bright, without having attained to the oppressiveness of summer heat. The company, according to the report of contemporary historians, was exceedingly numerous and noble; and the Conqueror, who appears to have been in a wonderfully gracious mood that day, was very sprightly and facetious on the occasion, and conferred favors on all who solicited. The graceful and majestic person of queen Matilda, and the number and beauty of her fine children, charmed the populace, and every one present was delighted with the order and regularity with which this attractive pageant was conducted. [Henderson.] The nobles of Normandy attended their duchess to the church; but after the crown was placed on her head by Aldred, archbishop of York, she was served by her new subjects, the English.

The Abbey of Saint Martin, now called Battle Abbey.

Erected by William the Conqueror. Here perpetual
prayers were directed to be offered for the repose of
the souls of all who had fallen in the
Battle of Hastings

The first occasion on which the office of champion was instituted, is said to have been at this splendid coronation at Winchester, where William caused his consort to be associated with himself in all the honors of royalty. [Ibid.] The ceremonial of Matilda's inauguration-banquet afforded precedents for most of the grand feudal offices at subsequent coronations. [Glories of Regality.] Among these, the office of 'grand pannetier' has been for some time extinct. His service was to bear the salt and the carving-knives from the pantry to the king's dining-table, and his fees were the salt-cellars, spoons, and knives laid on the royal table. "Forks were not among the royal luxuries at the board of the mighty William and his fair Matilda, who both, in feeding themselves, verified the proverb which says 'that fingers were made before forks.'"—"The grand pannetier likewise served the bread to the sovereign, and received, in addition to the rest of his fees, the bread-cover, called the coverpane. For this service the Beauchamps held the manor of Beauchamp Kibworth. The manor of Addington was likewise granted by the Conqueror to Tezelin, his cook, for composing a dish of white soup called dillegrout, which especially pleased the royal palate."

"When the noble company had retired from the church, and were seated at dinner in the banqueting hall," says Henderson, in his Life of the Conqueror, "a bold cavalier called Marmion, [Henderson inaccurately says "Dymock;" it was Marmion. This ceremony, unknown among the Saxon monarchs, was of Norman origin. The lands of Fontenaye, in Normandy, were held by Marmion, one of the followers of William the Conqueror, on the tenure of championship. The office was hereditary in the family of Marmion, and from them, by heirship, descended to the Dymocks of Scrivelsbye.—See Dugdale. The armorial bearings of the Marmions, from the performance of this great service, were,—sable, an arming sword the point in chief, argent.—Glories of Regality.] completely armed, rode into the hall, and did at three several times repeat this challenge:—'If any person denies that our most gracious sovereign, lord William, and his spouse Matilda, are noticing and queen of England, he is a false-hearted traitor and a liar; and here I, as champion, do challenge him to single combat.'" No person accepted the challenge, and Matilda was called la reine ever after.

The same year, Matilda brought into the world her fourth son, Henry, surnamed Beauclerc. This event took place at Selby, in Yorkshire, and was productive of some degree of satisfaction to the people, who considered the English-born prince with far more complacency than his three Norman brethren, Robert, Richard, and William Rufus. Matilda settled upon her new-born son all the lands she possessed in England and Normandy; they were to revert to him after her death. Tranquillity now appeared to be completely restored; and Matilda, enjoying every happiness as a wife, a mother, and a queen, seemed to be placed at the very summit of earthly prosperity.

Whether it be by accident, or owing to a close attention to the reality he saw before him, it is certain that the antique limner who drew Matilda's portrait has represented the organ of constructiveness in her head as very decidedly developed. She afforded remarkable instances of this propensity in the noble ecclesiastical buildings of which she was the foundress, also in her ingenious and curious example of industry in the Bayeux tapestry, wherein she has wrought the epic of her husband's exploits, from Harold's first landing in Normandy to his fall at Hastings. It is, in fact, a most important historical document, in which the events and costume of that momentous period arc faithfully presented to us, by the indefatigable fingers of the first of our Norman queens and her ladies, and certainly deserves a particular description.

This curious monument of antiquity is still preserved in the cathedral of Bayeux, where it is distinguished by the name of "la Tapissiere de la Reine Matilde:" it is also called "the duke of Normandy's toilette" which simply means the duke's great cloth. It is a piece of canvas, about nineteen inches in breadth, but upwards of sixty-seven yards in length, on which, as we have said, is embroidered the history of the conquest of England by William of Normandy, commencing with the visit of Harold to the Norman court, and ending with his death at the battle of Hastings, 1066.

The leading transactions of those eventful years, the death of Edward the Confessor, and the coronation of Harold in the chamber of the royal dead, are represented in the clearest and most regular order in this piece of needlework, which contains many hundred figures of men, horses, birds, beasts, trees, houses, castles, churches, and ships, all executed in their proper colors, with names and inscriptions in Latin, explanatory of the subject of every section. [The Bayeux tapestry has lately been much the subject of controversy among some learned individuals, who are determined to deprive Matilda of her traditionary fame as the person from whom this specimen of female skill and industry emanated. Montfaucon, Thierry, Planche, Ducarel, Taylor, and many other important authorities, may be quoted in support of the historical tradition that it was the work of Matilda and her ladies. The brief limits to which we are confined in these biographies, will not admit of our entering into the arguments of those who dispute the fact, though we have carefully examined them; and, with clue deference to the judgment of the lords of the creation on all subjects connected with policy and science, we venture to think that our learned friends, the archaeologists and antiquaries, would do well to direct their intellectual powers to more masculine objects of inquiry, and leave the question of the Bayeux tapestry (with all other matters allied to needle-craft) to the decision of the ladies, to whose province it peculiarly belongs. It is matter of doubt to us whether one out of the many gentlemen who have disputed Matilda's claims to that work, if called upon to execute a copy of either of the figures on canvas, would know how to put in the first stitch. The whole of the Bayeux tapestry has been engraved, and colored like the original, by the Society of Antiquaries, who, if they had done nothing else to merit the approbation of the historical world, would have deserved it for this alone.] This pictorial chronicle of her mighty consort's achievements appears to have been, in part at least, designed for Matilda by Turold, a dwarf artist, who, moved by a natural desire of claiming his share in the celebrity which he foresaw would attach to the work, has cunningly introduced his own effigies and name,—thus authenticating the Norman tradition, that he was the person who illuminated the canvas with the proper outlines and colors. [Thierry's History of the Anglo-Normans. The figures were, in fact, always prepared for tapestry work by some skilful artist, who designed and traced them out in the same colors that were to be used in silk or woollen by the embroideress; and we are told in the life of St. Dunstan, that "a certain religious lady, being moved with a desire of embroidering a sacerdotal vestment, earnestly entreated the, future chancellor of England, who was then a young man in an obscure station of life, but creeping into notice through his excellent taste in such delineations, to draw the flowers and figures, which she afterwards formed with threads of gold."] It is probable that the wife of the Conqueror and her Norman ladies were materially assisted in this stupendous work of feminine skill and patience by some of the hapless daughters of the land, who, like the Grecian captives described by Homer, were employed in recording the story of their own reverses, and the triumphs of their haughty foes. [When Napoleon was preparing to invade England, he brought the Bayeux tapestry forward in a very pompous manner, to revive the recollection of the conquest of this island by William of Normandy.]

About this period William laid the foundation of that mighty fortress and royal residence, the Tower of London, which was erected by a priestly architect and engineer, Gundulph bishop of Rochester. He also built the castle of Hurstmonceaux, on the spot which had, in the first instance, been occupied by the wooden fort he brought over from Normandy; and, for the better security of his government, built and strongly garrisoned many other strong fortresses, forming a regular chain of military stations from one end of England to the other. [At Norwich, Warwick, Lincoln, York, Nottingham, etc., etc.] These proceedings excited the jealous displeasure of such of the Anglo-Saxon nobles as had hitherto maintained a sort of passive amity with their Norman sovereign, and they began gradually to desert his court. Among the first to withdraw from the royal circle were the darlings of the people, Edwin and Morcar. William had in the first instance, by the most insidious caresses, and the promise even of giving him one of his daughters in marriage, endeavored to conciliate Edwin, who was the youngest of the two chieftains, and remarkable for the beauty of his person. The promised bride of Edwin, was, however, withheld from him, which exasperated him so much that he retired with his brother into the north, where they organized a plan with the kings of Scotland and Denmark, and the Welsh princes, for separate but simultaneous attacks upon William, in which the disaffected Saxons were to join.

The repeated and formidable revolts of the English, in 1069, compelled William to provide for the safety of Matilda and her children in Normandy. [Ordericus Vitalis. Henry Huntingdon.] The presence of the queen-duchess was, indeed, no less required there than that of her warlike lord in England. She was greatly beloved in the duchy, where her government was considered exceedingly able, and the people were beginning to murmur at the absence of the court and the nobility, which, after the states of Normandy had been so severely taxed to support the expense of the English wars, was regarded as a national calamity. It was, therefore, a measure of great political expediency on the part of William to reappoint Matilda, for the third time, to the regency of Normandy. The name of his eldest son, Robert, was, as before, associated with that of Matilda in the regency; and at parting, the Conqueror entreated his spouse "to pray for the speedy termination of the English troubles, to encourage the arts of peace in Normandy, and to take care of the interests of their youthful heir." [Ordericus Vitalis. Malmesbury.] The latter injunction was somewhat superfluous; for Matilda's fondness for her first-born betrayed her into the most injudicious acts of partiality in his favor, and in all probability was the primary cause of the dissensions between him and his brothers, and the subsequent rupture between that wrong-headed prince and his royal father. The death of the earl of Flanders, Matilda's father, and the unsettled state of her native country, owing to the strife between her brothers and nephews, greatly troubled her, and added in no slight degree to the anxious cares with which her return to Normandy was clouded, after the brief splendor of her residence in England as queen. [Ordericus Vitalis.]

The breaking up of the court at Winchester, and the departure of queen Matilda and her children for Normandy, cast a deep gloom on the aspect of William's affairs, while it was felt as a serious evil by the industrious classes, whose prosperity depended on the encouragement extended to their handiworks by the demands of the rich and powerful for those articles of adornment and luxury, in the fabrication of which many hands are profitably employed,—employment being equivalent to wealth with those whose time, ingenuity,—or strength can be brought into the market in any tangible form. But where there is no custom, it is useless to tax the powers of the craftsman or artisan to produce articles which are no longer required. This was the case in England from the year 1069, when, the queen and ladies of the court having quitted the country, trade languished, employment ceased, and the horrors of civil war were aggravated by the distress of a starving population.

It was, according to most accounts, in this year, 1069, that William, to prevent the people of the land from confederating together in nocturnal assemblies, for the purpose of discussing their grievances and stimulating each other to revolt, compelled them to couvre feu, that is to extinguish the lights and fires in their dwellings at eight o'clock every evening at the tolling of a bell, called from that circumstance the curfew, or couvre feu. [Speed. It was first established at Winchester.—Cassan's Lives of the Bishops of Winchester.] Such, at any rate, has been the popular tradition of ages, and traces of the custom in many places still remain. William had adopted the same measure, in his early career as duke of Normandy, to secure the better observance of his famous edict for the suppression of brawls and murders in his dominions, called emphatically 'God's peace.' [Ordericus Vitalis. The curfew is still tolled in some districts of Normandy, where it is called La Retraite.—Ducarel.]

When William took the field after Matilda's departure, and commenced one of his rapid marches towards York, where Waltheof had encouraged the Danish army to winter, he swore "by the splendor of God," his usual oath, that he would not leave one living soul in Northumberland. As soon as he entered Yorkshire, he began to execute his terrible threats of vengeance, laying the whole country waste with fire and sword. After he had bribed the Danish chief to withdraw, and the long-defended city of York was surrendered at discretion by Waltheof, he won that powerful Saxon leader to his cause by bestowing upon him in marriage his beautiful niece, Judith. These fatal nuptials were solemnized among the ruins of the vanquished city of York, where the Conqueror kept his Christmas amidst the desolation he had
wrought. [Matthew Paris.]

The melancholy details of William's work of devastation in the north of England are pathetically recorded by the Saxon chronicle, and we will close the brief annals of the direful years 1070 and 1071 with the death of earl Edwin, the affianced husband of one of the daughters of the Conqueror and Matilda. He was proceeding from Ely to Scotland, charged, as was supposed, with a secret mission from his disinherited kinsman, Edgar, to the king of Scots, when he was intercepted and slain, after a valiant defence against a band of Normans. His death was passionately bewailed by the English, and even the stern nature of the Conqueror was melted into compassion; and he is said to have shed tears when the bleeding head of the young Saxon, with its long flowing hair, was presented to him by the traitors who had beguiled him into the Norman ambush, and instead of conferring the expected reward on the murderers, he condemned them to perpetual exile. [Ordericus Vitalis, p. 521. J. Brompton.]

The Saxon bishops had stood forth as champions for the rights and ancient laws of the people, and William, finding it impossible to awe or silence these true patriots, proceeded to deprive them of their benefices. It was in vain for the English clergy to appeal to the Roman pontiff for protection, for William was supported by the authority of the new system of, church government adopted by the Norman bishops, which was to deprive the people of the use of the Scriptures in the Saxon tongue; thereby rendering one of the best and noblest legacies bequeathed to them by that royal reformer, king Alfred—the translation commenced by him of the Word of God—a dead letter. It was the earnest desire of our Norman sovereigns to silence the Saxon tongue forever, by substituting in its place the Norman dialect, which was a mixture of French and Danish. It was, however, found to be a more easy thing to subjugate the land than to suppress the natural language of the people. A change was all that could be effected, by the amalgamation of the two languages, the Normans gradually acquiring as many of the Saxon words and idioms as the Anglo-Saxons were compelled to use of theirs. Latin was used by the learned, as a general medium of communication, and thus became, in a slight degree, mingled with the parlance of the more refined portion of society. From these mingled elements our own copious and expressive language was in process of time formed.

Matilda returned to England in the year 1072: she kept her Easter festival that spring at Winchester with her lord, and her Whitsuntide at Windsor. A fierce controversy between the primates of Canterbury and York, on the nice point of ecclesiastical precedency, which first commenced in the chapel-royal within Winchester castle, was then terminated in the presence of the king and queen; and an amicable instrument, acknowledging the supremacy of the archbishop of Canterbury was drawn up and witnessed by the signature of William the king, the signature of Matilda the queen, [William of Malmesbury; Dr. Giles's translation. See, also, Lanfranc's Letters, edited by the same learned gentleman.] that of the pope's legate, and all the hierarchy and mitred abbots present, who had assembled in convocation on this important matter.

The unsettled state of England had the effect of again dividing William from his beloved queen, and forced them for a considerable time to reign separately,—he in England, and she in Normandy. Matilda, who possessed no inconsiderable talents in the art of government, conducted the regency of Normandy, during all the troubles in which her lord was involved, with groat prudence and address. She was placed in a position of peculiar difficulty, in consequence of the revolt of the province of Maine, and the combined hostilities of the king of France and the duke of Bretagne, who had taken advantage of the manner in which William was occupied with the Scotch invasion and the Saxon revolt to attack his continental dominions, and Matilda was compelled to apply to her absent lord for succor. William immediately despatched the son of Fitz-Osborn to assist his fair regent in her military arrangements for the defence of Normandy, and expedited a peace with the king of Scotland, that he might the sooner come to her aid in person with his veteran troops.

The Norman ladies were at that period extremely malcontent at the long-protracted absence of their lords. [Ordericus Vitalis. Malmesbury.] The wife of Hugh Grantmesnil, the governor of Winchester, had caused them great uneasiness by the reports which she had circulated of the infidelities of their husbands. These representations had induced the indignant dames to send peremptory messages for the immediate return of their lords. In some instances the warlike Normans had yielded obedience to these conjugal mandates, and returned home, greatly to the prejudice of William's affairs in England. This was the aim of the lady of Grantmesnil, who had for some reason conceived a particular ill-will against her sovereign; and not content with doing everything in her power to incite his Norman subjects to revolt, she had thought proper to cast the most injurious aspersions on his character as a husband, and insinuated that he had made an attempt on her virtue. [Henderson. Ordericus Vitalis.]

Githa, the mother of Harold, eagerly caught at these reports, which she took great pleasure in circulating. She communicated them to Sweno, king of Denmark, and added, that the reason why Merleswen, a Kentish noble of some importance, had joined the late revolt in England was, because the Norman tyrant had dishonored his fair niece, the daughter of one of the canons of Canterbury. [Henderson's Life of the Conqueror. It must be remembered that the marriages of the English clergy were allowed by the Anglo-Saxon catholic church till near a quarter of a century afterwards.] This tale, whether false or true, came in due course to Matilda's ears, and caused the first conjugal difference that had ever arisen between her and her lord. She was by no means of a temper to take any affront of the kind patiently, and it is said that she caused the unfortunate damsel to be put to death, with circumstances of great cruelty. [She caused her to be hamstrung.—Rapin. Henderson says Matilda ordered her jaws to be slit.] Hearne, in his notes to Robert of Gloucester, furnishes us with a curious sequel to this tale, extracted from a very ancient chronicle among the Cottonian MSS., which, after relating "that the priest's daughter was privily slain by a confidential servant of Matilda, the queen," adds, "that the Conqueror was so enraged at the barbarous revenge taken by his consort, that, on his return to Normandy, he beat her with his bridle so severely that she soon after died." Now, it is certain Matilda lived full ten years after the period at which this matrimonial discipline is said to have been inflicted upon her by the strong arm of the Conqueror; and the worthy chronicler himself merely relates it as one of the current rumors of the day. We are willing to hope that the story altogether has originated from the scandalous reports of that malign busy-body of the eleventh century, the lady Grantmesnil; though, at the same time, it is to be feared that the woman who was capable of inflicting such deadly vengeance on the unfortunate Saxon nobleman who had been the object of her earliest affections would not have been very scrupulous in her dealings with a female whom she suspected of having rivalled her in her husband's regard. William of Malmesbury bears testimony to the conjugal affection which subsisted between the Conqueror and Matilda, "whose obedience to her husband, and fruitfulness in bringing him so many children," he says, "excited in his mind the tenderest regard towards her." If any cause of anger or mistrust had occurred, during their long separation, to interrupt the conjugal happiness of Matilda and her husband, it was but a passing cloud, for historians all agree that they were living together in a state of the most affectionate union during the year 1074, great part of which was spent by the Conqueror with his family in Normandy. [Ordericus Vitalis. Malmesbury. Saxon Annals.]

It was at this period that Edgar Atheling came to the court at Caen, to make a voluntary submission to the Norman sovereign, and to entreat his forgiveness for the several insurrections in which he had been engaged. The Conqueror freely accorded an amnesty, treated him with great kindness, and pensioned him with a daily allowance of a pound of silver, [Saxon annals. Malmesbury. Brompton.] in the hope that this amicable arrangement would secure his government in England from all future disturbances. He was mistaken: fresh troubles had already broken out in that quarter, but this time they proceeded from his own turbulent Norman chiefs; one of them, withal, was the son of his great favorite and trusty kinsman, Fitz-Osborn, who was defeated and taken prisoner [Fitz-Osborn was a relation of his sovereign, and, before this act of contumacy, stood high in his favor. He was only punished with imprisonment for his share in the conspiracy. After a time his royal master, as a token that he was disposed to pardon him, sent him a costly suit of clothes; but Fitz-Osborn, instead of tendering his grateful acknowledgments for this present, ordered a large fire to be made, and, in the presence of the messenger, burned the rich garments, one by one, with the most insolent expressions of contempt. William was very angry at the manner in which his unwonted graciousness was received by his vassal kinsman, but inflicted no severer punishment than a lengthened term of imprisonment.—Henderson.] by the nobles and prelates of Worcester. The Danish fleet, which had vainly hovered on the coast, waiting for a signal to land troops to assist the conspirators, was fain to retreat without effecting its object. As for the great Saxon earl, Waltheof, who had been drawn into the plot and betrayed by his Norman wife, Judith, to her uncle the Conqueror, he was, after a long suspense, beheaded on a rising ground just without the gates of Winchester; being the first English nobleman who had died by the hand of a public executioner. [Ordericus Vitalis.]

William next pursued his Norman traitor, Ralph de Guader, to the continent, and besieged him in the city of Dol, Where he had taken refuge. The young duke of Bretagne, Alan Fergeant, assisted by the king of France, came with a powerful army to the succor of the besieged earl; and William was not only compelled to raise the siege, but to abandon his tents and baggage, to the value of fifteen thousand pounds. His diplomatic talents, however, enabled him to extricate himself from the embarrassing strait in which he had been placed, by a marriage between Alan and his daughter Constance. This alliance was no less advantageous to the princely bridegroom than agreeable to William and Matilda. The nuptials were celebrated with great pomp, and the bride was dowered with all the lands of Chester, once the possessions of the unfortunate carl Edwin, who had formerly been contracted to one of her sisters. [Saxon Annals. S. Dunelm. Malmesbury.]

At the close of this year died Edith, the widow of Edward the Confessor. She had retired to a convent, but was treated with the respect and honor of a queen-dowager, and was buried in Westminster abbey. She was long survived by her unfortunate sister-in-law, Edith or Algitha, the widow of Harold, the other Saxon queen-dowager, who, having had woful experience of the calamities of greatness and the vanity of earthly distinctions, voluntarily resigned her royal title, and passed the residue of her days in obscurity.

In the year 1075, William and Matilda, with their family, kept the festival of Easter with great pomp at Fescamp, and attended in person the profession of their eldest daughter Cecilia, who was there veiled a nun by the archbishop John. [Ordericus Vitalis. Malmesbury.] "This royal maid," says Ordericus Vitalis, "had been educated with great care in the convent of Caen, where she was instructed in all the learning of the age, and several sciences. She was consecrated to the holy and indivisible Trinity, took the veil under the venerable abbess Matilda, and faithfully conformed to all the rules of conventual discipline. Cecilia succeeded this abbess in her office, having, for fourteen years, maintained the highest reputation for sanctity and wisdom. From the moment that she was dedicated to God by her father, she became a true servant of the Most High, and continued a pure and holy virgin, attending to the pious rules of her order for a period of fifty-two years."

Soon after the profession of the lady Cecilia, those fatal divisions began to appear in the royal family, of which Matilda is accused of having sown the seeds by the injurious partiality she had shown for Robert, her first-born. This prince, having been associated with his royal mother in the regency of Normandy from the age of fourteen, had been brought more into public than was perhaps desirable at a period of life when presumptuous ideas of self-importance are only too apt to inflate the mind. Robert, during his father's long absence, was not only emancipated from all control, but had accustomed himself to exercise the functions of a sovereign in Normandy by anticipation, and to receive the homage and flattery of all ranks of people in the dominions to which he was the heir. The Conqueror, it seems, had promised that he would one day bestow the duchy of Normandy on him; and Robert, having represented the ducal majesty for nearly eight years, considered himself an injured person when his royal father took the power into his own hands once more, and exacted from him the obedience of a subject, and the duty of a son. [Ordericus Vitalis.] There was also a jealous rivalry between Robert and his two younger brothers, William Rufus and Henry. William Rufus, notwithstanding his rude, boisterous manners, and the apparent recklessness of his disposition, had an abundant share of world-craft, and well knew how to adapt himself to his father's humor, so that he was no less a favorite with the Conqueror than Robert was with Matilda. Robert had been in his infancy espoused to Margaret, the heiress of Herbert, the last earl of that province. The little countess died while they were yet children, and William of Normandy, who had taken her lands under his wardship, annexed them to his own dominions after her death. When the juvenile widower became of age, he considered himself entitled to the earldom and lands of Maine in right of his deceased wife, and claimed them of his father, who put him off with fair words, but withheld the territory; though the people of Maine demanded Robert for their lord, and, at the surrender of the revolted city of Mans, it was among the articles of capitulation that he should receive the investiture of the earldom. This condition was violated by the Conqueror, who had no mind to part with any portion of his acquisitions during his life; verifying in this, as in every other action, the predictions of the gossips at his birth, "that he would grasp everything within his reach, and that which he had once grasped he would keep." [Ordericus Vitalis.] This was a perpetual source of discontent to Robert, who, though recklessly generous, was of a proud and irritable temperament.

In the year 1076, while Matilda and William were with their family at the castle of l'Aigle, their two younger sons, William and Henry, in wanton play, threw some dirty water from the balcony of an upper apartment on Robert and some of his partisans, who were walking in the court below. The fiery heir of Normandy construed this act of boyish folly into an act of studied contempt; and being just then in an irritable and excited frame of mind, he drew his sword and rushed up-stairs, with a threat of taking deadly vengeance on the youthful transgressors who had offered this insult to him before the whole court. This occasioned a prodigious tumult and uproar in the castle, and nothing but the presence and stern authority of the king, who, hearing the alarm, burst into the room with his drawn sword in his hand, could have prevented fatal consequences. [Ibid.] Robert, not obtaining the satisfaction he expected for the affront he had received, privately retired from the court that very evening, followed by a party of the young nobility whom he had attached to his cause. [Malmesbury.]

Richard, the second son of William and Matilda, does not appear to have taken any part in these quarrels. He was the pupil of the learned Lanfranc, and was probably occupied with studious pursuits, as he is said to have been a prince of great promise, and of an amiable disposition. [Camden. Saxon Chronicle.] He died in England, in the flower of his youth. According to popular tradition, he was gored by a stag, while hunting in the New Forest, which caused his death; but some historians record that he died of a fever, occasioned by the malaria in the depopulated district of Hampshire, at the time when so many thousands of the unfortunate Saxons perished by famine, in consequence of having been driven from their homes when the Conqueror converted that once fertile part of England into a chase, for the enjoyment of his favorite amusement of hunting. Prince Richard was buried in Winchester cathedral: a slab of stone, marked with his name, is still seen there.

Drayton gives a political reason for the depopulation of the shore of Hampshire, occasioned by the enclosure of the New Forest, which is well worth the consideration of the historical reader:

"Clear Avon, coming in, her sister Stour doth call,
And at New Forest's foot into the sea doth fall;
That forest now, whose site e'en boundless seems to lie,
Its being erst received from William's tyranny,
Who framed laws to keep those beasts he planted then,
His lawless will from hence before had driven men:
That where the earth was warmed with Winter's festal fires,
The melancholic hare now forms in tangled brakes and briers;
And on sites of churches, grown with nettles, fern, and weeds,
Stands now the aged ranpick trunk, where ploughmen cast their seeds.
The people were by William here cut off from every trade,
That on this spot the Norman still might enter to invade;
And on this desolated place and unfrequented shore,
New forces evermore might land to aid those here before."

The Saxon chronicle comments on the oppressive statutes enacted by the Norman conqueror for the preservation of game in an eloquent strain of indignant irony, and says, "he loved the tall deer as if he had been their father." That game-laws were in existence at a much earlier period is most certain; but it was during this reign that they were rendered a grievance to the people, and assumed the character of a moral wrong in the legislature of the country. The more enlightened policy of modern jurisprudence has in some degree ameliorated the rigorous penalties enacted by our Norman line of sovereigns against poaching in its various departments, but the bitterness engendered by the spirit of those laws remains in full force in the hearts of those classes against whom the statutes are supposed to point, and is constantly acted upon by persons assuming the office of political agitators, for the purpose of creating divisions between the people and their rulers.

Matilda of Flanders

Queen of William the Conqueror


Matilda mediates between her husband and son—Robert's insolence and rebellion—Matilda supplies him with money—Conqueror seizes Matilda's agent—Conqueror's reproaches—Queen's answer—Robert's military prowess—Field of Archembraye—Robert wounds the Conqueror—His penitence—Matilda intercedes—Conqueror writes to his son—Robert pardoned—Conqueror's legislation in England—Domesday-book—Royal revenue—Queen of England's perquisites and privileges—Her dues at Queenhithe—Officers of royal household—Matilda's court the model of succeeding ones—She continues to govern Normandy—Her visit to the monastery of Ouche—Illness and death of her second daughter—Fresh cause of sorrow to the queen—Robert's dissensions with his father—Matilda's distress—Applies to a hermit—His vision, and message to the queen—Her grief and lingering illness—Dying of a broken heart—The Conqueror hastens from England—She dies—Her obsequies—Her alms—Tomb—Epitaph—Will—Articles of dress named therein—Portrait (see frontispiece)—Her children—The Conqueror's deep affliction—Disquiets after the death of the queen—Fatal accident to the Conqueror—Death—His body plundered—Accidents and interruptions at his funeral—Monument—Portrait—Destruction of his tomb—Of Matilda's tomb—Her sapphire ring—Their bodies reinterred—Matilda's tomb restored—Final destruction at French revolution.

The feud between her royal husband and her first-born was very painful to Matilda, whose anxious attempts to effect a reconciliation were unavailing. When Robert's passion was somewhat cooled, he consented to see his father, but the interview was anything but friendly. Ordericus Vitalis gives the following particulars of the conference.

William II. Surnamed the Rufus.

Robert assumed a very high tone, and repeated his demand of being invested with the duchies of Normandy and Maine. This was, of course, refused by the Conqueror, who sternly bade his ambitious heir "remember the fate of Absalom, and the misfortunes of Rehoboam, and not to listen to the evil counsellors who wished to seduce him from the paths of duty." On which Robert insolently replied, "That he did not come there to listen to sermons, with which he had been nauseated by his tutors when he was learning grammar, but to claim the investiture which had been promised to him. Answer me positively," continued he; "are not these things my right? Have you not promised to bestow them on me?" [Ordericus Vitalis. Hemmingford. Walsingham.]—"It is not my custom to strip till I go to bed," replied the Conqueror; "and as long as I live I will not deprive myself of my native realm, Normandy; neither will I divide it with another, for it is written in the holy evangelists, 'Every kingdom that is divided against itself shall become desolate.' [Ordericus Vitalis. S. Dunelm. P. Daniel.] I won England by mine own good sword; the vicars of Christ placed the diadem of its ancient kings on my brow and the sceptre in mine hand, and I swear that all the world combined shall not compel me to delegate my power to another. It is not to be borne, that he who owes his existence to me should aspire to be my rival in mine own dominions." But Robert scornfully rejoined, with equal pride and disrespect, "If it be inconvenient for you to keep your word, I will withdraw from Normandy and seek justice from strangers, for here I will not remain as a subject." [Ordericus Vitalis.]

With these words he quitted the royal presence, and, with a party of disaffected nobles, took refuge with Matilda's brother, Robert earl of Flanders, surnamed 'le Frison,' from his having married the countess of Friesland. From this uncle Robert received very bad advice, and the king of France endeavored, by all the means in his power, to widen the breach between the undutiful heir of Normandy and his father. Encouraged by those evil counsellors, Robert busied himself in fomenting discontents and organizing a formidable faction in his father's dominions, whence he drew large sums, in the shape of presents and loans, from many of the vassals of the ducal crown, who were willing to ingratiate themselves with the heir-apparent, and to conciliate the favor of the queen-duchess, whose partial fondness for her eldest son was well known.

The supplies thus obtained Robert improvidently lavished among his dissolute companions, both male and female. In consequence of this extravagance, he was occasionally reduced to the greatest inconvenience. When under the pressure of those pecuniary embarrassments, which could not fail to expose him to the contempt of the foreign princes who espoused his quarrel against his father, he was wont to apply to his too indulgent mother, Matilda, by whom he was so passionately beloved that she could refuse him nothing; from her private coffers she secretly supplied him with large sums of silver and gold, and when these resources were exhausted by the increasing demands of her prodigal son, Matilda had the weakness to strip herself of her jewels and rich garments for the same purpose. [Malmesbury. Ordericus Vitalis.] This system continued even when Robert had taken up arms against his father and sovereign. Roger de Beaumont—that faithful minister whom William had, previous to his first embarkation on the memorable expedition from St. Vallery, appointed as the premier of Normandy, and who had ever since assisted his royal mistress, not only with his counsels in the administration of affairs of state, but even in the education of her children—felt it his duty to inform his sovereign of the underhand proceedings of Matilda in favor of her rebel son. [Malmesbury.]

William was in England when the startling intelligence reached him of the unnatural rebellion of his first-born, and the treachery of his beloved consort, in whom he had ever reposed the most unbounded confidence. He appears scarcely to have given credence to the representations of Roger de Beaumont relating to the conduct of his queen, till, on his return to Normandy, he intercepted one of Matilda's private agents, named Sampson, who was charged with communications from the queen to Robert, which left no doubt on William's mind of the identity of the secret friend by whom his undutiful son had been supplied with the means of carrying on his plots and hostile measures against his government. [Ordericus Vitalis.] There was a stern grandeur, not unmixed with tenderness, in the reproof which he addressed to his offending consort on this occasion. "The observation of a certain philosopher is true," said he, "and I have only too much cause to admit the force of his words,—

'Naufragium rerum est mulier malefida marito:'

"'The woman who deceives her husband is the destruction of her own house.' Where in all the world could you have found a companion so faithful and devoted in his affection?" continued he, passionately. "Behold my wife, she whom I have loved as my own soul, to whom I have confided the government of my realms, my treasure, and all that I possessed in the world of power and greatness,—she hath supported mine adversary against me,—she hath strengthened and enriched him from the wealth which I confided to her keeping,—she hath secretly employed her zeal and subtlety in his cause, and done everything she could to encourage him against me!" [Ordericus Vitalis.]

Matilda's reply to this indignant but touching appeal, which her royal husband, more it should appear in sorrow than in anger, addressed to her, is no less remarkable for its impassioned eloquence than the subtlety with which she evades the principal point on which she is pressed, and intrenches herself on the strong ground of maternal love. "My lord," said she, "I pray you not to be surprised if I feel a mother's tenderness for my first-born son. By the virtue of the Most High, I protest that if my son Robert were dead, and hidden far from the sight of the living, seven feet deep in the earth, and that the price of my blood could restore him to life, I would cheerfully bid it flow. For his sake I would endure any suffering, yea, things from which, on any other occasion, the feebleness of my sex would shrink with terror. How, then, can you suppose that I could enjoy the pomp and luxuries with which I was surrounded, when I knew that he was pining in want and misery? Far from my heart be such hardness, nor ought your authority to impose such insensibility on a mother." [Ibid.]

William is reported to have turned pale with anger at this rejoinder. It was not, however, on Matilda, the object of his adoring and constant affection, that he prepared to inflict the measure of vengeance which her transgression against him had provoked. Sampson, the comparatively innocent agent whom she had employed in this transaction, was doomed to pay the dreadful penalty of the offence with the loss of sight, by the order of his enraged sovereign. [Ordericus Vitalis.] In such cases it is usual for the instrument to be the sacrifice, and persons of the kind are generally yielded up as a sort of scapegoat, or expiatory victim. But Matilda did not abandon her terrified agent in his distress; she contrived to convey a hasty intimation of his peril, and her desire of preserving him, to some of the persons who were devoted to her service; and Sampson, more fortunate than his illustrious namesake of yore, was enabled to escape the cruel sentence of his lord by taking sanctuary in the monastery of Ouche, of which Matilda was a munificent patroness. Nevertheless, as it was a serious thing to oppose the wrath of such a prince as William, the abbot Manier found no other way of securing the trembling fugitive from his vengeance, than that of causing him to be shorn, shaven, and professed a monk of Ouche the same day he entered the convent, "in happy hour both for his body and soul," observes the contemporary chronicler who relates this circumstance. [Ibid.]

It does not appear that William's affection for Matilda suffered any material diminution in consequence of these transactions, neither would he permit any one to censure her conduct in his presence. [Ibid.] She was the love of his youth, the solace of his meridian hours of life, and she preserved her empire over his mighty heart to the last hour of her life. But though the attachment of the Conqueror to his consort remained unaltered, the happiness of the royal pair was materially impaired. Robert, their first-born, was in arms against his father and sovereign, and at the head of a numerous army,—supported by the hostile power of France on the one hand, and the disaffected portion of William's subjects on the other. He had made a formidable attack on Rouen, and in several instances obtained successes which at first astonished his indignant parent, who had certainly greatly underrated the military talents of his heir. When, however, the Conqueror perceived that the filial foe who had thus audaciously displayed his rebel banner against him inherited the martial genius of his race, and was by no means unlikely to prove a match for himself in the art of war, he advanced with a mighty army to give him battle. The royals chiefs of Normandy met in hostile encounter on the plain of Archembraye, near the castle of Gerberg. William Rufus, the Conqueror's favorite son, was in close attendance on his father's person that day. This prince had already received the honor of knighthood from Lanfranc, archbishop of Canterbury, his tutor, and he was eager to assist in humbling the pride of his elder brother, over whom the Conqueror anticipated a signal triumph. [Hoveden. S. Dunelm. M. Paris. Polydore Vergil.]

The battle was fought with no common fury on both sides, but Robert, who headed a choice body of cavalry, decided the fortune of the day by his impetuous charge upon the rearward of his foes, where his royal father commanded, whose utmost endeavors to preserve order in his ranks were ineffectual. It was in this charge that Robert, unconscious who the doughty champion was against whom he tilted, ran his father through the arm with his lance, and unhorsed him. [S. Dunelm. Malmesbury. Hoveden. M. Paris.] This was the first time that William had ever been overcome in single combat, for he was one of the strongest men and most approved knights of the age in which he lived; and it is a singular fact, that in all the battles in which he had been engaged, he had never lost a drop of blood, till it was in this field drawn by the lance of his firstborn. Transported with rage at the disgrace of the overthrow, he called so loudly and angrily for rescue, that Robert recognized him, either by his voice or some of his favorite expletives, and hastily alighting, raised him from the ground in his arms with much tenderness and respect, expressed the deepest concern at the unintentional crime of which he had been guilty, for which he most humbly entreated his forgiveness, and then placing him on his own horse, he brought him safely out of the press. [S. Dunelm. M. Paris.] According to some of the historians of that period, William, instead of meeting this generous burst of feeling on the part of his penitent son with answering emotions of paternal tenderness, was so infuriated at the humiliation he had received, that he uttered a malediction against him, which all the after submissions of Robert could not induce him to retract; while others, equally deserving of credit, assert that he was so moved with the proof of Robert's dutiful reverence for his person, and the anxiety he had manifested for his safety, that he presently forgave him, and ever after held him in better respect. Both accounts may be true in part; for it is very possible, that when the conqueror of England found himself defeated by his rebel subjects on his native soil, and his hitherto invincible arm overcome by the prowess of his son (whose person he had been accustomed to mention with a contemptuous allusion to his inferiority in stature), he might, while a smart of his wound lasted, have indulged in a strong ebullition of wrathful reproach, not unmixed with execrations, of which it appears that he, in common with all Normans of that era, had an evil habit. But after his passion was abated, it is certain that he did, in compliance with the entreaties of his queen, consent to receive the submission of his victorious but penitent son. [Ordericus Vitalis.]

In this battle William Rufus was severely wounded, as well as his father, and there was a considerable slaughter of the English troops, of which the Conqueror's army was chiefly composed; for Robert had stolen the hearts of the Normans while associated in the regency with his mother Matilda, and his father considered it unsafe to oppose him with his native troops. As it was, Robert remained the master of the field, having that day given indubitable proofs of able generalship and great personal valor; but the perilous chance that had nearly rendered him the murderer of his father made so deep an impression on his mind, that he remained for a time conscience-stricken, which caused him to endeavor, by employing the intercession of his mother, to obtain a reconciliation with his offended sire. [Ibid.]

Matilda had suffered greatly in mind during the unnatural warfare between her husband and her first-born, especially after the frightful circumstance of their personal encounter in the field of Archembraye, which was fought in the year 1077. Some feelings of self-reproach might possibly mingle with her uneasiness on this occasion. Her health began to decline, and William was at length moved by her incessant pleading, and the sight of her tears, to write a letter with his own hand to Robert, inviting him "to repair to Rouen, and receive a full pardon for his late rebellion, promising at the same time to grant him everything that he could expect from the affection of a father, consistently with the duty of a king." On the receipt of this welcome letter, Robert delayed not a moment to obey the summons. He came to Rouen, attended only by three servants; he was received by his parents in the most affectionate manner, and a temporary reconciliation was effected between him and his brethren. [Ordericus Vitalis. Henderson.]

Matilda did not long enjoy the society of this beloved son; for the Conqueror's affairs in England demanding his presence, he thought proper to carry Robert with him, under the pretence that he required his services in a military capacity to defend the northern counties against the aggression of Malcolm king of Scotland, who had once more violated the treaty of peace. William's real motive for making Robert the companion of his voyage was, because he considered Matilda was too much devoted to the interest of her first-born to render it expedient for him to remain with her in Normandy.

The year 1078 [According to some historians, the survey was not generally begun till 1080. It was not fully completed till 1086.—Tindal's Notes on Rapin.] was remarkable in this country for the great national survey, which was instituted by the Conqueror for the purpose of ascertaining the precise nature of the lands and tangible property throughout England; so that, says Ingulphus, "there was not a hide of land, water, or waste, but he knew the valuation, the owners and possessors, together with the rents and profits thereof; as also of all cities, towns, villages, hamlets, monasteries, and religious houses; causing, also, all the people in England to be numbered, their names to be taken, with notice what any one might dispend by the year; their substance, money, and bondmen recorded, with their cattle, and what service they owed to him who held of him in fee: all which was certified upon the oaths of commissioners." [Ingulphus.]

Such is the account given by the learned abbot of Croyland of the particulars of William's "Great Terrar," or "Domesday-book," as it was called by the Saxons. The proceedings of the commissioners were inquisitorial enough, no doubt, since they extended to ascertaining how much money every man had in his house, and what was owing to him. That in some instances, too, they were partial in their returns is evident, by the acknowledgment of Ingulphus, when, speaking of his own monastery of Croyland, he says, "The commissioners were so kind and civil that they did not give in the true value of it:" we may therefore conclude that, whenever the proprietors made it worth their while, they were equally obliging elsewhere. Yet it was at the risk of severe punishment that any fraud, favor, connivance, or concealment was practised, by either the owners of the property or the commissioners. Robert of Gloucester, in his rhyming chronicle, gives the following quaint description of the Domesday-book:

"Then king William, to learn the worth of his land,
Let enquiry stretch throughout all England,
How many plough land, and hiden also,
Were in every shire, and what they were worth thereto;
And the rents of each town, and the waters each one,
The worth, and woods eke, and wastes where lived none:
By that he wist what he were worth of all England,
And set it clearly forth that all might understand,
And had it clearly written, and that script he put,
I wis, In the treasury of Westminster, where it still is."

[See the Chapter-house, Westminster.]

The description or survey of England was written in two books, the Great and Little Domesday-book; [The little book contains only Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex.] and when finished, they were carefully laid up in the king's treasury or exchequer, to be consulted on occasion, or, as Polydore Vergil shrewdly observes, "when it was required to know of how much more wool the English flocks might be fleeced."

Matilda, though residing chiefly in Normandy, had her distinct revenues, perquisites, and privileges as queen of England. She was allowed to claim her aurum reginae, or queen-gold; that is, the tenth part of every fine voluntary that was paid to the crown. [Prynne's Aurum Reginae.] She received from the city of London sums to furnish oil for her lamp, wood for her hearth, and tolls or imposts on goods landed at Queenhithe; with many other immunities, which the queen-consorts in latter days have not ventured to claim. The table at which the queen herself sat was furnished with viands at the daily expenditure of forty shillings. Twelve pence each was allowed for the sustenance of her hundred attendants. [The household-book of Edward IV., called the "Black Book," which cites precedents from extreme antiquity.]

The royal revenues were never richer than in this reign, and they were not charged with any of the expenses attending on the maintenance of the military force of the country, for the king had taken care to impose that burden on such persons among his followers as had been enriched with the forfeited lands of the Anglo-Saxons. Almost every landed proprietor then held his estates on the tenure of performing crown-service, and furnishing a quota of men-at-arms at the king's need or pleasure. The principal or supreme court of judicature in ordinary was called curia regis, or 'king's court,' which was always at the royal residence. There councils were held, and all affairs of state transacted; there the throne was placed, and there justice was administered to the subjects by the king, as chief magistrate. [Madox's History of the Exchequer.]

We must now return to the personal history of Matilda. The latter years of this queen were spent in Normandy, where she continued to exercise the functions of government for her royal husband. [Ordericus Vitalis.] Ordericus Vitalis relates the particulars of a visit which she paid to the monastery of Ouche, to entreat the prayers of the abbot Mainer, and his monks, in behalf of her second daughter, the lady Constance, the wife of Alan Fergeant, duke of Bretagne. This princess, who was passionately desirous of bringing an heir to Bretagne, was childless, and, to the grief of her mother, had fallen into a declining state of health. Matilda, in the hope of averting the apprehended death of the youthful duchess, sought the shrine of St. Eurole, the patron of the monks of Ouche, with prayers and offerings. She was most honorably received by the learned abbot Manier and his monks, who conducted her into the church. She offered a mark of gold on the altar there, and presented to the shrine of St. Eurole a costly ornament, adorned with precious stones, and she vowed many other godly gifts in case the saint were propitious. After this the queen-duchess dined in the common refectory, behaving at the same time with the most edifying humility, so as to leave an agreeable remembrance of her visit on the minds of the brethren, of whom the worthy chronicler (who relates this circumstance to the honor and glory of his convent) was one. [Ordericus Vitalis, the most eloquent of all the historians of that period, and the most minute and faithful in his personal records of the Conqueror, his queen and family, was, nevertheless, born in England, and of Anglo-Saxon parentage. He was ten years old at the epoch of the Norman invasion, when for better security he was, to use his own language, "conveyed with weeping eyes from his native country, to be educated in Normandy at the convent of Ouche," which finally became so dear to him, that all the affections of his heart appear to have been centred within its bounds. In his Chronicle of the Norman Sovereigns, he sometimes makes digressions of a hundred pages to descant on St. Eurole and the merits of the brethren of Ouche.]

The visit and offerings of Matilda to the shrine of St. Eurole were unavailing to prolong the life of her daughter, for the duchess Constance died in the flower of her age, after an unfruitful marriage of seven years. Her remains were conveyed to England, and interred in the abbey of St. Edmund's Bury. Like all the children of William and Matilda she had been carefully educated, and is said to have been a princess possessed of great mental acquirements. After her death, Alan duke of Bretagne married again, and had a family by his second wife; but the rich grant of English lands, with which the Conqueror had dowered his daughter Constance, he was permitted to retain, together with the title of earl of Richmond, which was long borne by the dukes of Bretagne, his successors.

The grief which the early, death of her daughter caused Matilda, was succeeded by feelings of a more painful nature, in consequence of a fresh difference between her royal husband and her beloved son, Robert. Some historians [Henderson, in his Life of the Conqueror, states that Robert was much taken with the beauty of the young Saxon lady, but that his regard was by no means of an honorable nature; and his conduct to her displeased the Conqueror so much, that, to punish his son for insults offered to his beautiful ward, he forbade him the court.] assert that this was occasioned by the refusal of the prince to marry the young and lovely heiress of earl Waltheof, which greatly displeased his father, who was desirous of conciliating his English subjects by such an alliance, and, at the same time, of making some atonement for the murder of the unfortunate Saxon chief, which always appears to have been a painful subject of reflection to him.

About this time, Matilda, hearing that a German hermit, of great sanctity, was possessed of the gift of prophecy, sent to entreat his prayers for her jarring son and husband, and requested his opinion as to what would be the result. [Ordericus Vitalis.] The hermit gave a very affectionate reception to the envoys of the queen, but demanded three days before he delivered his reply to her questions. On the third day he sent for the messengers, and gave his answer in the following strain of oracular allegory. "Return to your mistress," said he, "and tell her I have prayed to God in her behalf, and the Most High has made known to me in a dream the things she desires to learn. I saw in my vision a beautiful pasture, covered with grass and flowers, and a noble charger feeding therein. A numerous herd gathered round about, eager to enter and share the feast, but the fiery charger would not permit them to approach near enough to crop the flowers and herbage. But, alas! the majestic steed, in the midst of his pride and courage, died, his terror departed with him, and a poor silly steer appeared in his place, as the guardian of the pasture. Then the throng of meaner animals, who had hitherto feared to approach, rushed in, and trampled the flowers and grass beneath their feet, and that which they could not devour they defiled and destroyed. I will explain the mystery couched in this parable. The steed is William of Normandy, the conqueror of England, who, by his wisdom, courage, and power, keeps the surrounding foes of Normandy in awe. Robert is the dull, inactive beast who will succeed him; and then those baser sort of animals, the envious princes, who have long watched for the opportunity of attacking this fair, fruitful pasture, Normandy, will overrun the land, and destroy all the prosperity which its present sovereign has established. Illustrious lady, if, after hearing the words of the vision in which the Lord has vouchsafed to reply to my prayers-, you do not labor to restore the peace of Normandy, you will henceforth behold nothing but misery, the death of your royal spouse, the ruin of all your race, and the desolation of your beloved country." [Ordericus Vitalis.] This clever apologue, in which some sagacious advice was implied, Matilda took for a prediction; and this idea, together with the increasing dissensions in her family, pressed heavily on her mind, and is supposed to have occasioned the lingering illness which slowly, but surely, conducted her to the tomb.

The evidence of a charter signed by William king of England, Matildis the queen, earl Robert, son of the king, earl William, son of the king, and earl Henry, son of the king, proves that a meeting had taken place between these illustrious personages in the year 1082. The charter recites that "William, king of England and Normandy, and his wife Matildis, daughter of Baldwin duke of Flanders, and niece of Henry king of France, conceded to the church of the Holy Trinity at Caen, for the good of their souls, the manors of Nailsworth, Felstede, Pinbury, and other lands in England." [A copy of this charter is in the Bibliotheque, Paris.] The restitution of the said lands to their lawful owners or their heirs, would certainly have been a more acceptable work in the sight of the God of mercy and justice, than the oblation of wrong and robbery which was thus dedicated to his service by the mighty Norman conqueror and his dying consort. Nailsworth being part of the manor of Minching-hampton, in Gloucestershire, was a portion of the spoils of the unfortunate Brihtric Meaw, which Matilda, in the last year of her life, thus transferred to the church, in the delusive idea of atoning for the crime by which she obtained the temporal goods of him who had rejected her youthful love.

Matilda's last illness was attended with great depression of spirits. She endeavored to obtain comfort by redoubling her devotional exercises and alms. She confessed her sins frequently, and with bitter tears. It is to be hoped that a feeling of true penitence was mingled with the affliction of the queen, who, at the highest pinnacle of earthly grandeur, afforded a melancholy exemplification of the vanity and insufficiency of the envied distinctions with which she was surrounded, and was dying of a broken heart. [Ordericus Vitalis.] As soon as William, who was in England, was informed of the danger of his beloved consort, he hastily embarked for Normandy, and arrived at Caen in time to receive her last farewell. [Malmesbury. Hoveden. Ingulphus. Ordericus Vitalis.]

After Matilda had received the consolations of religion, she expired on the 2nd of November, or, according to some historians, the 3rd of that month, anno 1083, in the fifty-second year of her age, having borne the title of queen of England seventeen years, and duchess of Normandy upwards of thirty-one. Her body was carried to the convent of the Holy Trinity at Caen, which she had built and munificently endowed. The corpse of the queen-duchess was reverentially received, at the portal of the church, by a numerous procession of bishops and abbots, conducted within the choir, and deposited before the high altar. Her obsequies were celebrated with great pomp and solemnity by the monks and clerks, and attended by a vast concourse of the poor, to whom she had been throughout life a generous benefactress, "and frequently," says Ordericus Vitalis, "relieved with bounteous alms, in the name of her Redeemer."
A magnificent tomb was raised to her memory by her sorrowing lord, adorned with precious stones and elaborate sculpture: and her epitaph, in Latin verse, was emblazoned thereon in letters of gold, setting forth in pompous language the lofty birth and noble qualities of the illustrious dead. The following is a translation of the quaint monkish rhymes, which defy the imitative powers of modern poetry:—

"Here rests within this fair and stately tomb,
Matilda, scion of a regal line;
The Flemish duke her sire, (1) and Adelais
Her mother, to great Robert king of France
Daughter, and sister to his royal heir.
In wedlock to our mighty William joined,
She built this holy temple, and endowed
With lands and goodly gifts.
She, the true friend Of piety and soother of distress,
Enriching others, indigent herself,
Reserving all her treasures for the poor;
And, by such deeds as these, she merited
To be partaker of eternal life:
To which she pass'd November 2, 1083."

(1) [Baldwin, Matilda's father, was the descendant of 'the six foresters,' as the first sovereigns of Flanders were called.]

Matilda's will, which is in the register of the abbey of the Holy Trinity of Caen, [Ducarel's Norman Antiquities.] fully bears out the assertion of her epitaph touching her poverty; since, from the items in this curious and interesting record, it is plain that the first of our Anglo-Norman queens had little to leave in the way of personal property: the bulk of her landed possessions was already settled on her son Henry. "I give," says the royal testatrix, "to the abbey of the Holy Trinity my tunic, worked at Winchester by Alderet's wife; and the mantle embroidered with gold, which is in my chamber, to make a cope. Of my two golden girdles, I give that which is ornamented with emblems, for the purpose of suspending the lamp before the great altar. I give my large candelabra, made at St. Lo, my crown, my sceptre, my cups in their cases, another cup made in England, with all my horse-trappings, and all my vessels; and lastly, I give the lands of Quetchou and Cotentin, except those which I may already have disposed of in my lifetime, with two dwellings in England; and I have made all these bequests with the consent of my husband."

It is amusing to trace the feminine feeling with regard to dress and bijouterie which has led the dying queen to enumerate, in her last will and testament, her embroidered tunic, girdle, and mantle, with sundry other personal decorations, before she mentions the lands of Quetchou and Cotentin, and her two dwellings in England,—objects evidently of far less importance, in her opinion, than her rich array. Ducarel tells us that among the records preserved in the archives of the Holy Trinity at Caen, there is a curious MS. containing an account of Matilda the royal foundress's wardrobe, jewels, and toilette; but he was unable to obtain a sight of this precious document, because of the jealous care with which it was guarded by those holy ladies, the abbess and nuns of that convent. [Ducarel's Norman Antiquities.]

Matilda did not live long enough to complete her embroidered chronicle of the conquest of England. The outline of the pattern traced on the bare canvas in several places, in readiness for her patient needle, affords, after the lapse of nearly eight centuries, a moral comment on the uncertainty of human life,—the vanity of human undertakings, which, in the aggregate, are arrested in full career by the hand of death, and remain, like the Bayeux tapestry, unfinished fragments.

Till the middle of the seventeenth century, the portraits of Matilda and William were carefully preserved on the walls of St. Stephen's chapel at Caen. The queen had caused these portraits to be painted when this magnificent endowment was founded. [Montfaucon's Monumens de la Monarchie Francoise.] We have seen, by the Bayeux tapestry, that Matilda took great delight in pictorial memorials; and if we may judge by the engraving from this portrait, preserved in Montfaucon, it were a pity that so much grace and beauty should fade from the earth without remembrance. Her costume is singularly dignified and becoming. The robe simply gathered round the throat, a flowing veil falling from the back of the head on the shoulders, is confined by an elegant circlet of gems. The face is beautiful and delicate; the hair falls in waving tresses round her throat; with one hand she confines her drapery, and holds a book; she extends her sceptre with the other, in an attitude full of grace and dignity. Montfaucon declares that this painting was actually copied from the wall, before the room in which it was preserved was pulled down. The elegance of the design and costume ought not to raise doubts of its authenticity, for it is well known that all remains of art were much better executed before the destruction of Constantinople than after that period. Female costume, with the exception of some tasteless attire which crept into the uproarious court of William Rufus, was extremely graceful; the noble circlet, the flowing transparent veil, the natural curls parted on each side of the brow, the vestal stole, drawn just round the neck in regular folds, the falling sleeves, the gemmed zone, confining the plaits of a garment that swept the ground in rich fulness, altogether formed a costume which would not have disgraced a Grecian statue. We shall sec this elegant style of dress superseded in time by the monstrous Syrian conical caps, or by horned head-tire, and the heraldic tabards and surcoats, seemingly made of patchwork, which deformed the female figure in succeeding ages; but we must not look for these barbarisms at the date of Matilda's portrait.

Matilda bore ten children to her royal spouse,—namely, four sons and six daughters. Robert, surnamed Courthose, her eldest son, succeeded his father as duke of Normandy. This darling son of Matilda's heart is thus described in the old chronicler's lines:—

"He was y-wox [grown] ere his fader to England came,
Thick man he was enow, but not well long;
Square was he, and well made for to be strong.
Before his fader, once on a time he did sturdy deed,
When he was young, who beheld him, and these words said:
'By the uprising of God, Robelyn me sail see,
The Courthose, my young son, a stalwart knight sail be;'—
For he was somewhat short, so he named him Courthose,
And he might never after this name lose.
He was quiet of counsel and speech, and of body strong,
Never yet man of might in Christendom, ne in Paynim,
In battail from his steed could bring him down."

After the death of Matilda, Robert broke out into open revolt against his royal father once more; and the Conqueror, in his famous death-bed speech and confession, alluded to this conduct with great bitterness, when he spoke of the disposition of his dominions. These were the words of the dying monarch: "The dukedom of Normandy, before I fought in the vale Sanguelac, with Harold, I granted unto my son Robert, for that he is my first begotten; and having received the homage of his baronage, that honor given cannot be revoked. Yet I know that it will be a miserable reign which is subject to the rule of his goverment, for he is a foolish, proud knave, and is to be punished with cruel fortune." [See death-bed speech of the Conqueror, in Speed's Chronicle.]Robert acquired the additional cognomen of the Unready, from the circumstance of being always out of the way when the golden opportunity of improving his fortunes occurred.

Robert, though an indifferent politician, was a gallant knight and a skilful general. He joined the crusade under Godfrey of Boulogne, and so greatly distinguished himself at the taking of the holy city, that of all the Christian princes, his fellow-crusaders, he was judged most deserving of the crown of Jerusalem. This election was made on the Easter-eve as they all stood at the high altar in the temple, each holding an unlighted wax-taper in his hand, and beseeching God to direct their choice; when the taper which duke Robert held becoming ignited without any visible agency, it was regarded by the rest of the Croises as a miraculous intimation in his favor, and he was entreated to accept the kingdom, [Matthew Paris.] but he declined it, under the idea that he should obtain the crown of England.

Richard, the second son of William the Conqueror and Matilda, died in England in the lifetime of his parents, as we have already stated. William, their third son, surnamed Rufus, or Rous, ["Apres William Bastardus regna Will. le Rous."—Fitz-Stephen's Chronicle.] from the color of his hair, and called by the Saxon historians 'the red king,' succeeded to the crown of England after his father's death. Henry, the fourth and youngest son of William and Matilda, won the surname of Beauclerc by his scholastic attainments, and succeeded to the throne of England after the death of William Rufus. The personal history of this prince will be found in the memoirs of his two queens, Matilda of Scotland, and Adelicia of Louvaine.

There is great confusion among historians and genealogists respecting the names of the daughters of Matilda and the Conqueror, and the order of their birth. William of Malmesbury, who wrote in the reign of Henry I., when enumerating the daughters of the Conqueror, says, "Cecilia the abbess of Caen still survives." The generality of historians mention Constance, the wife of Alan duke of Bretagne, as the second daughter of this illustrious pair. Ordericus Vitalis, a contemporary, calls her the third [Ordericus Vitalis. William of Malmesbury.] and Agatha the second daughter. Of Agatha he relates the following interesting particulars: "This princess, who had been formerly affianced to Harold, was demanded of her father in marriage by Alphonso king of Galicia, but manifested the greatest repugnance to this alliance." She told her father "that her heart was devoted to her first spouse, and that she should consider it an abomination if she gave her hand to another. She had seen and loved her Saxon betrothed, and she revolted from a union with the foreign monarch whom she had never seen;" and bursting into tears, she added, with passionate emotion, "that she prayed that the Most High would rather take her to himself than allow her ever to be transported into Spain." Her prayer was granted, and the reluctant bride died on her journey to her unknown lord. Her remains were conveyed to her native land, and interred at Bayeux, in the church of St. Mary the perpetual Virgin. [Ordericus Vitalis.]

Sandford calls this princess the sixth daughter. If so, she could not have been the betrothed of Harold, but of earl Edwin; and, indeed, if we reflect on the great disparity in age between Harold and the younger daughters of William of Normandy, and take into consideration the circumstances of his breach of contract with the little Norman lady by wedding Algitha, it is scarcely probable that his memory could have been cherished with the passionate fondness Ordericus Vitalis attributes to the lady Agatha; whereas Edwin was young, and, remarkable for his beauty, had, in all probability, been privileged with some intimacy with the princess, whom the Conqueror had promised to bestow on him in marriage. The breach of this promise on the part of William, too, was the cause of Edwin's revolt, which implies that the youthful thane was deeply wounded at the refusal of the Norman; and it is at least probable, that to the princess who had innocently been made a snare to him by her guileful sire, he might have become an object of the tenderest affection. Malmesbury, speaking of this princess, says, "Agatha, to whom God granted a virgin death, was so devoted to the exercises of religion, that after her decease it was discovered that her knees had become hard, like horn, with constant kneeling." [Ordericus Vitalis. Malmesbury.] Perhaps this is the same princess whom Ordericus Vitalis mentions as their fourth daughter, of whom he says, "Adelaide, very fair and very noble, recommended herself entirely to a life of devotion, and made a holy end, under the direction of Roger de Beaumont."

Adela, or Adelicia, generally classed as the fourth daughter of William and Matilda, Ordericus Vitalis places as the fifth, and says, "She was sought in marriage by Stephen earl of Blois, who was desirous of allying himself with the aspiring family of the Conqueror, and by the advice of William's councillors she was united to him." The marriage took place at Breteuil, and the marriage fetes were celebrated at Chartres. This princess was a learned woman, and possessed of considerable diplomatic talents. She had four sons: William, an idiot; Thibaut, surnamed the great earl of Champagne; Stephen de Blois, who succeeded to the English throne after the death of Henry I.; and Henry bishop of Winchester. After the death of the count de Blois, her husband, the countess Adela took the veil at Marigney. [Ordericus Vitalis.]

Gundred, or Gundreda, the sixth and youngest daughter of the Conqueror and Matilda, was married to William de Warren, a powerful Norman noble, and the first earl of Surrey in England. By him the lady Gundred had two sons: William, the successor of his father and the progenitor of a mighty line of earls of that family, and Rainold, who died without issue. Gundred only survived her royal mother two years. She died, anno 1085, in child-bed at Castleacre in Norfolk, and is buried in the chapter-house of St. Pancras church, within the priory, at Lewes in Sussex. [Sandford. St. Pancras church and monastery had been founded and munificently endowed by her lord, for the health (as his charter recites) of his soul, and the soul of Gundred his wife, and for the soul of king William, who brought him into England . . . for the health also of queen Maud, mother of his wife, and for the health of king William her son, who made him earl of Surrey.—Horsfield's Hist. of the Antiquities of Sussex, p. 232. Warren, though one of the most ferocious and rapacious of William's followers, was tenderly attached to his wife, whom he scarcely survived three years. The remains of both were discovered, October 28th, 1845, by the workmen in forming a cutting for the Lewes and Brighton railroad through the grounds of St. Pancras priory, in two leaden coffins, with the simple inscription of Gundrada on the one, and Willelmus on the other. They are now deposited in Southover church, together with a tablet, previously discovered, which preserves part of the mutilated monastic verses that commemorated her virtues. They have been thus beautifully translated into modern English rhymes by the learned historian of Lewes:—

"Gundred, illustrious branch of princely race,
Brought into England's church balsamic grace;
Pious as Mary, and as Martha kind,
To generous deeds she gave her virtuous mind.
Though the cold tomb her Martha's part receives,
Her Mary's better part forever lives.
O holy Pancras! keep, with gracious care,
A mother who has made thy sons her heir.
On the sixth calend of June's fatal morn,
The marble . . "

One of the most remarkable tokens of the interest excited by the discovery of these remains of the youngest daughter of the Conqueror and queen Matilda may be considered the fact, that an eloquent sermon was preached by the Rev. J. Wood, to a Unitarian congregation at Westgate, on the occasion.]

The death of his beloved queen Matilda afflicted the Conqueror very deeply. He wept excessively for many days after her decease; and to testify how keenly he felt her loss, he renounced his favorite amusement of hunting, and all the boisterous sports in which he formerly delighted. [Ordericus Vitalis.] After this event his temper became melancholy and irritable, to which, indeed, a train of public calamities and domestic vexations might in a great measure have contributed. To the honor of Matilda, it has been asserted by sonic of the historians of the period, that she used her influence over the mind of her mighty lord for the mitigation of the sufferings of the people whom he had subjugated to his yoke. Thomas Rudborne, the author of the Annals of Winton, says. "King William, by the advice of Matilda, treated the English kindly as long as she lived, but after her death he became a thorough tyrant." [Thomas Rudborne, Hist. Major.] It is certainly true, that after Matilda left England in 1070, the condition of the people became infinitely worse, and it is possible that it might have been aggravated by her death. Not only the happiness, but the worldly prosperity of William appeared sensibly diminished during his widowed state. In the course of the four years that he survived his consort, he experienced nothing but trouble and disquiet. [Malmesbury. Ordericus Vitalis.]

William met with the accident which caused his death at the storming of the city of Mantes. He had roused himself from a sick bed to execute a terrible vengeance on the French border, for the ribald joke which his old antagonist, the king of France, had passed on his malady; and in pursuance of his declaration "that he would set all France in a blaze at his uprising," he had ordered the city to be fired. While he was, with savage fury, encouraging his soldiers to pursue the work of destruction to which he had incited them, his horse, chancing to set his foot on a piece of burning timber, started, and occasioned his lord so severe an injury from the pummel of the saddle, as to bring on a violent access of fever. [Malmesbury.] Being unable to remount his horse, after an accident which must have appeared to him like a retributive chastisement for the barbarous deed in which he was engaged, he was conveyed in a litter to Rouen, where, perceiving he drew near his end, he began to experience some compunctious visitings of conscience for the crimes and oppressions of which he had been guilty, and endeavored to make some self-deceiving reparation for his wrongs.

In the first place, he ordered large sums to be distributed to the poor, and likewise for the building of churches, especially those which he had recently burnt at Mantes; next he set all the Saxon prisoners at liberty whom he had detained in his Norman prisons; among them were Morcar, and Ulnoth the brother of Harold, who had remained in captivity from his childhood, when he was given in hostage by earl Godwin to Edward the Confessor. The heart of the dying monarch being deeply touched with remorse, he confessed that he had done Morcar much wrong: he bitterly bewailed the blood he had shed in England, and the desolation and woe he had caused in Hampshire for the sake of planting the New Forest, protesting "that having so misused that fair and beautiful land, he dared not appoint a successor to it, but left the disposal of that matter in the hands of God." [See William's death-bed confession in Speed.] He had, however, taken some pains, by writing a letter to Lanfranc expressive of his earnest wish that William Rufus should succeed him in his regal dignity, and to secure the crown of England to this his favorite son,—for whom he called as soon as he had concluded his deathbed confessions,—and sealing the letter with his own seal, he put it into the hands of the prince, bidding him hasten to England with all speed, and deliver it to the archbishop, blessed him with a farewell kiss, and dismissed him.

When the conqueror had settled his temporal affairs, he caused himself to be removed to Hermentrude, a pleasant village near Rouen, [Eadmer.] that he might be more at liberty to prepare himself for death. On the 9th of September the awful change which he awaited took place. Hearing the sound of the great bell in the metropolitan church of St. Gervase, near Rouen, William, raising his exhausted frame from the supporting pillows, asked "What it meant?" [Ordericus Vitalis. Malmesbury.] One of his attendants replying "that it then rang prime to Our Lady," the dying monarch, lifting his eyes to heaven, and spreading abroad his hands, exclaimed, "I commend myself to that blessed lady, Mary the mother of God, that she by her holy intercession may reconcile me to her most dear son, our Lord Jesus Christ;" and with these words he expired, in the sixty-fourth year of his age, 1087, after a reign of fifty-two years in Normandy, and twenty-one in England.

His eldest son, Robert, was absent in Germany at the time of his death; [Ordericus Vitalis. Brompton.] William was on his voyage to England; Henry, who had taken charge of his obsequies, suddenly departed on some self-interested business; and all the great officers of the court having dispersed themselves, some to offer their homage to Robert, and others to William, the inferior servants of the household, with some of their rapacious confederates, took the opportunity of plundering the house where their sovereign had just breathed his last of all the money, plate, wearing apparel, hangings, and precious furniture; they even stripped the person of the royal dead, and left his body naked upon the floor. [Ordericus Vitalis. Brompton. Malmesbury. Speed.]

Every one appeared struck with consternation and dismay, and neither the proper officers of state nor the sons of the deceased king issuing the necessary orders respecting the funeral, the remains of the Conqueror were left wholly neglected, till Herlewin, a poor country knight,—but in all probability the same Herlewin who married his mother Arlotta,—undertook to convey the royal corpse to Caen, at his own cost, for interment in the abbey of St. Stephen, where it was met by prince Henry and a procession of monks. [Ibid.] Scarcely, however, had the burial rites commenced, when there was a terrible alarm of fire in that quarter of the town; and as there was great danger of the devouring element communicating to the cloisters of St. Stephen, the monks, who were far more concerned for the preservation of their stately abbey than for the lifeless remains of the munificent founder, scampered out of the church, without the slightest regard to decency or the remonstrances of prince Henry and the faithful Herlewin. The example of the ecclesiastics was followed by the secular attendants, so that the hearse of the mighty William was in a manner wholly deserted till the conflagration was suppressed. [Ibid.] The monks then re-entered the holy fane and proceeded with the solemnity, if so it might be called; but the interruptions and accidents with which it had been marked were not yet ended, for when the funeral sermon was finished, the stone coffin set in the grave which had been dug in the chancel between the choir and the altar, and the body ready to be laid therein, [Speed.] Anselm Fitz-Arthur, a Norman gentleman, stood forth and forbade the interment: "This spot," said he, "was the site of my father's house, which this dead duke took violently from him, and here, upon part of mine inheritance, founded this church. This ground I therefore challenge, and I charge ye all, as ye shall answer it at the great and dreadful day of judgment, that ye lay not the bones of the despoiler on the hearth of my fathers." [Eadmer. Malmesbury. Ordericus Vitalis.]

The Death of William the Conqueror.

The effect of this bold appeal of a solitary individual, was an instant pause in the burial rite of the deceased sovereign. The claims of Anselm Fitz-Arthur were examined and his rights recognized by prince Henry, who prevailed upon him to accept sixty shillings as the price of the grave, and to suffer the interment of his royal father to proceed, on the condition of his pledging himself to pay the full value of the rest of the land. [Ordericus Vitalis. M. Paris.] The compensation was stipulated between Anselm Fitz-Arthur and prince Henry, standing on either side the grave, on the verge of which the unburied remains of the Conqueror rested, while the agreement was ratified in the presence of the mourners and assistant priests and monks, whereby Henry promised to pay, and Fitz-Arthur to receive, one hundred pounds of silver, as the purchase of the ground on which William had, thirty-five years previously, wrongfully founded the abbey of St. Stephen's, to purchase a dispensation from the pope for his marriage with his cousin Matilda of Flanders. The bargain having been struck, and the payment of the sixty shillings earnest-money (for the occupation of the seven feet of earth required as the last abode of the conqueror of England) being tendered by the prince and received by Fitz-Arthur,—strange interlude as it was in a royal funeral,—the obseiquies were suffered to proceed. The Saxon chroniclers have taken evident pleasure in enlarging on all the mischances and humiliations which befell the unconscious clay of their great national adversary in its passage to the tomb; yet, surely, so singular a chapter of accidents was never yet recorded as occurred to the corpse of this mighty sovereign, who died in the plenitude of his power.

William of Normandy was remarkable for his personal strength, and for the majestic beauty of his countenance. It has been said of him, that no one but himself could bend his bow, and that he could, when riding at full speed, discharge either arblast or long-bow with unerring aim. [Robert of Gloucester. W. Malmesbury.] His forehead was high and bald, his aspect stern and commanding; yet he could, when it pleased him to do so, assume such winning sweetness in his looks and manner as could scarcely be resisted, but when in anger, no man could meet the terror of his eye. [W. Malmesbury.] Like Saul, he was, from the shoulders upwards, taller than the rest of his subjects; before he became too corpulent, his figure was finely proportioned.

The loftiness of stature which contemporary chroniclers have ascribed to William the Conqueror was fully confirmed by the post-mortem examination of his body, which was made by the bishop of Bayeux in the year 1542, when, prompted by a strong desire to behold the remains of this great sovereign, he obtained leave to open his tomb. [Ducarel's Norman Antiquities.] On removing the stone cover, the body, which was corpulent, and exceeding in stature the tallest man then known, appeared as entire as when it was first buried. Within the tomb lay a plate of copper gilt, oil which was engraved an inscription in Latin verse. [Thomas, archbishop of York, was the author of the Latin verse, of which the following lines present a close translation, not unpoetical in its antique simplicity:

"He who the sturdy Normans ruled, and over England reigned,
And stoutly won and strongly kept what he had so obtained;
And did the swords of those of Maine by force bring under awe,
And made them under his command live subject to his law;
This great king William lieth here entombed in little grave,—
So great a lord so small a house sufficeth him to have.
When Phoebus in the Virgin's lap his circled course applied,
And twenty-three degrees had past, e'en at that time he died."]

The bishop, who was greatly surprised at finding the body in such perfect preservation, caused a painting to be executed of the royal remains, in the state in which they then appeared, by the best artist in Caen, and caused it to be hung up on the abbey wall, opposite to the monument. The tomb was then carefully closed, but in 1562, when the Calvinists under Chastillon took Caen, a party of the rapacious soldiers forced it open, in hope of meeting with a treasure; but finding nothing more than the bones of the Conqueror wrapped in red taffeta, they threw them about the church in great derision. Viscount Falaise, having obtained from the rioters one of the thigh-bones, it was by him deposited in the royal grave. Monsieur le Bras, who saw this bone, testified that it was longer by the breadth of his four fingers than that of the tallest man he had ever seen. [The picture of the remains, which had been painted by the order of the bishop of Bayeux, fell into the hands of Peter Ildo, the jailer of Caen, who was one of the spoilers, and he converted one part into a table, and the other into a cupboard door; which proves that this portrait was not painted on canvas, but, as usual, on wood. Some years after, these curious relics were discovered and reclaimed by M. le Bras, in whose possession they remained till his death.—Ducarel's Norman Antiquities.]The fanatic spoilers also entered the church of the Holy Trinity, threatening the same violence to the remains of Matilda. The entreaties and tears of the abbess and her nuns had no effect on men, who considered the destruction of church ornaments and monumental sculpture a service to God quite sufficient to atone for the sacrilegious violence of defacing a temple consecrated to his worship, and rifling the sepulchres of the dead. They threw down the monument, and broke the effigies of the queen which lay thereon. On opening the grave in which the royal corpse was deposited, one of the party observing that there was a gold ring set with a fine sapphire on one of the queen's fingers, took it off, and, with more gallantry than might have been expected from such a person, presented it to the abbess, madame Anna de Montmorenci, who afterwards gave it to her father, the constable of France, when he attended Charles IX. to Caen, in the year 1563. [Ducarel.]

In 1642 the monks of St. Stephen collected the bones of their royal patron, William of Normandy, and built a plain altar-shaped tomb over them, on the spot where the original monument stood in the chancel. The nuns of the Holy Trinity, with equal zeal, caused the broken fragments of Matilda's statue and monument to be restored, and placed over her grave, near the middle of the choir, on a tomb of black and white marble, three feet high and six long, in the shape of a coffin, surrounded with iron spikes, and hung with ancient tapestry. [Ducarel.]

The restored monument of Matilda remained undisturbed till nearly the close of the last century, when the French republicans paid one of their destructive visits to the church of the Holy Trinity at Caen, and, among other outrages against taste and feeling, swept away this memorial of its royal foundress; [Ibid.] but while a single arch of that majestic and time-honored fane, the church of the Holy Trinity, survives, the first of our Anglo-Norman queens, Matilda of Flanders, will require no other monument.

Matilda of Scotland

Queen of Henry I.


Ancestry of Matilda—Direct descent from Alfred—Margaret Atheling her mother—Marries the king of Scotland—Matilda's birth—Her godfather—Education—First suitor—Her father invades England—His death—Her mother's grief—Pious death—Revolution in Scotland—Edgar Atheling carries the royal family to England—Princesses Matilda and Mary—Placed in Romsey abbey—Their aunt, abbess Christina—Matilda's brother Edgar—Restored to the throne of Scotland—The Atheling a crusader—Matilda at Wilton abbey—Her literary education—Attachment between Matilda and Henry Beauelerc—Her other suitors—Early life of Henry—Education at Cambridge—Surname—Literary work by him—Legacy at the Conqueror's death—Poverty of Henry—Affronted by Matilda's suitor, earl Warren—Courtship of Matilda—Harsh rule of lady Christina—Henry seizes the English throne—Asks Matilda's hand—Opposition of her aunt—Council of the church—Matilda's evidence—Her scruples—Importuned by Anglo-Saxons—Consents—Address to her by Anselm—Consent of the people—Her marriage and coronation—Saxon laws restored.

When we consider the perils to which the representatives of our ancient line of sovereigns, Edgar Atheling and his sisters, were exposed during the unsurpation of Harold and the Norman reigns of terror, it almost appears as if an overruling Providence had guarded these descendants of the great Alfred, for the purpose of continuing the lineage of that patriot king on the throne of these realms, through the marriage of Henry I. with the daughter of Margaret Atheling, Matilda of Scotland. This princess, the subject of our present biography, is distinguished among the many illustrious females that have worn the crown-matrimonial of England by the title of "the good queen;" a title which, eloquent in its simplicity, briefly implies that she possessed not only the great and shining qualities calculated to add lustre to a throne, but that she employed them in promoting the happiness of all classes of her subjects, affording at the same time a bright example of the lovely and endearing attributes which should adorn the female character.

Some historians call this princess Matilda Atheling, and by these she is almost invested with the dignity of a queen-regnant, as the heiress of the Anglo-Saxon monarchs. In the same spirit, her grandson and representative, Henry II., is designated 'the restorer of the English royal line.' This is, however, as Blackstone justly observes, "a great error, for the rights of Margaret Atheling to the English succession were vested in her sons, and not in her daughter." [Blackstone's Commentaries, vol. i.] James I., on his accession to the throne of England, failed not to set forth that important leaf in his pedigree, and laid due stress on the circumstance of his descent from the ancient line of English sovereigns by the elder blood. Alexander, the archdeacon of Salisbury (who wrote the Tracts of the Exchequer, quoted by Gervase of Tilbury in his celebrated Dialogues of the Exchequer), has gravely set forth, in his red-book, a pedigree of Matilda of Scotland, tracing her descent in an unbroken line up to Adam. There is a strange medley of Christian kings and pagan sinners, such as Woden and Balder, with the Jewish patriarchs of holy writ, in this royal genealogy. [Lib. Rud. fol. notata 4.]

Matilda is the only princess of Scotland who ever shared the throne of a king of England. It is, however, from her maternal ancestry that she derives her great interest as connected with the annals of this country. Her mother, Margaret Atheling, was the grand-daughter of Edmund Ironside, and the daughter of Edward Atheling, surnamed the Outlaw, by a German princess, erroneously stated by English historians to have been Agatha, daughter of the emperor Henry II. of Germany. [The most authentic account of the maternal pedigree of Margaret Atheling will be found in Drummond's Noble Families of England and Scotland,—article, Bruce.] Her brother, Edgar Atheling, so often mentioned in the preceding biography, feeling some reason to mistrust the apparent friendship of William the Conqueror, privately withdrew from his court, and in the year 1068 (the same year in which Henry I. was born), took shipping with Margaret, and their younger sister Christina and their mother, intending to seek a refuge in Hungary with their royal kindred; but, by stress of weather, the vessel in which they, with many other English exiles, were embarked, was driven into the Firth of Forth. Malcolm Canmore, the young unmarried king of Scotland, who had just regained his dominions from the usurper Macbeth, happened to be present when the royal fugitives landed, and was so struck with the beauty of the lady Margaret Atheling, that in a few days he asked her in marriage of her brother. Edgar joyfully gave the hand of the dowerless princess to the young and handsome sovereign, who had received the exiled English in the most generous and honorable manner, and whose disinterested affection was sufficient testimony of the nobleness of his disposition. The spot where Margaret first set her foot on the Scottish land was, in memory of that circumstance, called Queen's Ferry, the name it bears to this day.

The Saxon chronicler, of whom this lady is an especial favorite, indulges in a most edifying homily on the providence which led the holy Margaret to become the spouse of the king of Scotland, who is evidently regarded by the cowled historian as little better than a pagan. Certain it is that the mighty son of 'the gracious Duncan' could neither read nor write. After her marriage, the Saxon princess became the happy instrument of diffusing the blessings of Christianity throughout her husband's dominions, commencing the work of conversion in the proper place,—her own household and the court. The influence which her personal charms had in the first instance won over the heart of her royal husband her virtues and mental powers increased and retained to the last hour of Malcolm's existence. He reposed the most unbounded confidence, not only in the principles, but the judgment of his English consort, who became the domestic legislator of the realm. She dismissed from the palace all persons who were convicted of leading immoral lives, or who were guilty of fraud or injustice, and allowed no persons to hold offices in the royal household unless they conducted themselves in a sober and discreet manner; observing, moreover, that the Scotch nobles had an irreverent habit of rising from table before grace could be pronounced by her pious chaplain Turgot, she rewarded those of the more civilized chiefs who could be induced to attend the performance of that edifying ceremony, with a cup of the choicest wine. The temptation of such a bribe was too powerful to be resisted by the hitherto perverse and graceless peers, and by degrees the custom became so popular, that every guest was eager to claim his 'grace-cup;' the fashion spread from the palace to the castles of the nobility, and thence descending to the dwellings of their humbler neighbors, became an established usage in the land.

Many deeply interesting, as well as amusing particulars, connected with the parents of Matilda of Scotland, the subject of our present memoir, have been preserved by the learned Turgot, the historian of this royal family, who, in his capacity of confessor to queen Margaret, and preceptor to her children, [Turgot was a Saxon of good family, born in Lincolnshire. He was delivered as a hostage to William the Conqueror, and shut up by him in Lincoln castle. From thence he escaped to Norway. Returning from that country, he was shipwrecked on the English coast, and having lost everything he possessed in the world, he became a priest, and distinguished himself so much by his learning and piety, that he was promoted to be prior of Durham. When Margaret Atheling became queen of Scotland, she preferred him to the office of her confessor. He followed the fortunes of his royal pupil Matilda, the daughter of his illustrious patroness, after her marriage with Henry I.; and we find that the English monarch, who possibly wished to remove him from the queen, in 1107 warmly recommended him to his royal brother-in-law, Edgar of Scotland, as a fit person to be appointed to the bishopric of St. Andrew's. Turgot, however, died prior of Durham. He is said to have been the author of the chronicle of Durham which goes by the name of "Simeon of Durham," and has been appropriated by a contemporary monk of that name. Turgot's Chronicle of the lives of his royal mistress Margaret Atheling, and her consort Malcolm Canmore, king of Scotland, has been preserved by Fordun, and is frequently cited by sir David Dalrymple.—Nicholson. Henry.] enjoyed opportunities of becoming acquainted not only with all personal particulars respecting these illustrious individuals, but of learning their most private thoughts and feelings. Turgot gives great commendation to his royal mistress for the conscientious care she bestowed on the education of her children, whose preceptors she enjoined to punish them as often as their faults required correction.

Matilda, the subject of this memoir, was her eldest daughter, and was probably born in the year 1079. This we infer from the remarkable circumstance of the elder brother of her future husband, Robert Courthose, being her godfather. [Sir J. Hayward. William of Malmesbury.] Malcolm Canmore, her father, invaded England in that year, and Robert of Normandy was, on his reconciliation with his father, William the Conqueror, sent with a military force to repel this northern attack. Robert, finding his forces inadequate to maintain successfully a war of aggression, entered into a negotiation with the Scottish monarch, which ended in a friendly treaty. Malcolm renewed his homage for Cumberland; and Robert, who, whatever his faults might be as a private character, was one of the most courteous knights and polished gentlemen of the age in which he lived, finally cemented the auspicious amity which he had established between his royal sire and the warlike husband of the heiress presumptive of the Saxon line of kings, by becoming the sponsor of the infant princess Matilda. Some historians assert that the name of the little princess was originally Editha, and that it was, out of compliment to the Norman prince her godfather, changed to Matilda, the name of his beloved mother; the contemporary chronicler, Ordericus Vitalis, says, Matildem, quae prius dicta est Editha: "Matilda, whose first name was Edith." [See Dr. Lingard's learned note, p. 126, vol. ii. ed. 4.]

Matilda the Good received her earliest lessons of virtue and piety from her illustrious mother, and of learning from the worthy Turgot, the preceptor of the royal children of Scotland. While Matilda was very young, there appears to have been an attempt on the part either of the queen her mother, or her aunt Christina Atheling, the celebrated abbess of Romsey, to consecrate her to the church, or at least to give her tender mind a conventual bias, greatly to the displeasure of the king her father; who once, as Matilda herself testified, when she was brought into his presence dressed in a nun's veil, snatched it from her head in a great passion, and indignantly tore it in pieces, observing at the same time to Alan duke of Bretagne, who stood by, "that he intended to bestow her in marriage, and not to devote her to a cloister." [Eadmer.] This circumstance, young as she was, appears to have made a very deep impression on the mind of the little princess, and probably assisted in strengthening her determination, in after years, never to complete the profession of which she was, at one period of her life, compelled to assume the semblance. Alan duke of Bretagne, to whom kins; Malcolm addressed this observation, was the widower of William the Conqueror's daughter Constance; and though there was a great disparity of years between him and Matilda, it appears certain that the object of his visit to the Scottish court was to obtain her for his second wife; [Eadrner. Gem.] and that was one of the unsuitable matches to which we shall find that Matilda afterwards alluded.

Matilda's uncle, Edgar Atheling, became resident at the court of her father and mother for some time, in the year 1091; and it is a remarkable fact, that William Rufus and Malcolm joined in appointing him as arbiter of peace between England and Scotland, which were then engaged in a furious and devastating war. [Brompton. Hoveden. Y-Podigma of Neustria.] Thus placed in the most singular and romantic position that ever was sustained by a disinherited heir, Edgar conducted himself with such zeal and impartiality as to give satisfaction to both parties, and a pacification was concluded, which afforded a breathing time of two years to the harassed people of this island. After a reconciliation with William Rufus, which was never afterwards broken by the most trying circumstances, Edgar returned to the court of his favorite friend and companion, Robert of Normandy. The dangerous illness of William Rufus, at Gloucester, tempted king Malcolm Canmore to invade his dominions, in the year 1093, for the purpose, as he said, of revenging the insults he had received from the Anglo-Norman sovereign; his real object was, probably, to take advantage of Rufus's unpopularity with all classes, and to assert the rival title of the descendants of the great Alfred, with whom he was now so closely united. According to Hector Boethius and Buchanan, Malcolm was killed at the siege of Alnwick castle, by the treachery of the besieged, who, being reduced to the last extremity, offered to surrender, if the Scottish king would receive the keys in person. Malcolm of course acceded to this condition, [Malmesbury.] and coming to the gates, was there met by a knight bearing the keys on the point of a lance, which he offered to the king on his knee; but when Malcolm stooped to receive them, he treacherously thrust the point of the lance through the bars of his vizor into his eye, and gave him a mortal wound.

This was heavy news to pour into the anxious ear of the widowed queen, who then lay on her death-bed, attended by her daughters Matilda and Mary. The particulars of this sad scene are thus related by an eye-witness, the faithful Turgot. During a short interval of ease, queen Margaret devoutly received the communion. Soon after, her anguish, of body returned with redoubled violence; she stretched herself on the couch, and calmly awaited the moment of her dissolution. Cold, and in the agonies of death, she ceased not to put up her supplications to Heaven in the touching words of the Miserere: "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to the multitude of thy tender mercies; blot out mine iniquities; make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy holy Spirit from me; restore unto me the joy of thy salvation. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." [Turgot.]

At that moment her young son, prince Edgar, returned from the disastrous English expedition, and approached her couch. "How fares it with the king and my Edward?" asked the dying queen. The youthful prince stood mournfully silent. "I know all—I know all," cried his mother; "yet, by this holy cross I adjure you speak out the worst."

As she spoke she presented to the view of her son that celebrated 'black cross' which she had brought with her from England, as the most precious possession she derived from her royal Saxon ancestors. [Carruthers's History of Scotland, vol. i. pp. 312-353. The English viewed the possession of this jewel by the royal family of Scotland with great displeasure: it was enclosed in a black case from whence it was called the black cross. The cross itself was of gold and set with large diamonds. The figure of the Saviour was exquisitely carved in ivory. After the death of Margaret it was deposited on the high altar of Dunfermline. When Edward I. kept court there, he seized on this cross as one of the English crown-jewels, and carried it into England. Robert Bruce so vehemently insisted on its restoration, that queen Isabella yielded it on the pacification during her regency in 1327; but its surrender exasperated the English more than the most flagrant of her misdeeds.—See her biography.]

"Your husband and eldest son are both slain," replied the prince. Lifting her eyes and hands towards heaven, she said, "Praise and blessing be to thee, Almighty God, that thou hast been pleased to make me endure so bitter anguish in the hour of my departure, thereby, as I trust, to purify me in some measure from the corruption of my sins. And thou, O Lord Jesus Christ! who, through the will of the Father, hast given life to the world by thy death, oh, deliver me!" While pronouncing the words "deliver me," she expired.

The reputation of her virtues, and the report that miracles had been wrought at her tomb, caused her name to be enrolled in the catalogue of saints by the church of Rome. Whatever may be thought of the miracles, it is a pleasure to find the following enlightened passage, from the pen of an ecclesiastic of the eleventh century:—"Others," says Turgot, "may admire the indications of sanctity which miracles afford. I much more admire in Margaret the works of mercy. Such signs (namely, miracles) are common to the evil and the good; but the works of true piety and charity are peculiar to the good. With better reason, therefore, ought we to admire the deeds of Margaret, which made her saintly, than her miracles, had she performed any"

To this great and good man did the dying Margaret consign the spiritual guardianship of her two young daughters, the princesses Matilda and Mary, and her younger sons. Turgot has preserved the words with which she gave him this important charge; they will strike an answering chord on the heart of every mother. "Farewell!" she said; "my life draws to a close, but you may survive me long. To you I commit the charge of my children. Teach them, above all things, to love and fear God; and if any of them should be permitted to attain to the height of earthly grandeur, oh! then, in an especial manner, be to them a father and a guide. Admonish, and if need be, reprove them, lest they should be swelled with the pride of momentary glory, and through covetousness, or by reason of the prosperity of this world, offend their Creator, and forfeit eternal life. This, in the presence of Him who is now our only witness, I beseech you to promise and perform." [Queen Margaret was buried at Dunfermline. Her body was disinterred at the Reformation, and the head is now preserved in a silver case at Douay, where the historian Carruthers declares he saw it, at the Scotch college. It was in extraordinary preservation, with a quantity of fine hair, fair in color, still upon it. This was in 1785.—History of Scotland, vol. i. p. 313.]

Adversity was soon to try these youthful scions of royalty with her touchstone; and of the princess Matilda, as well as her saintly mother, it may justly be said,—

"Stern, rugged nurse, thy rigid lore
With patience many a year she bore."

Donald Bane, (the brother of Malcolm Canmore,) soon after the disastrous defeat and death of Matilda's father and eldest brother, seized the throne of Scotland, and commanded all the English exiles, of whatsoever degree, to quit the kingdom, under pain of death. [Carruthers's History of Scotland, vol. i. p. 316.] Edgar Atheling, Matilda's uncle, then conveyed to England the orphan family of his sister, the queen of Scotland, consisting of five young princes and two princesses.

[Hardyng, in his rhyming Chronicle, thus quaintly enumerates the posterity of Margaret Atheling (see sir Henry Ellis's edition):—

"Edward, Dunkan, Edgar, Alixander the gay,
And David also (that kings were all they say,
Eache after other of Scotlande throughout),
Whose mother is now St. Margrete without doubt,
At Dunfermlyn shrined and canonized;

By whom Malcolyn a daughter had also.
King Henry's wife the first, full well avised
Queen Maude, that's right well loved England through.
Those crosses fair and royal, as men go
Through all England, she made at her expense,
And divers good orders through her providence."]

He supported Matilda, her sister and brothers, who were all minors, privately, from his own means. They were in considerable personal danger, from the accusation of one of the knights at the English court, who told William Rufus that the Saxon prince had brought into England, and was raising up, a family of competitors for the English crown. A friend of Edgar, named Godwin, challenged and slew the calumniator; and William Rufus, supposing Providence had decided in favor of the innocent, treated Edgar and his adopted family with kindness and friendship. The princesses Matilda and Mary were placed by their uncle in the nunnery of Romsey, of which his surviving sister, Christina, was abbess; for the princes he obtained an honorable reception at the court of William Rufus, who eventually sent him at the head of an army to Scotland, with which the Atheling succeeded in re-establishing the young king Edgar, eldest brother of Matilda, on the throne of his ancestors.

Ordericus Vitalis confirms, in a great measure, the statements of Turgot; and, after relating the death of queen Margaret, adds, "She had sent her two daughters, Edith (Matilda) and Mary, to Christina her sister, who was a religieuse of the abbey of Romsey, to be instructed by her in holy writ. These princesses were a long time pupils among the nuns. They were instructed by them, not only in the art of reading, but in the observance of good manners; and these devoted maidens, as they approached the age of womanhood, waited for the consolation of God. As we have said, they were orphans, deprived of both their parents, separated from their brothers, and far from the protecting care of kindred or friends. They had no home nor hope but the cloister, and yet, by the mercy of God, they were not professed as nuns. They were destined by the Disposer of all earthly events for better things."

Camden proves that the abbey of Wilton, ever since the profession of the royal saint Editha, [Daughter of Edgar the Peaceable.] was the place of nurture and education for the princesses of the Anglo-Saxon reigning family. This abbey of black Benedictine nuns was founded by king Alfred, and since his days, it had been usual to elect a superior of his lineage. Wilton abbey had been refounded by the queen Editha, consort to Edward the Confessor. [Camden.] While that monarch was building Westminster-abbey, his queen employed her revenues in changing the nunnery of Wilton from a wooden edifice into one of stone.

The abbey of Romsey was likewise a royal foundation, generally governed by an abbess of the blood-royal. Christina is first mentioned as abbess of Romsey in Hampshire, and afterwards as superior of the Wilton convent. As both belonged to the order of black Benedictines, this transfer was not difficult; but chroniclers do not mention when it was effected, simply stating the fact that the Scottish princess first dwelt at Romsey, yet when she grew up she was resident at Wilton abbey, under the superintendence of the abbess Christina her aunt. Matilda thus became an inhabitant of the same abode where the royal virgins of her race had always received their education. [Ordericus Vitalis.] It was the express desire of the queen, her mother, who survived that request but a few hours, that she should be placed under the care of the lady Christina at Romsey.

While in these English convents, the royal maid was compelled to assume the thick black veil of a votaress, [Eadmer.] as a protection from the insults of the lawless Norman nobles. The abbess Christina, her aunt, who was exceedingly desirous of seeing her beautiful niece become a nun professed, treated her very harshly if she removed this cumbrous and inconvenient envelope, which was composed of coarse black cloth or serge; some say it was a tissue of horse-hair. The imposition of this veil was considered by Matilda as an intolerable grievance. She wore it, [Ibid.] as she herself acknowledged, with sighs and tears in the presence of her stern aunt; and the moment she found herself alone, she flung it on the ground, and stamped it under her feet. During the seven years that Matilda resided in this dreary asylum, she was carefully instructed in all the learning of the age. Ordericus Vitalis says she was taught the 'literatoriam artem,' of which she afterwards became, like her predecessor, Matilda of Flanders, a most munificent patroness. She was also greatly skilled in music, for which her love amounted almost to a passion. When queen, we shall find her sometimes censured for the too great liberality she showed in rewarding, with costly presents, the monks who sang skilfully in the church service. [Tyrrell.]

The superior education which this illustrious princess received during these years of conventual seclusion, eminently fitted her to become the consort of so accomplished a prince as Henry le Beauclerc. Robert of Gloucester, and Piers of Langtoft, and, above all, Eadmer, a contemporary, assert that the royal pair had been lovers before circumstances admitted of their union. These are the words of old quaint Robin on the subject:—

"Special love there had ere been, as I understand,
Between him and the king's fair daughter, Maud of Scotland,
So that he willed her to wife, and the bishops also,
And the high men of the land radde [Radde, advised.] him thereto."

Matilda received two proposals of marriage while she was in the nunnery at Romsey; one from Alan duke of Bretagne, the mature suitor before mentioned, who demanded her in marriage of his brother-in-law, William Rufus, and obtained his consent; but he was prevented by death from fulfilling his engagement. Had it been otherwise, Matilda's only refuge from this ill-assorted union would have been the irrevocable assumption of the black veil, of which she had testified such unqualified abhorrence. The other candidate for the hand of the exiled princess, was the young and handsome William Warren, carl of Surrey, the son of the Conqueror's youngest daughter Gundred, the favorite nephew of William Rufus, and one of the richest and most powerful of the baronage of England and Normandy. The profession of Matilda was delayed for a time by the addresses of these princes. [Ordericus Vitalis.] "But," continues the chronicler, "she was, by the grace of God, reserved for a higher destiny, and through his permission contracted a more illustrious marriage." [Ordericus Vitalis.] It is remarkable that of the three lovers by whom Matilda was sought in marriage, one should have been the son-in-law, another the grandson, and the third the son, of that Norman conqueror who had established a rival dynasty on the throne of her ancestors.

Matilda pleaded devotion to a religious life, as an excuse for declining the addresses of Warren. It seems strange that she should have preferred a lengthened sojourn in a gloomy cloister, to a union with a young, handsome, and wealthy prince of the reigning family of England, unless her refusal of Warren may be regarded as a confirmation of the statements of Eadmer, Robert of Gloucester, William of Malmesbury, and others of the ancient chroniclers, as to 'the special love' that existed between Henry Beauclerc and Matilda, during the season of their mutual adversity. The nunnery of Wilton was not far from Winchester, the principal seat of the Norman sovereign; and when we reflect on the great intimacy which subsisted between Matilda's uncle, Edgar Articling, and the sons of the Conqueror, it appears by no means improbable that prince Henry might have accompanied him in some of his visits to his royal kinswoman, and perhaps been admitted, under the sanction of his presence, to converse with the princesses, and even to have enjoyed the opportunity of seeing Matilda without her veil; which, we learn from her own confession, she took every opportunity of throwing aside. Nor was this to be wondered at, since, if we may credit the testimony of contemporary writers, her face was well worth the looking upon. The learned Hildebert, [Afterwards archbishop of Mans.—See Opera Hildeberti.] her friend and correspondent, has celebrated her personal charms in the eloquent Latin poems which he addressed to her, both before and after her marriage. The Norman chronicle declares that she was a lady of great beauty, and much beloved by king Henry; and Matthew Paris says she was "very fair, and elegant in person, as well as learned, holy, and wise." These qualities, combined with her high lineage, rendered her, doubtless, an object of attraction to the Norman princes.

Henry Beauclerc was ten years the senior of his nephew Warren; but his high mental acquirements and accomplishments were, to a mind like that of Matilda of Scotland, far beyond the meretricious advantages which his more youthful rival could boast. Robert of Gloucester, in his rhyming Chronicle, gives this quaint summary of the birth, education, and characteristics of Henry:—

"In England was he born, Henri, this nobleman,
In the third year that his father England wan;
He was, of all his sons, best fitted king to be,
Of fairest form and manners, and most gentle and free;
For that he was the youngest, to book his father him drew,
And he became as it befel a good clerk enow.
One time when he was young, his brother smote him,
I wis, And he wept while his father stood by and beheld all this;
'No weep now,' he said, 'loving son, for it shall come to be,
That thou shalt yet be king, and that thou shalt see.'
His father made him, at Westminster, knight of his own hand,
In the nineteenth year of his age, &c. &c.
Taller he was some deal than his brethren were,
Fair man and stout enow, with brown hair."

Henry was regarded by the people of the land with a greater degree of complacency than the elder sons of the Conqueror, from the circumstance of his being an English-born prince. While yet a tender infant, his mighty sire named him as a witness (the only male witness) of the following curious charter to one of his followers, the founder of the family of Hunter of Hopton:—

"I, William the king, the third year of my reign,
Give to thee, Norman Hunter, to me that art both liefe (1) and dear,
The Hop and the Hopton, and all the bounds up and down,
Under the earth to hell, above the earth to heaven,
From me and mine to thee and thine,
As good and as fair as ever they mine were.
To witnesse that this is sooth,
I bite the white waxe with my tooth,
Before Jugge, (2) Maude, and Margery,
And my young sonne Henry,
For a bowe and a broad arrowe,
When I sail come to hunt on Yarrowe." (3)

(1) [Liefe, loving.]

(2) [Pronounced Juey, which rhymes to Margery; the rhymes, it will be observed, recur in the middle of the line.]

(3) [Stowe.]

The rhymes of this quaint feudal grant are undoubtedly far more agreeable to the car than the halting heroics of honest Robert of Gloucester, previously quoted, though compounded more than a century before his jingling chronicle was written. Several of the charters of William the Conqueror are in this form, and with the names of the same members of his family. It is probable that they were executed in the presence of his queen "Maud;" "Jugge" (sometimes used as an abbreviation for Judith) must have boon his niece Judith, afterwards the wife of Waltheof; and Margery, a daughter, who is sometimes enumerated in his family by the chroniclers; and to these the name of that notable witness, the baby Henry, was doubtless added as a joke by the royal sire. Biting the white wax was supposed to give particular authenticity to conveyances from the crown, which formerly were each duly furnished with a proof impression of that primitive substitute for the great seal of England the royal eye-tooth, sometimes familiarly specified by the monarch as his "fang-tooth." This custom, which took its rise from very remote antiquity, was needlessly adopted by the Anglo-Norman line of sovereigns, whose broad seals are of peculiarly fine workmanship, bearing their veritable effigies, crowned, sceptred, and in royal robes, seated on the king's stone bench; and on the reverse of the seal the same monarch is figured, armed cap-a-pie, and mounted on a war-charger, gallantly anointed. [Speed.] Such are the impressions affixed to all their charters.

It is among the boasts of Cambridge [J. Caius Cantabrig.] that Henry, so celebrated for his learning, received his education there. The ancient annals of St. Austin's, Canterbury, however, affirm "that he was instructed in philosophy beyond seas, where, for his knowledge in the liberal sciences, he was by the French surnamed Beauclerc." [St. Austin's Lib. MSS. A learned writer in the Archaeologia supposes that this appellation was won by Henry's "English Fables" in the Aesopian style; adding that the celebrated troubadour poetess, Marie of France, who flourished in the reign of our Henry III., has translated the English monarch's work into Norman Fench.]

The following dialogue took place between Henry and his royal sire, when the latter lay on his death-bed at Hermentrude, [Speed.] and was concluding his elaborate confession of his past deeds of oppression and cruelty with the verbal bequest of his dominions to his two eldest sons. "And what do you give to me, father?" interrupted Henry, who stood weeping at the bedside, less touched, we fear, at the awful list of sins and wickednesses of which his dying sire had just disburdened his conscience, than at the tenor of a last will and testament in which he appeared to have no share. "Five thousand pounds in silver, out of my treasury, do I give thee," replied the Conqueror. "But what shall I do with treasure, if I have neither castle nor domain?" demanded the disappointed prince. "Be patient, my son, and comfort thyself in God," rejoined the expiring monarch; "thy elder brothers do but go before thee. Robert shall have Normandy, and William England; but thou shalt be the inheritor of all my honors, and shall excel both thy brethren in riches and power." This oracular speech, though far enough from proving satisfactory at the time to the landless Henry, was afterwards magnified into a prophetic annunciation of his accession to the united dominions of England and Normandy.

Discontented as Henry was with the paternal legacy, he was in such haste to secure its payment, that he left the last duties to the remains of his royal sire to the care of strangers, while he flew to make his claim upon the treasury of the departed sovereign; rightly judging, that unless he forestalled his elder brethren in taking possession of the bequest, his chance of receiving it would be but small. In fact, Robert, whose extravagance had exhausted all his resources before he succeeded to the dukedom of Normandy, besought his youngest brother to assist him with a loan of at least part of the money. Henry, who had all the worldly wisdom of a premature statesman, complied, on condition of being put in possession of his mother's bequest of the Cotentin. Robert agreed; but, after he had been foiled in his attempt to dethrone Rufus, he returned to Normandy with exhausted coffers, and wrongfully repossessed himself of the Cotentin. Henry, greatly enraged at this treatment, was preparing to take up arms against Robert, when the latter, finding himself attacked by William, and abandoned by his false ally, Philip of France, thought proper to make the most earnest solicitations to Henry for assistance, and forgiveness for the late outrage of which he had been guilty. Henry, being mollified by the submission of his elder brother, and understanding that a plot was in agitation to deliver Rouen to William, suddenly entered the city, and seizing Conon, the head of the conspirators, charged him with his treason to the duke, and caused him to be flung headlong from one of the highest towers. By this decisive step Henry preserved the capital for Robert.

Robert and William soon after came to an amicable agreement, and conceiving a sudden affection for each other, they terminated their quarrel by making their wills in each other's favor, without any mention of Henry. Henry regarded this as a great affront, especially on the part of Robert, to whom he had rendered such signal services, and demanded of him either a restitution of his silver, or to be put in possession of the Cotentin. On Robert's refusal, he seized on Mount St. Michael, where he strongly intrenched himself.

The youthful adventurer maintained his rocky fortress with obstinate valor against the united efforts of his august brothers of England and Normandy, till he was reduced to the greatest straits for want of water. He represented his distress to Robert in a moving message, and obtained leave to supply his garrison with water, and a present of wine for his own use. Rufus upbraided Robert with his compliance, which he called "an act of folly."—"What!" replied Robert, with a sudden burst of that generous warmth of feeling which formed the redeeming trait of his character, "is the quarrel between us and our brother of that importance, that we should make him die of thirst? We may have occasion for a brother hereafter, but where shall we find another if we destroy this?" After Robert had besieged St. Michael's mount during the whole of Lent, he brought Henry to terms; who, weary, perhaps, of keeping a stricter fast than even the church of Borne enjoined at that season, surrendered the fortress; and having permission to go whither he pleased, wandered about Germany and France for some time, forsaken of every one save four faithful domestics, by whom he was attended.

In the year 1094 we find, from Matthew Paris, that Henry was in England, and employed by William Rufus in assisting to quell the formidable rebellion of Robert Mowbray, the lord of Northumberland. Prince Henry's poverty, and dependence on the caprices of his brother the 'red king,' subjected him occasionally to the sneers of the wealthy Norman barons, but more especially of his kinsman and rival Warren, [Wace.] who took occasion, from his swiftness in pursuit of the forest game, "which ofttimes," says the chronicle of Normandy, "he, for lack of horse or dog, followed on foot, to bestow the name of 'Deer's-foot' on the landless prince. This greatly troubled Henry, who hated Warren to the death, but had no power to avenge himself, because the 'red king' loved Warren greatly." [Ibid.] It is possible that Warren's courtship of Matilda of Scotland was one cause of Henry's bitter animosity. [Chronicle of Normandy, by Wace.] This courtship was sanctioned by Rufus, and some of the ancient chroniclers assert that Matilda was contracted to him, but this appears without foundation.

Henry was in his thirty-second year when the glancing aside of Wat Tyrrel's arrow made him king of England. The chroniclers of that era record that, from whatever cause, omens, dreams, and predictions of the death of the 'red king' were rife in the land immediately preceding that event. [Malmesbury. Saxon Chron.] Prince Henry was at this fatal hunting party; [S. Dunelm.] and Wace, the minstrel chronicler of the Norman line of princes, relates a most remarkable adventure that befell him on this occasion. [Wace.] "Prince Henry, being separated from the royal party while pursuing his game in an adjoining glen of the forest, chanced to snap the string of his crossbow, or arblast, and repairing to the hut of a forester to get it mended or replaced, he was, the moment he entered this sylvan abode, saluted as king by an old woman whom he found there," whose description is somewhat similar to that of one of the witches in Macbeth. [Wace.] The following is a literal version of her address, from the Norman French rhymes of Wace:—

"Hasty news to thee I bring,
Henry, thou art now a king;
Mark the words and heed them well,
Which to thee in sooth I tell,
And recall them in the hour
Of thy regal state and power."

Before Henry had recovered from the surprise with which the weird woman's prediction had startled him, the cries of the 'red king's' attendants proclaimed the fatal accident that had befallen their royal master, and the hasty flight of the unlucky marksman by whose erring shaft he had died. Prince Henry acted as Rufus doubtless would have done in his case: he sprang to his saddle, and made the best of his way to Winchester, without bestowing a moment's care or attention on the body of his deceased brother, which was irreverently thrown into the cart of one Purkiss, a Saxon charcoal-burner, that was passing through the forest, and, on no gentler bier, was ignobly borne back to the city which he had quitted that morning with such proud parade. [Saxon Chronicle. The lineal descendants of the said charcoal-maker, by name Purkiss, still live within the distance of a bow-shot from the spot where Rufus fell, and continue to exercise the trade of their ancestor.—Milner's Winchester.] Robert of Gloucester relates this circumstance, with his usual quaint minuteness; and among a number of his lame and tame lines, the following graphic couplet occurs, which, we think our readers will consider worthy of quotation:—

"To Winchester they bare him, all midst his green wound,
And ever as he lay, the blood well'd to ground."

William Breteuil, [William Breteuil was the son of the Conqueror's great friend and counsellor, Fitz-Osborn, surnamed 'the Proud Spirit.'—See the preceding biography.] the royal treasurer, was also at this memorable hunting party, and with him prince Henry actually rode a race to Winchester,—ay, and won it too; for when Breteuil arrived at the door of the treasury, he found prince Henry standing before it, who greeted him with a demand of the keys. Breteuil boldly declared, "That both treasure and crown belonged to the prince's eldest brother, duke Robert of Normandy, who was then absent in the Holy Land, and for that prince he would keep the treasures of the late king his master." Then Henry drew his sword, and, backed by his powerful friend Henry Bellomonte, afterwards earl of Leicester, and other nobles of his party, forced the keys from his kinsman Breteuil, and took possession of the treasure and regalia. Breteuil loudly protested against the wrong that was done to duke Robert.

Some of the nobles who possessed large estates in Normandy sided with Breteuil in advocating the rights of the royal crusader; and the debate growing very stormy, it was considered more expedient to argue the momentous question in the council-chamber. Thither the nobles and prelates adjourned; but while they were engaged in advocating, according as interest or passion swayed, the rival claims of Robert and Henry to the vacant throne, the majority being inclined for the elder brother (the brave but proverbially unready Robert), Henry had successfully pleaded his own cause to the populace in the streets of Winchester; and they, strong in numbers, and animated with sudden affection for the English-born prince, who had promised to bestow upon them English laws and an English queen, gathered round the palace, and quickened the decision of the divided peers in council by making the name of Henry resound in their ears; and Henry, thus elected by the voice of the people, was immediately proclaimed king at Winchester. The remains of the luckless Rufus were hurried into the grave, with a sort of hunter's mass, the following morning at an early hour, in Winchester cathedral; [The monument that Henry I. raised for his brother Rufus, before the high altar at Winchester, is still to be seen there; he put himself to no great cost for funeral expenses, for it is a plain gravestone of black marble, of that shape called dos d' ane, to be seen, of brick or freestone, in country church-yards.] and Henry hastened to London, where, on Sunday, the nones of August, the fourth day after his brother's death, he was crowned in Westminster abbey, by Maurice, bishop of London. Before the regal circlet was placed on his brow, "Henry, at the high altar at Westminster, promised to God and the people," says the Saxon Chronicle, "to annul the unrighteous acts that took place in his brother's reign, and he was crowned, on that condition." [Saxon Chronicle.]

Henry promised everything that could reasonably be demanded of him, and set about reforming the abuses and corruptions that had prevailed during the licentious reign of the bachelor king, and completely secured his popularity with the English people by declaring his resolution of wedding a princess of the blood of Alfred, who had been brought up and educated among them. Accordingly he demanded Matilda, the daughter of Malcolm king of Scotland, and Margaret Atheling, of her brother, Edgar king of Scotland. The proposal was exceedingly agreeable to the Scottish monarch, but great difficulties were opposed to the completion of this marriage by those who were of opinion that she had embraced a religious life. [Eadmer.] The abbess Christina, Matilda's aunt, in particular, whose Saxon prejudices could not brook the idea that the throne of the Norman line of sovereigns should be strengthened by an alliance with the royal blood of Alfred, protested, "that her niece was a veiled nun, and that it would be an act of sacrilege to remove her from her convent."

Henry's heart was set upon the marriage, but he would not venture to outrage popular opinion by wedding a consecrated nun. In this dilemma, he wrote a pressing letter to the learned Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury, who had been unjustly despoiled of his revenues by William Rufus, and was then in exile at Lyons, entreating him to return, and render him his advice and assistance in this affair. When Anselm heard the particulars of the case, he declared that it was too mighty for his single decision, and therefore summoned a council of the church at Lambeth, for the purpose of entering more fully into this important question. [Not long after the return of archbishop Anselm to England, the king, by the advice of his friends, resolved to leave off his mistresses, and marry; and he, having a very great affection for Matilda, daughter to Malcolm, late king of Scotland, resolved, if it might be lawful, to marry her.—Tyrrell.] Matilda made her appearance before the synod, and was closely interrogated by the primate Anselm, in the presence of the whole hierarchy of England, as to the reality of her alleged devotion to a religious life. [Eadmer. Malmesbury.] The particulars of her examination have been preserved by Eadmer, who, as the secretary of the archbishop Anselm, was doubtless an eye-witness of this interesting scene, and, in all probability, recorded the very words uttered by the princess.

Henry I. Surnamed Beauclerc

The archbishop commenced by stating the objections to her marriage, grounded on the prevailing report that she had embraced a religious life, and declared, "that no motive whatever would induce him to dispense with her vow, if it had already been given to Almighty God." The princess denied that there had been any such engagement on her part. She was asked, "If she had embraced a religious life, cither by her own choice or the vow of her parents;" and she replied, "Neither." Then she was examined as to the fact of her having worn the black veil of a votaress in her father's court, and subsequently in the nunneries of Romsey and Wilton. "I do not deny," said Matilda, "having worn the veil in my father's court, for when I was a child, my aunt Christina put a piece of black cloth over my head; but when my father saw me with it, he snatched it off in a great rage, and execrated the person who had put it on me. I afterwards made a pretence of wearing it, to excuse myself from unsuitable marriages; and on one of these occasions, my father tore the veil and threw it on the ground, observing to Alan earl of Bretagne, who stood by, that it was his intention to give me in marriage, not to devote me to the church." [Eadmer.] She also admitted that she had assumed the veil in the nunnery of Romsey, as a protection from the lawless violence of the Norman nobles, and that she had continued to wear that badge of conventual devotion, against her own inclination, through the harsh compulsion of her aunt, the abbess Christina. "If I attempted to remove it," continued Matilda, "she would torment me with harsh blows and sharp reproaches. Sighing and trembling, I wore it in her presence; but as soon as I withdrew from her sight, I always threw it off and trampled upon it." [Eadmer.]

This explanation was considered perfectly satisfactory by the council at Lambeth, and they pronounced that "Matilda, daughter of Malcolm king of Scotland, had proved that she had not embraced a religious life, either by her own choice or the vow of her parents, and she was therefore free to contract marriage with the king." The council, in addition to this declaration, thought proper to make public the most cogent reason which the Scottish princess had given for her assumption of the black veil on her coming to England; which was done in the following remarkable words: "When the great king William conquered this land, many of his followers, elated by so great a victory, and thinking that everything ought to be subservient to their will and pleasure, not only seized the provisions of the conquered, but invaded the honor of their matrons and virgins whenever they had an opportunity. This obliged many young ladies, who dreaded their violence, to put on the veil to preserve their honor." [Ibid.]

According to the Saxon chroniclers, Matilda, notwithstanding her repugnance to the consecrated veil, exhibited a very maidenly reluctance to enter the holy pale of matrimony with a royal husband. It is possible that the report of the immoral tenor of Henry's life before he ascended the throne, which was evidenced by his acknowledging the claims of twenty illegitimate children, might be regarded by a princess of her purity of mind and manners as a very serious objection; and if, as many of the early chroniclers intimate, there had been a previous engagement between Henry and herself, she of course felt both displeasure and disgust at his amours with the beautiful Nesta, daughter of the prince of Wales, and other ladies too numerous to particularize. It is certain that after the council at Lambeth had pronounced her free to marry, Matilda resisted for a time the entreaties of the king, and the commands of her royal brother and sovereign, to accept the brilliant destiny which she was offered.

All who were connected with the Saxon royal line importuned Matilda, meantime, with such words as these: "O most noble and most gracious of women! if thou wouldst, thou couldst raise up the ancient honor of England; thou wouldst be a sign of alliance, a pledge of reconciliation. But if thou persistest in thy refusal, the enmity between the Saxon and Norman races will be eternal; human blood will never cease to flow." [Saxon Chronicle.] Thus urged, the royal recluse ceased to object to a marriage, whereby she was to become the bond of peace to a divided nation, and the dove of the newly-sealed covenant between the Norman sovereign and her own people. Henry promised to confirm to the English nation their ancient laws and privileges, as established by Alfred, and ratified by Edward the Confessor,—in short, to become a constitutional monarch; and on those conditions the daughter of the royal line of Alfred consented to share his throne.

Matthew Paris says positively that Matilda was a professed nun, and so averse to this marriage that she invoked a curse upon all the descendants that might proceed from her union with the Norman king. But this is contradicted by all other historians; and if any foundation existed for the story, we think friend Matthew must, by a strange slip of the pen, have written down the name of the meek and saintly Matilda instead of that of the perverse virago the abbess Christina, her aunt, who was so greatly opposed to those auspicious nuptials, and, for aught we know, might have been as much addicted to the evil habit of imprecation as she was to scolding and fighting. Matilda's demurs, after all, occasioned little delay, for the archbishop Anselm did not return to England till October; the council at Lambeth was held in the latter end of that month, and her marriage and coronation took place on Sunday, November 11th, being St. Martin's day, just three months and six days after the inauguration of her royal lord at Westminster, August 5th, 1100,—which we may consider quick work, for the despatch of such important business and solemn ceremonials of state. William of Malmesbury tells us that Henry's friends, especially bishops, haying counselled him to reform his life and contract lawful wedlock, he married, on St. Martin's day, Matilda, daughter of Malcolm king of Scotland, to whom he had long been greatly attached, not regarding the marriage-portion, provided he could possess her whom he had so ardently desired; for though she was of noble descent, being great-niece of king Edward by his brother Edmund, yet she possessed little fortune, being doubly an orphan. This is surely a convincing testimony of the strength of Henry's affection for Matilda.

The scene of their marriage is thus described by a contemporary, who was most probably an eye-witness: "At the wedding of Matilda and Henry the First, there was a most prodigious concourse of nobility and people assembled in and about the church at Westminster, when, to prevent all calumny and ill report that the king was about to marry a nun, the archbishop Anselm mounted into a pulpit, and gave the multitude a history of the events proved before the synod, and its judgment,—that the lady Matilda of Scotland was free from any religious vow, and might dispose of herself in marriage as she thought fit. The archbishop finished by asking the people, in a loud voice, whether any one there objected to this decision: upon which they answered unanimously, with a loud shout, 'that the matter was rightly settled.' Accordingly the lady was immediately married to the king, and crowned before that vast assembly." [Eadmer.] A more simple yet majestic appeal to the sense of the people, in regard to a royal marriage, history records not.

An exquisitely beautiful epithalamium, in honor of these auspicious nuptials, was written by Matilda's friend Hildebert, in elegant Latin verse, wherein he congratulates both England and Henry on the possession of the doubly royal bride Matilda. He eulogizes her virtues, and describes her modest and maidenly deportment as enhancing her youthful charms when, with blushes that outvied the crimson of her royal robe, she stood at the altar, invested with her royal insignia, a virgin queen and bride, in whom the hopes of England hailed the future mother of a mighty line of kings. [Opera Hildeberti, p. 1367.]

To this auspicious union of the Anglo-Norman sovereign Henry I. with Matilda of Scotland, a princess of English lineage, English education, and an English heart, we may trace all the constitutional blessings which this free country at present enjoys. It was through the influence of this virtuous queen that Henry granted the important charter which formed the model and precedent of that great palladium of English liberty, Magna Charta; and we call upon our readers to observe, that it was the direct ancestress of our present sovereign-lady who refused to quit her gloomy conventual prison, and to give her hand to the handsomest and most accomplished sovereign of his time, till she had obtained just and merciful laws for her suffering country, the repeal of the tyrannical imposition of the curfew, and, in some slight degree, a recognition of the rights of the commons.

When the marriage of Matilda of Scotland with Henry I. took place, a hundred copies of this digest of the righteous laws of Alfred and Edward the Confessor were made, and committed to the keeping of the principal bishoprics and monasteries in England; but when these were sought for, in the reign of John, to form a legal authority for the demands of the people, Rapin says only one could be found, which was exhibited to the barons by cardinal Langton. This was, in fact, the simple model on which Magna Charta was framed. It is supposed that Henry I., after Matilda's death, destroyed all the copies (on which he could lay his hands) of a covenant which, in the latter years of his reign, he scrupled not to infringe whenever he felt disposed.

Hardyng, after recording the death of the 'red king,' relates the accession of Henry I., and his marriage with Matilda of Scotland, in the following rude stanzas:—

"Henry, his brother, the first king of that name,
Was crowned with all the honor that might be;
He reconciled St. Anselm, who came home,
And crowned Maude his wife full fair and free,
That daughter was (full of benignite)
To king Malcolyne and St. Margrete the queen
Of Scotland, which afore that time had been;

Of whom he gat William, Richard, and Molde,
Whose goodness is yet spoken of full wide;
If she were fair, her virtues many-fold
Exceeded far—all vice she set aside;
Debates that were engendered of pride
She set at rest with all benevolence,
And visited the sick and poor with diligence.
The prisoners, and women eke with child,
Lying in abject misery aye about,
Clothes, meat, and bedding new and undefiled,
And wine and ale she gave withouten doubt;
When she saw need in countries all throughout,
Those crosses all that yet be most royal
In the highways, with gold she made them all." (1)

(1) Sir Henry Ellis's version.

Matilda of Scotland

Queen of Henry I.


Popularity of Matilda's marriage—Called Matilda Atheling—Her charities—Her brother, king Alexander the Fierce—Her works of utility—Equitable laws of king Henry—Normans nickname the king and queen—Duke Robert's invasion—Birth of Matilda's son—Robert's consideration for Matilda—Henry's quarrels with archbishop Anselm—Matilda's letters—England threatened with excommunication—Matilda writes to the pope—Duke Robert re-lands in England—Matilda reconciles him to the king—Anselm's return to England—Matilda's friendship for him—Birth of Princess Matilda—Robert regrets the loss of his pension—Reviles Matilda—Battle of Tinchebray—Capture of Robert and the queen's uncle Edgar—Pardoned through the queen's influence—Court first kept at Windsor by Henry and Matilda—Princess Matilda betrothed to the emperor—Court at Winchester—Marriage of prince William—Portrait of queen Matilda—Departure of empress Matilda—Parliament held—Woodstock palace completed—Revolt in Normandy—Illness of the queen—Her death—King Henry's grief—Burial of Matilda—Inscription to her memory—Her palace at Westminster—Present remains—Statue of Matilda—Her children.

Matilda's English ancestry and English education rendered the new king's marriage with her a most popular measure with the Anglo-Saxon people, of whom the great bulk of his subjects was composed. By them the royal bride was fondly styled Matilda Atheling, and regarded as the representative of their own regretted sovereigns. The allegiance which the mighty Norman conqueror, and his despotic son the "red king," had never been able to obtain, except through the sternest measures of compulsion, and which, in defiance of the dreadful penalties of loss of eyes, limbs, and life, had been frequently withdrawn from these powerful monarchs, was freely and faithfully accorded to the husband of Matilda, Henry I., by the Saxon population. All the reforms effected by his enlightened government, and all the good laws which his enlarged views of political economy taught that wise monarch to adopt, were attributed, by his Anglo-Saxon subjects, to the beneficial influence of his young queen. Robert of Gloucester was fully impressed with these ideas, as we may plainly perceive in the following lines in his rhyming Chronicle, in which he speaks of Henry's marriage:—

"So that as soon as he was king, on St. Martyn's day I ween,
He spoused her that was called Maude the good queen,
That was kind (1) heir of England, as I have told before.
Many were the good laws that were made in England
Through Maude the good queen, as I understand."

(1) ['Kind' means, in ancient English, relationship; 'next of kin,' a familiar expression, is derived from it.]

The Londoners, whose prosperity had sensibly diminished in consequence of the entire absence of female royalty, beheld with unfeigned satisfaction the palace of Edward the Confessor, at Westminster, once more graced by the presence of a queen of the blood of Alfred, whose virtues, piety, and learning rendered her a worthy successor of the last Saxon queen who had held her court there, Editha,

"That gracious rose of Godwin's thorny stern."

Those to whom the memory of that illustrious lady was justly dear were probably not unmindful of the fact that the youthful queen, on whom the hopes of England were so fondly fixed, had received that genuine Saxon name at the baptismal font; and though, in compliment to her Norman godfather, she was called Matilda, she was also Editha.

Matilda fully verified the primitive title bestowed by the Saxons on their queens, Hlafdige, or "the giver of bread." Her charities were of a most extensive character, and her tender compassion for the sufferings of the sick poor carried her almost beyond the bounds of reason, to say nothing of the restraints imposed on royalty. She imitated the example of her mother St. Margaret, queen of Scotland, both in the strictness of her devotional exercises, and in her personal attentions to those who were laboring under bodily afflictions. [Weever.] She went every day in Lent to Westminster abbey, barefoot, and clothed in a garment of haircloth; and she would wash and kiss the feet of the poorest people, for which, according to Robert of Gloucester, she was once reproved, not without reason, by a courtier. He had his answer, however, as our readers will perceive from the following curious dialogue:—

"'Madam, for Godde's love is this well ado,
To handle such unclean limbs, and to kiss so?
Foul would the king think, if this thing he wist,
And right well avile him ere he your lips kist.'
'Sir, sir!' quoth the queen, 'be still. Why say you so?
Our Lord himself example gave for to do so.'"

[Robert of Gloucester.]

On another occasion, her brother, Alexander the Fierce, king of Scotland, when on a visit to the court of her royal husband, entering Matilda's apartments, found her on her knees, engaged in washing the feet of some aged mendicants; on which she entreated him to avail himself of the opportunity of performing a good and acceptable work of charity and humiliation, by assisting her in this labor of love, for the benefit of his soul. The warlike majesty of Scotland smiled, and left the room without making any reply to this invitation. [Wendover, Flowers of History, translated by Dr, Gilles, p. 459. The chronicler attributes the anecdote to prince David, giving date 1105. David was certainly conveniently at hand, as he lived in Scotland yard, close to Westminster palace, having married the countess St. Lys, heiress of earl Waltheof; but David, who was afterwards canonized, would have given his aid right willingly. It is Robert of Gloucester who says the brother to whom Matilda gave the charitable lesson was Alexander.] Perhaps he was conscious of his want of skill as an assistant at a pediluvium party; or it might be, that he had seen too much of such scenes during the life of his pious mother queen Margaret, and feared that his sister would carry her works of benevolence to extremes that might prove displeasing to the taste of so refined a prince as Henry Beauclerc.

But to do Matilda justice, her good works in general bore a character of more extended usefulness; so much so, that we even feel the benefit of them to this day, in the ancient bridge she built over 'my lady Lea.' Once being, with her train on horseback, in danger of perishing while fording the river Lea at Oldford, during a high flood, in gratitude for her preservation she built the first arched bridge ever known in England, a little higher up the stream, called by the Saxons Bow bridge, [Bow, from bogen, an arch, a word in the German language, pronounced with the g sounded like y, which brings it close to the Anglo-Saxon.] still to be seen at Stratford-le-Bow, "though the ancient and mighty London bridge has been broken down." Bow-bridge she built at the head of the town of Stratford; likewise Channel's bridge, over a tributary stream of the Lea, the way between them being well paved with gravel. She gave certain manors, and a mill called Wiggin mill, forever, towards keeping in repair the said bridges and way. [Hayward's Three Norman Kings.]

Matilda founded the hospital at St. Giles-in-the-Fields, and also Christ Church, v which stood on the very spot now called Duke's place, noted as the resort of a low class of Jews. This excellent queen also directed her attention to the important object of making new roads, and repairing the ancient highways that had fallen into decay during the stormy years which had succeeded the peaceful and prosperous reign of her great-uncle, Edward the Confessor. By this means, travellers and itinerant merchants were greatly facilitated in their journeys through the then wild and perilous country, which, with the exception of the four great Roman ways, [Which mighty works were of infinite use to our ancestors in ages later than the Norman era. Robert of Gloucester speaks of their utility in his day, and says,—

"Thilk ways by mony a town do wend."]

was only intersected by a few scattered cart-tracks, through desolate moors, heaths, and uncultivated wastes and woodlands. These public benefits, which Matilda the Good conferred upon the people from whoso patriotic monarchs she derived her descent, were in all probability the fruits of her regency during the absence of her royal husband in Normandy; for it is scarcely to be supposed that such stupendous undertakings could have been effected by the limited power and revenues of a mere queen-consort.

Henry the First, be it remembered, was placed on the throne by the Saxon division of his subjects, who were the commons of England, and by them he was supported in his regal authority against the Norman aristocracy, who formed a powerful party in favor of his elder brother's pretensions to the crown of England. The moral and political reforms with which Henry commenced his reign, and, above all, the even-handed measure of justice which he caused to be observed towards all who presumed to infringe the laws, gave great offence to many of those haughty nobles, who had been accustomed to commit the most flagrant crimes with impunity, and to oppress their humbler neighbors without fear of being arraigned for their misdeeds. The establishment of the equitable laws which protected the wives and daughters of Englishmen from insult, the honest trader from wrong and robbery, and the poor from violence, were attributed to the influence of Matilda, whom they insultingly styled "the Saxon woman," and murmured at the virtuous restraints which her presence and authority imposed upon the court. [Eadmer. Thierry.] The conjugal affection which subsisted between the royal pair excited, withal, the ridicule of those who had been the profligate associates of the bachelor-king, William Rufus; and it was universally displeasing to the haughty Norman peers to see the king's gracious demeanor towards the hitherto oppressed and dispirited English portion of his subjects, for whom his amiable consort was constantly laboring to procure a recognition of their rights. "The malice of certain evil-minded men," says Eadmer, "busied itself in inventing the most cutting railleries on king Henry, and his wife of English blood. They nicknamed them Leofric and Godiva, and always called them so when not in the royal presence." [Ibid.] According to William of Malmesbury, however, duke Robert's partisans were not always so polite as to restrain their malapert language till the king and queen had withdrawn. "They openly branded their lord with sarcasms," says that quaint chronicler, "calling him Godric" (which means 'godly governor'),"and his consort Goddiva. Henry heard these taunts: with a terrific grin, indicative of his inward wrath, he repressed the contemptuous expressions aimed at him by the madness of fools by a studied silence; for he was a calm dissembler of his enmities, but in due season avenged himself with interest." It is probable that Warren, the disappointed suitor of Matilda, and his kinsman Mortimer, with others of the audacious Norman quens, who had previously exercised their wit in bestowing an offensive sobriquet on Henry before his accession to the throne, were among the foremost of those invidious detractors, who could not endure to witness the wedded happiness of their sovereign, and the virtuous influence of his youthful queen.

The invasion of duke Robert, Henry's eldest brother, on his return from the Holy Land, took place in the second year of Matilda's marriage. King Henry's fleet being manned with Norman seamen, and, of course, under the influence of Norman chiefs, revolted; and instead of guarding the coasts of England from the threatened invasion of the duke, swept across the narrow seas, and brought him and his armament in triumph to Portsmouth, where he was joined by the majority of the Anglo-Norman baronage. [Saxon Annals, a.d. 1101.] Robert had also his partisans among the English; for Edgar Atheling so far forgot the interests of his royal niece, queen Matilda, as to espouse the cause of his friend Robert against the king her husband.

Robert landed at Portsmouth, and marched direct to Winchester, where queen Matilda then lay-in with her first-born child, William the Atheling. When this circumstance was related to the duke, he relinquished his purpose of storming the city, with the observation, "that it never should be said he commenced the war by an assault on a woman in childbed, for that would be a base action." [Chronique dc Normandie.] Matilda duly appreciated this generous consideration on the part of her royal brother-in-law and godfather, and exerted all her influence to negotiate a peace between him and her lord, in which she was assisted by the good offices of the archbishop Anselm; and this formidable crisis passed over without the effusion of a drop of blood.[Ibid.] These are Hardyng's words on the subject:—

"But Anselm archbishop of Canterbury,
And queen Matilda, made them well accord;
The king to pay three thousand marks yearly
To duke Robert, withouten more discord."

After this happy pacification, Henry invited Robert to become his guest at the court, where the easy-tempered duke was feasted and entertained, greatly to his satisfaction, by his royal god-daughter Matilda, [M. Paris.] who, in her love of music, and the encouragement she bestowed on minstrels, or trouveres, quite coincided with the tastes of her sponsor and brother-in-law. So much did Robert enjoy his sojourn at Henry's court, that he stayed there upwards of six months, though his presence was greatly required in his own dominions. [Gem.]

An unfortunate misunderstanding took place between Henry and the archbishop Anselm, early in the year 1103. This quarrel originated in an attempt made by the archbishop to deprive the king of a privilege which had been claimed by the Saxon monarchs, of appointing his own bishops. Anselm wished to restore the nomination to the chapters, which Henry resolutely opposed. Both appealed to the pope, but Anselm went to Rome to plead his own cause against the king's three advocates, and remained in exile. The queen was much afflicted at the dissension between her royal husband and her old and valued spiritual father. She had loved and revered Anselm from her childhood, and he had been mainly instrumental in rescuing her from the joyless thraldom of the cloister, and securing to her the elevated position she enjoyed. She had been accustomed to correspond with Anselm, and she still continued to do so, in the hope of composing the unhappy differences which had driven him into exile. Six of her letters have been printed in the folio edition of Anselm's works; but they arc rather curious than entertaining, as affording evidence
of the classical attainments of this accomplished princess, as well as her knowledge of Scripture and her familiarity with the writings of the ancient philosophers. [Anselini Opera.]

The first letter in the series was apparently written before king Henry's quarrel with Anselm, and for the purpose of persuading him to relax from his ascetic habits, and to follow St. Paul's comfortable advice to Timothy on the score of water drinking, with many quotations from Greek and Roman philosophers, mingled with exhortations from holy writ; from which we gather that queen Matilda did not approve of her sickly archbishop going beyond a moderate temperance rule, and that she would not have patronized teetotalism if she had lived in these days. Her other letters to Anselm are full of lamentations for his absence, which she regarded as highly injurious to the interests of the church, and mourns over as if it were a severe personal misfortune to herself.

The pope addressed several letters to the king on the subject of the dispute. The first of these, which is in the tone of a paternal remonstrance, alludes to the birth of the infant Atheling in words which imply great respect for queen Matilda, and informs us how ardently Henry had wished for a son. "We have heard, too, that you have had the male issue you so much desired by your noble and religious consort." Pascal, in the course of this letter, endeavors to prevail on Henry to recall the primate, both by reasoning and persuasion. He even offers to bribe him by promises of indulgences and absolution for his sins and those of his consort; and also to cherish the son the said noble and exemplary lady had borne to him. [Chronicle of William of Malmesbury.]

Henry was insensible to all these sugared words, and remained contumacious. He had fixed his affections, not on the spiritual consolations, but the rich temporalities of the church, and was determined to try how far he might go in appropriating the revenues of Canterbury to himself, without exciting an insurrectionary movement among his people. He proceeded to such lengths, that pope Pascal threatened to excommunicate him, and place the kingdom under an interdict. At a period when all the kingdoms of Christendom were supposed to be at the disposal of the Roman pontiff, and the realm of England was not only challenged, but threatened with an invasion by so formidable a competitor as Robert of Normandy, this was no light threat to Henry. It was well for him that his prudent consort Matilda enjoyed the esteem of the pope, and was on such terms with Anselm, that she could, without any sacrifice of his dignity, mediate a reconciliation with both. No one who considers the correspondence of Matilda with these personages can doubt that her politic lord availed himself of her powerful influence with both to effect a pacification, when he had found he had gone too far. Matilda's second letter to Anselm, whilst containing an urgent entreaty for him to return, is accompanied by one from Henry himself, promising to live with him on the same amicable terms that his father the Conqueror did with archbishop Lanfranc. Henry likewise permitted his queen to compromise, in some degree, the perpetually disputed point of conge d'elire, in regard to preferments. Matilda declares that, "as far as in her lay," she had bestowed the appointment of Malmesbury abbey on Ulf, a monk of Winchester; but she had left the election open to his approbation or reversal. [Sancti Anselmi Epistolse.] Ulf was, by his name, a Saxon compatriot, who had found favor with his gracious queen; but between the royal power and the will of the archbishop, the monks of Malmesbury were meant to exercise small portion of that liberty of choice with which the church had endowed them. Independently of the perfect conjugal unity of purpose which marks the wedded life of Matilda and her lord, she neither could nor dared have intermeddled in such weighty matters without his sanction, and those who cannot perceive the diplomatic finesse with which she carries on the treaty for her husband, understand little of the characteristics of the royal pair.

In addressing the exiled primate, Matilda offers abundant incense to his spiritual pride. She styles herself "Matilda, by the grace of God queen of England, the lowliest of the handmaidens of his holiness;" [Ibid. lib. iii. ep. xcvi.] and thanks him for having condescended by his letters presented to show her his mind, although he was absent. "I greet the little piece of parchment sent by you as I would one from my father himself. I place it in my bosom near my heart: I read over and over again the words flowing from your kindness; my mind ponders them; my heart considers them. Yet, while I prize all you say, I marvel at what your wise excellency says about your nephew." [Ibid.] As the queen seems not very well to understand Anselm's allusion to his nephew, it is not possible for her biographer to explain it. However, Matilda speaks with full confidence on the possibility of her lord and master viewing ultimately the affairs of the church in the same light as she did; and she foretells; as the result of some secret consultation of which she was cognizant, evidently meaning the privy-councils of Henry the First, "that the return of the pastor to his flock, of the father to his daughter, would soon take place from the good will which," says she, "by carefully examining, I find really to exist in the heart of my lord. In truth, his mind has more friendship towards you than men think. I cultivate it, promoting whatsoever good feeling I can, in order that he may be reconciled to you. Whatsoever he may grant now in regard to your return, will be followed by further concessions when, in the future, you may see occasion to desire them. . . . But if he should still persist in overstepping the bounds of justice, I implore from the plentitude of your charity, as the venom of rancor is not accustomed to be in you, that you turn not from him the benignity of your regard; but piously intercede with God for him, for me, and for the children that spring from us both; likewise for the people of our realm. May your holiness ever fare well."

In the hope of averting from England and her king the threatened interdict, Matilda next addressed herself to the angry pontiff. Her letter, though partaking too much of the prolix formality of a state-paper for insertion, is very ably written; and though submissive on the whole, contains certain proof that, whomsoever might be a believer in his infallibility, she was not among the number. The very terms of her salutation contain an admonition that the attainment of the everlasting felicity she wishes him must depend on the manner in which he discharges the duties of his high vocation, for she says, "To the highest pontiff and universal pope Pascal: Matilda, by God's grace queen of the English, trusts that he will so dispense in this life the justice of the apostolical see, that he may deserve to be numbered among the apostolic conclave in the joys of perpetual peace with the companies of the just." Saintly, yet no slave of Rome, Matilda displays the high spirit of an English princess under all the elaborate terms of ceremonial lowliness in which her masterly letter is couched. She asks the pope to suspend his threatened fulmination, to give the king her lord time to effect a reconciliation with the archbishop; but follows up this prayer with an intimation that, if matters are driven to an extremity, it may cause a separation between England and the Roman see.

Duke Robert took advantage of the crisis to enter England, attended by only twelve gentlemen. Henry, having speedy information of his landing, declared, if he fell into his hands, he would keep him so closely imprisoned that he should never give him any more trouble. "Not so, sire," replied the count de Mellent; "he is your brother, and God forbid [Chronique de Normandie.] that you should do so great a villany. Let me meet and talk with him, and I will take care that he shall return quietly into Normandy, and give you acquittance of his pension withal."—"By my faith," replied the king, "I will make you do what you say." The count then mounted his horse, and encountering duke Robert on the road to Southampton, greeted him with these words: "St. Mary! what brings you into this country? Who has given you such fatal counsel? You know you have hitherto compelled the king to pay you four thousand marks a year; and for this cause you will be taken and put to death, or detained in prison for life. He is determined to be avenged on you, I promise you."

When the duke heard this he was greatly disturbed, and asked "if he could not return to Southampton?"—"No," replied Mellent, "the king will cause you to be intercepted; but even if you could reach that place, the wind is contrary for your escape by sea."—"Counsel me," cried the duke, "what I ought to do."—"Sire," replied the count, "the queen is apprised of the news, and you know that you showed her great kindness when you gave up the assault on Winchester because she lay in childbed there. Hasten to her, and commit yourself and your people to her care, and I am sure she will guard you from all harm." Then duke Robert went to the queen, and she received and reassured him very amiably; and by the sweet words she said to him, and the fear he was in of being taken, he was induced to sacrifice those pecuniary claims on the king his brother for which he had resigned the realm of England.

When Henry heard that his brother had granted an acquittance for this money to the queen, he requested her to come to him with duke Robert. Matilda, always happy to act the blessed part of a peace-maker, having introduced her brother-in-law into the presence of the king, duke Robert thus addressed him: "Fair sire, I am come to see you out of affection, and not to injure either you or yours. We are brothers, born of one father and one mother. If I am the eldest, you have the honor of a crown, which is a much better thing. I love you well, and thus it ought to be. Money and rents I seek not of you, nor ever will. I have quitted to the queen all you owe me for this kingdom. Enter we now together into perfect amity. We will exchange gifts of jewels, dogs, and birds, with such things as ought to be between brothers and friends."—"We will do as you say," replied the king, "and thanks for what you have said." [Chronique de Normandie, 248-9.]

The Saxon chronicler and some other historians affirm, indeed, that he invaded England; "but it is plain," says sir John Hayward, "that he only came for disport and play;" that is, to recreate himself at the court of Henry Beauclerc, and to enjoy the agreeable society of the queen his goddaughter, with the music and minstrelsy in which they both so greatly delighted. Well would it have been for the luckless Robert if all his tastes had been equally harmless and refined; but he had propensities disgraceful to his character as an individual, and ruinous to his fortunes as a prince. The chroniclers relate that he indulged in such excess of revelry while he was at the English court, that he was often in a state of inebriation for days together. [Eadmer.]

From William of Malmesbury's version of the manner in which Matilda obtained the resignation of Robert's pension, it should appear that she only made an indirect insinuation of how acceptable such an addition to her queenly revenues would be, and he bestowed it upon her without a word. Our shrewd old monk, however, has very little appreciation of such chivalric munificence to a royal lady, for he dryly observes, "And he, too, as if contending with Fortune whether she should give or he squander most, discovering the mere wish of the queen who silently desired it, kindly forgave the payment of this immense sum forever, thinking it a very great matter that female pride should condescend to ask a favor, although he was her godfather." According to another historian, Robert resigned his pension to Matilda at a carouse; and when he became aware of the folly of which he had been guilty, he was greatly exasperated, and bitterly reproached his brother Henry "with having cheated and despoiled him, by employing the queen to beguile him with fair words out of his pension, when he was under the influence of wine." [Eadmer. Gem.] It is certain that there was nothing but animosity between the royal brothers after this affair. In the year 1104, Henry left the government of England in the prudent hands of Matilda, and embarked for Normandy. While there, he consented to meet Anselm, the archbishop, at the castle of l'Aigle, where, through the mediation of his sister Adela, countess of Blois, a reconciliation was happily effected. Anselm then returned to England, where he was met at Dover by the queen Matilda, who received and welcomed him with the greatest demonstrations of satisfaction. [Pascal II. admitted Anselm, the favorite priest and prelate of Matilda, to a seat near his right foot; saying, "We admit this prelate into our circle, he being, as it were, the pope of the farther hemisphere."—Godwin de Praes.] As the venerable primate was in feeble health, the queen took the precaution of preceding him on the road from Dover to the metropolis, providing, as she went, for his comforts and accommodation. [Eadmer.]

The return of Anselm was attended with circumstances which gave great pain to Matilda, as an English queen. Both the king and archbishop, after their reconciliation, united in enforcing inexorably the celibacy of the Anglo-Saxon clergy, whose lower orders had previously been able to obtain licenses to marry. Anselm now excommunicated all the married clergy. Two hundred of these unfortunate Saxons, barefoot, but clad in their clerical robes, encountered the king and queen in the streets of London. They implored the king's compassion: he turned from them with words of insult. They then supplicated the queen to intercede for them, but Matilda, with tears in her eyes, assured them "that she dared not interfere." [Lingard.]

The year 1104 was marked by the birth of a princess, who was first named Alice, or Adelais, [Ibid.] but whose name the king afterwards changed to that of his beloved and popular queen, Matilda. This princess was afterwards the celebrated empress Matilda. "Satisfied with a child of either sex," says William of Malmesbury, "she ceased having issue; and enduring with complacency the absence of the court when the king was elsewhere employed, she continued many years at Westminster. Yet was no part of royal magnificence wanting to her, but at all times crowds of visitants and raconteurs came, and were entertained in her superb dwelling; for this the king's liberality commanded, this her own kindness and affability enacted. She was singularly holy, by no means despicable in point of beauty, a rival of her royal mother's piety, blameless as regarded feminine propriety, and unsullied even by suspicion. She had a singular pleasure in hearing the service of God, and on this account was thoughtlessly prodigal towards clerks of melodious voice, both in gifts and promises. Her generosity becoming universally known, crowds of scholars, equally famed for poetry and music, came over, and happy did he account himself who could soothe the ear of the queen by the novelty of his song."

Matilda's preference to foreigners in dispensing her patronage is censured by our worthy chronicler as one of her few faults. This he imputes to vanity or love of ostentation in the queen; "for," says he, "the love of fame is so rooted in the human mind, that scarcely any one is contented with the precious fruits of a good conscience, but is desirous of having their laudable actions blazed abroad. Hence it was justly observed, that the inclination crept upon the queen to reward all the foreigners she could, while the others were kept in suspense, and though sometimes rewarded, oftener tantalized with empty promises." Nor was this all; for, like a faithful annalist, Malmesbury chronicles the evil as well as the good of this illustrious lady, who, he says, "fell into an error incidental to prodigal queens by rack-renting her tenants, and thus extorting from them unjustly the means of supporting her liberality to others, who had less claims to her bounty. But whoso," pursues he, "shall judge rightly will impute this to her servants, who, harpy-like, conveyed everything they could gripe into their own purses, or wasted it in riotous living. Her ears being infected with the base insinuations of these people, she induced this stain on her noble mind, holy and meritorious in every other respect." [Giles's William of Malmesbury.] The profound tranquillity that subsisted in her husband's dominions during his frequent absences in Normandy is a proof that Matilda understood the art of domestic government, and practised it with a happier effect than the two first Anglo-Norman sovereigns, whose reigns were so greatly disturbed by insurrections.

Henry, after his successful campaign in Normandy, returned to England, in his personal appearance at least, an altered man. The Anglo-Normans had adopted the picturesque Saxon fashion—which, however, was confined to persons of high rank—of wearing their hair long, and flowing in ringlets on their shoulders; and the king was remarkable for the luxuriance and beauty of his love-locks, which he cherished with peculiar care, no doubt out of a laudable desire to conform to the tastes of his queen, the daughter of a Saxon princess. His courtiers imitated the royal example, which gave great scandal to the Norman clergy. One day, while the king was in Normandy, he and his train entered a church, where an ecclesiastic of the name of Serlo, bishop of Seez, took up his parable on the sinfulness of this new fashion, "which," he protested, "was a device of the Evil one to bring souls into everlasting perdition; compared the moustached, bearded, and long-haired men of that age to filthy goats," [Ordericus Vitalis.] and, in short, made so moving a discourse on the unloveliness of their present appearance, that the king of England and his courtiers melted into tears; on which Serlo, perceiving the impression which his eloquence had made, drew a pair of scissors out of his sleeve, and, instead of permitting their penitence to evaporate in a few unmeaning drops, persuaded his royal and noble auditors to prove the sincerity of their repentance by submitting their ringlets to his discretion, and brought his triumph to a climax by polling the king and congregation with his own hands. After Henry had thus submitted his flowing ringlets to the reforming shears of Serlo, he published an edict, commanding his subjects to follow his example.

Henry was then courting popularity in the duchy of Normandy, and well knew that the readiest way to effect his object was to win the good report of the monks. He had previously scandalized all piously disposed persons, by choosing for his private chaplain a priest whose only merit consisted in being able to hurry over matins and mass in half an hour. This was Roger le Poer, [Godwin de Praes.] afterwards the rich and potent bishop of Salisbury, whose hasty despatch of the morning service so charmed Henry that he swore aloud in the church "that he had at length met with a priest fit for a soldier." Roger, when he received this flattering commendation from the lips of royalty, was only a poor curate at Caen, but was advanced by Henry to the highest preferment in the church and state.

Queen Matilda did not long enjoy the society of her royal husband in England, and during the brief period he spent with her at Northampton, in the winter season, his whole time and thoughts were employed in raising the means for pursuing the war in Normandy. His unfortunate brother, Robert, finding himself sorely pressed on every side, and left, by his own improvident folly, without resources for continuing the contest, came over to England unattended, and, repairing to the court at Northampton, forced an interview with Henry [M. Paris.] (who was reluctant to admit him into his presence), and earnestly besought his compassion; telling him, at the same time, "he was ready to submit everything to his brotherly love, if he would only permit him to retain the appearance of a sovereign." As it by no means suited Henry's policy to yield to the dictates of natural affection, he coldly turned away, muttering something to himself that was unintelligible to the by-standers; and which he could not be induced to explain. Robert's quick temper could not brook this contemptuous usage, and, in a paroxysm of rage, he indignantly assailed his brother with a storm of reproaches, mingled with abuse and menaces; and without waiting to employ the good offices of queen Matilda, through whose kindly influence it is possible he might have obtained reasonable conditions of peace, he departed from Northampton the same hour. [Saxon Annals.]

In the spring, Henry once more committed the domestic affairs of his kingdom to the care of Matilda, and having levied an enormous tax on his subjects, to support the expenses of the war, embarked for Normandy. Matilda was principally employed, during the king's absence, in superintending the magnificent buildings at New Windsor, which were founded by Henry, and in the completion of the royal apartments in the Tower of London. She, as well as Henry, patronized Gundulph, the episcopal architect, to whom England is indebted for the most magnificent and lasting of her public buildings. Many useful public works, to which we have before alluded, furnished, under her auspices, employment for the working classes, and improved the general condition of the people.

While civilization and the arts of peace were rapidly progressing, through the beneficial influence of Matilda, at home, the arms of her royal consort were universally triumphant in Normandy. The unfortunate Robert Courthose, with his young son William (who was called Clito, or royal heir), with the earl of Mortaigne and all the nobles of their party, were taken prisoners at the decisive battle of Tinchebray, which was fought on the vigil of St. Michael, exactly forty years after the famous battle of Hastings. The English were much elated at this circumstance, whereby they flattered their national pride with the idea that the husband of their beloved queen, of Saxon lineage, had wiped away the dishonor of the Norman conquest, by subjugating Normandy to the yoke of England. Edgar Atheling, Matilda's uncle, was taken fighting for his friend Robert of Normandy, besides four hundred valiant knights. [W. Malmesbury.] Henry instantly released the aged prince, for love of the queen his niece, say some of the chroniclers of that period, and at her intercession settled a pension upon him for life.

Henry, now at the summit of his ambition, having verified the death-bed prediction of his father the Conqueror that he should unite in his own person the inheritance of both his brothers, returned triumphantly to England with his unfortunate captives. Robert he sent to Cardiff castle, where for a time his confinement was only a sort of honorable restraint, if we may credit the account which Henry himself gives of it in a letter to the pope: "I have not," says he, "imprisoned him as an enemy; but I have placed him in a royal castle, as a noble stranger broke down with many troubles, and I supply him abundantly with every delicacy and enjoyment."

Henry and Matilda kept their Easter this year at Bath, and, during the summer, introduced the popular custom of making a royal progress through different parts of England. [Saxon Chronicle.] They held their court the following year, for the first time, at New Windsor, then called, from the picturesque winding of the river Thames, Windlesore. This beautiful retreat was originally used as a hunting-seat by William the Conqueror, who, for better security of his person, converted it into a fortress or castle; but the extensive alterations and improvements which the elegant tastes of the Beauclerc sovereign and his accomplished consort Matilda of Scotland effected first gave to Windsor castle the magnificent and august character, as a royal residence, which has rendered it ever since a favorite abode with succeeding sovereigns.

Cardiff Castle.
Where Robert Courthose was held prisoner.

In the year 1108, the affairs of Normandy requiring the presence of the king, another temporary separation took place between Matilda and her royal lord. Indeed, from the time that the duchy of Normandy was subjected to his sway, it became a matter of necessity, in order to preserve his popularity with his continental subjects, to pass a considerable portion of his time among them: meanwhile, the peace and integral prosperity of England were best promoted by the presence of Matilda, who formed the bond of union between Henry of Normandy and the Saxon race. Therefore it appears to have been a measure of political expediency for her to remain with her splendid court at Westminster or London, endearing herself daily more and more to the people by her works of princely charity and the public benefits which she was constantly laboring to promote. Thus we see, on accurate examination, that, contrary to the assertions of one or two paradoxical writers who have assumed that Matilda was not treated with the affection and respect that were her due in wedded life, she enjoyed a degree of power and influence in the state perfectly unknown to the Saxon queens. She was so nobly dowered, withal, that in after reigns the highest demand ever made on the part of a queen-consort was, that she should be endowed with a dower equal to that of Matilda of Scotland. [Tyrrell.]

By close examination of the earliest authorities, we find that the first parliaments held by the Anglo-Norman dynasty were the fruits of the virtuous influence of this excellent queen over the mind of her husband. But as the fact whether parliaments were ever held before the reigns of Henry III. and Edward I. has been a point of great contest among modern historians, we take leave to quote the following lines from Robert of Gloucester in support of the assertion,—first, that parliaments were held; and next, that they were held through the influence of Matilda:—[Ibid. vol. ii. p. 430. The edition is royal octavo.]

"When his daughter was ten years old, to council there he drew,
On a Whit-Sunday, a great parliament he name [held]
At Westminster, noble enow, that much folk came."

[Robert of Gloucester died before he completed the reign of Henry III., consequently, if the first parliament were held in that of Edward I., he could not even have mentioned such legislative assemblies without possessing the gift of prophecy.]

Piers of Langtoft distinctly points out the classes of whom Matilda advised Henry to take counsel,—viz., barons, lords of towns, and burgesses. Here are the lines:—

"Maid the good queen gave him in council
To love all his folk and leave all his turpeile [disputing],
To bear him with his barons that held of him their fees [feofs],
And to lords of towns and burgesses of cities:
Through council of daine Maid, a kind woman and true,
Instead of hatred old, there now was love all new;
Now love they full well the barons and the king,
The king does ilk a deal at their bidding."

Robert of Gloucester, from first to last, speaks of queen Matilda as an active agent in the government of England, and the restorer and upholder of the Saxon form of legislature, whose system was that of a representative constitution. He says,—

"The goodness that king Henry and the good queen Mold
Did to this land ne may never be told."

The year 1109 must have been an era of eventful interest to Matilda. Her royal husband, having spent the winter and spring in Normandy, [Saxon Annals.] returned to England in the summer, to visit her and their infant family, and kept court with uncommon splendor in his new palace at Windsor, which had been completed in his absence. It was there that he received the ambassadors who came to solicit the hand of the princess Matilda for the emperor Henry V. [M. Paris. Huntingdon.] The proposal was eagerly accepted by Henry Beauclerc; and the princess, then just turned of five years old, was solemnly espoused by proxy to her royal suitor, who was forty years her senior; but, on account of her tender age, the infant bride was allowed for the present to remain under the care of the queen her mother. [M. Paris.] The fact that Henry's numerous illegitimate children were many of them adults at this period, proves that they were born in his youth, and at all events before his marriage with Matilda of Scotland.

In the year 1109, the mighty Norman chief Fitz-Haymon, lord of Glamorgan, dying without sons, left the lady Aimabel, his young heiress, to the guardianship of the king.

Henry, wishing to secure so rich a prize for his eldest natural son Robert, proposed him to his fair ward, as a suitable husband for her. But the haughty Norman damsel, though only sixteen, intrepidly replied, "That the ladies of her house were not accustomed to wed nameless persons." Then the king answered, "Neither shalt thou, damsel; for I will give my son a fair name, by which he and his sons shall be called. Robert Fitzroy shall be his name henceforth."—"But," objected the prudent heiress of Glamorgan, "a name so given is nothing. Where are the lands, and what the lordship, of the man you will me to wed, sire?"—"Truly," responded the king, with a smile, "thy question is a shrewd one, damsel: I will endow my son Robert with the lands and honors of Gloucester, and by that title shall he henceforth be called."

The lady Aimabel made no further demur, we are told, but wedded the king's son without delay. The fact was, the king was generously bestowing upon his son Robert the lands and honors which had been granted or sold to Fitz-Haymon, her deceased father, by William Rufus, once the patrimony of the luckless Brihtric Meaw; [See the preceding biography, and Domesday-book.] and the young lady, who seems to have been gifted with no ordinary share of worldly wisdom, thought, no doubt, that she had better hold the lands and honors of Gloucester on the tenure of wife-service to the king's son, than lose them altogether. Such were the dealings of the Anglo-Norman sovereigns with their wards. The high-spirited heiress of Fitz-Haymon was, however, fortunate in the marriage that was thus arranged for her by her royal guardian. Robert Fitzroy was the princely earl of Gloucester who so valiantly upheld the title of his half-sister, the empress Matilda, to the English crown in the succeeding reign.

A tax of three shillings on every hide of land was levied to pay the portion of the princess Matilda, by which the sum of 824,000l. was raised; and the princess was sent over to her imperial husband with a magnificent retinue. She was espoused to him in the cathedral of Mentz, [Simeon of Durham.] and solemnly crowned by the archbishop of Cologne. Queen Matilda was in the next year left to keep court alone, in consequence of a formidable insurrection in Normandy in favor of William Clito, son of the unfortunate Robert Courthose, which was privately fomented by the earl of Flanders. King Henry, perceiving that all classes of his continental subjects were averse to the yoke of an absent sovereign, considered it expedient to forego the society of his queen and children for a period of nearly two years, while he held his separate state in Normandy.

In the year 1112, we find the king and queen [Archaeologia.] were together at Winchester, with their court, where they personally assisted at the removal of the bodies of Alfred the Great and his queen Alswitha from the ruinous chapel of Newminster, close to Winchester cathedral, to the magnificent abbey of Hyde, [Henry VIII, brutally desecrated the place where reposed the remains of these patriot sovereigns. Englishmen of the eighteenth century, more barbarous still, converted the holy fane into a bridewell, and the bones of Alfred were by felon hands exhumed and dispersed.] founded and endowed by Henry and Matilda, as a more suitable shrine for the relics of their illustrious pro genitor,—from whom, be it remembered, Henry, as well as his Saxon queen, was descended in the eighth generation, through the marriage of Elstrith, the daughter of Alfred, with an earl of Flanders, his maternal ancestor. Here, too, the bones of Edward the Elder and his queen, the immediate ancestors of Matilda, were at the same time translated. [Archaeologia.] The following year Henry was again in Normandy, where he entered into an amicable treaty with one of his most troublesome enemies, Fulk earl of Anjou, by a matrimonial alliance between his heir, prince William, and Alice, the daughter of that earl.

The education of Matilda's eldest daughter being considered as completed in 1114, the marriage was fully solemnized between her and the emperor Henry V., and they were both crowned a second time, with great pomp, in the cathedral at Mentz. The young empress was then only in her twelfth year. Notwithstanding this great disparit

in age, it appears that the youthful bride enjoyed a reasonable share of happiness with her mature consort, by whom she was treated with the greatest indulgence, while her great beauty and majestic carriage won the hearts of the German princes, and obtained for her unbounded popularity.

Matilda's eldest son, prince William (or the Atheling, as he was more generally styled by the English), was, in the year 1115, conducted by the king his father with great pomp into Normandy, where he was presented to the states as the heir of the duchy, and fealty was sworn to him by the barons and freemen. This prince was then only twelve years old. He returned with his royal father to England in July, and the following year Henry summoned that memorable parliament, mentioned by Holinshed as the first held since the Norman conquest, to meet at Salisbury, and there appointed the young prince as his successor. William of Malmesbury says, "Every freeman of England and Normandy, of whatsoever degree, or to whatsoever lord his vassal service was due, was made to perform homage, and swear fealty to William, son of king Henry and queen Matilda." The Easter festival was kept this year by the royal family at Odiham castle, in Hampshire.

Matilda passed the Christmas festival of the same year, in the company of her royal husband, at the abbey of St. Alban's. [Newcome's History of St. Alban's, pp. 52, 93.] They were the guests of abbot Richard, who had then brought to a happy conclusion the building of that magnificent fabric. He invited the queen, who was one of its benefactresses, the king, and the archbishop of Rouen, and many prelates and nobles, to assist at the consecration of the abbey, which took place Christmas-day, 1115. The royal pair, with their suite of nobles and ladies, were lodged in the abbey, and entertained from December 25th to January 6th. The queen, sanctioned by Henry, gave, by charter, two manors to St. Alban's. The existence of a portrait of queen Matilda is certainly owing to this visit; for in a rich illuminated volume, called the Golden Book of St. Alban's (now in the British Museum), may still be seen a miniature of the royal benefactress. [Cottonian MSS. Nero, D, 7. A beautiful and accurate copy from the original has been drawn by M. Kearney at the expense of Henry Howard, Esq., of Corby, the descendant of Matilda, and presented by him to the authors of this work. It corrects, in many particulars, the errors of an engraving published by Strutt. We have the opportunity, in this new edition, of describing Matilda's portrait from an examination of the Golden Book itself, from which Mr. Harding, the celebrated antiquarian artist, has made our accompanying illustration. The Golden Book of St. Alban's is a sort of conventual album, in which were entered the portraits of all the benefactors of the abbey, together with an abstract of their donations. Five different artists, of various degrees of merit, may be traced in this collection. Some of the miniatures are exquisitely designed and colored, others are barbarous and puerile in their execution; some of the portraits are represented holding well-filled purses, others displaying the charters, with large pendant seals, which secured broad lands to church and poor. It is true that Matilda's portrait was not entered till the fourteenth century, when the book was first commenced; but the style of dress, together with the form of the throne on which the queen is seated, prove that the original design was drawn in the queen's own day; for the artists of the middle ages drew only what they saw, and had the limner been inclined to give a supposititious portrait of queen Matilda, he would have designed her figure clad in the costume of Edward the Third's era, and seated in the high-backed gothic chair of state on which royal persons were enthroned since the days of Edward I., as may be seen by reference to any collection of engravings from regal seals; instead of which, Matilda is seen seated on the primitive stone bench of Anglo-Saxon royalty, represented on the seals of the Anglo-Norman and early Plantagenet-monarchs.] The queen is attired in the royal mantle of scarlet, lined with white fur; it covers the knees, and is very long. The mantle is square to the bust. A cordon of scarlet and gold, with a large tassel, passes through two gold knobs: she holds the cordon in her left hand. She wears a tight kirtle of dark blue, buttoned down the front with gold. Her sleeves fit close to the arms, and are scarlet like the mantle. A white veil is arranged in a square form on the brow, and is surmounted by a gold crown, formed of three large trefoils, and gold oreillettes appear, beneath the veil on each side of the cheeks. The veil flows behind her shoulders with lappets. Matilda is very fair in complexion: she has a long throat, and elegant form of tall proportions. She displays with her right hand the charter she gave the abbey, from, which hangs a very large red seal, whereon, without doubt, was impressed her effigy in grand relief. She sits on a carved stone bench, on which is a scarlet cushion figured with gold leaves. This cushion is in the form of a wool-pack, but has four tassels of gold and scarlet. A piece of figured cloth is hung at the back of her seat. There are no armorial bearings,—one proof of the authenticity of the portrait. "Queen Matildis gave us Bellwick and Lilleburn," is the notation appended by the monks of St. Alban's to this portrait.

About this period, the stately new palace at Woodstock being completed, and the noble park, reckoned the finest at that time in England, having been walled round, Henry stocked it with a curious menagerie of wild beasts, the first zoological collection ever seen in this country. It is described in very quaint terms by Stowe, who says, "The king craved from other kings lions, leopards, lynxes, and camels, and other curious beasts, of which England hath none. Among others, there was a strange animal called a stryx, or porcupine, sent him by William of Montpelier; which beast," says the worthy chronicler, "is, among the Africans, counted as a kind of hedgehog, covered with pricking bristles, which they shoot out naturally on the dogs that pursue them."

Unbounded hospitality was one of the social virtues of this peaceful reign, [The following verses from an ancient MS., quoted by Collins, affords an interesting witness of this fact. They were inscribed by sir William Fitz-William, the lord of Sprotborough, on an ancient cross, which was demolished at the Reformation:—

"Whoso is hungry, and lists well to eat,
Let him come to Sprotborough to his meat;
And for a night and a day
His horse shall have both corn and hay,
And no one shall ask him, when he goeth away?"]

especially at this peculiar era, when the benignant example of the good queen had, for a period of nearly seventeen years, produced the happiest effect in softening the manners of the haughty and powerful chieftains who were at that time the magnates of the land. The Norman families, at this period, were beginning to practise some of the peaceful pursuits of the Anglo-Saxons, and ladies of high rank considered it no infringement on the dignity of their station to attend to the profitable concerns of the poultry-yard and the dairy. The countess Constance of Chester, though the wife of Hugh Lupus, the king's first cousin, kept a herd of kine, and made good Cheshire cheeses, three of which she presented to the archbishop of Canterbury. Giraldus Cambriensis bears honorable testimony to the excellence of the produce of the 'cheese-shire' in that day.

A fresh revolt in Normandy [Ordericus Vitalis.] deprived Matilda of the society of her husband and son in 1117. The king, according to Eadmer, returned and spent Christmas with her, as she was at that time in a declining state of health; [Saxon Annals.] leaving prince William with his Norman baronage, as a pledge for his return. [Eadmer, p. 118; see Rapin, vol. i. 199.] His sojourn was, of necessity, very brief. He was compelled by the distracted state of affairs in Normandy to rejoin his army there,—Matilda never saw either her husband or her son again.

Resigned and perfect in all the duties of her high calling, the dying queen remained, during this trying season, in her palace at Westminster, [William of Malmesbury.] lonely though surrounded with all the splendor of royalty; enduring with patience the separation from her beloved consort and children, and affording, to the last hour of her life, a beautiful example of piety and self-denial. She expired on the 1st of May, 1118, [Saxon Annals.] passionately lamented by every class of the people, to whom her virtues and wisdom had rendered her inexpressibly dear.

According to the most ancient chroniclers, the king her husband was much afflicted when the intelligence of Matilda's death reached him, amidst the turmoil of battle and siege in Normandy. [Robert of Gloucester.] Piers of Langtoft alludes to the grief felt by the royal widower, at the loss of his amiable consort, in terms of the most homely simplicity:—

"Now is the king sorry, her death doth him gram" [grieve].

Hardyng's rhyming Chronicle produces the following quaint stanzas on the death of Matilda, and the sorrow of king Henry for her loss:—

"The year of Christ a thousand was full clear,
One hundred eke and therewithal eighteen,
When good queen Maude was dead and laid on bier,
At Westminster buryed, as well was seen;
For heaviness of which the king, I ween,
To Normandy then went with his son
The duke William, and there with him did won."

Hardyng is, however, mistaken in supposing that Henry was with his beloved consort at the time of her decease. The same chronicler gives us another stanza on the death of Henry, in which he, in yet more positive terms, speaks of the conjugal affection which united the Norman sovereign to his Saxon queen:—

"Of Christe's date was there a thousand year,
One hundred also, and nine and thirty mo,
Buried at Redynge, as well it doth appear,
In the abbye which there he founded so,
Of inonkes black, whenever they ride or go,
That pray for him and queen Maude his wife,
Who either other loved withouten strife."

Another chronicler says, "Nothing happened to trouble the king, save the death of his queen Matilda, the very mirror of piety, humility, and princely bounty." [Florence of Worcester.]

The same causes that had withheld the king from attending Matilda in her dying illness prevented him from honoring her obsequies with his presence. Matilda was buried on St. Philip's day in Westminster abbey, on the right side of her royal uncle, Edward the Confessor. [Pennant's London. Robert of Gloucester.] Great disputes, however, have existed as to the place of her interment, [According to Stowe, her grave was in the vestry of the abbey.] which has been contested with almost as much zeal as was displayed by the seven cities of Greece in claiming the honor of having given birth to Homer. The monks of Reading averred that their royal patroness was buried in her own stately abbey there, where her illustrious consort was afterwards interred. The rhyming chroniclers insist that she was buried in St. Paul's cathedral, and that her epitaph was placed in Westminster abbey. These are the words of Piers of Langtoft:—

"At London, in St. Paul, in tomb she is laid,
Christ, then, of her soul have mercie;
If any one will witten [know] of her storie,
At Westminster it is written readily;"

that is to say, so that it may be plainly read. Tyrrell declares that she was buried at Winchester, but that tablets to her memory were set up in many churches,—an honor which she shares with queen Elizabeth. The following passage from Weever testifies that the mortal remains of Matilda, 'the good queen,' repose near the relics of her royal uncle, Edward the Confessor, in the solemn temple founded by that last Saxon monarch, and which had been completed under her careful superintendence. "Here lieth in Westminster abbey, without any tomb, Matilda or Maud, daughter of Malcolm Canmore, king of Scots, and wife of Henry I. of England, who brought to him children, William, Richard, and Mary, who perished by shipwreck, and likewise Maud, who was wife to Henry, the fifth emperor. She died the first day of May, 1118." [Weever's Funeral Monuments.] She had an excellent epitaph made to her commendation, whereof four lines only remain:—

"Prospera non laetam fecere, nec aspera tristem,
Aspera risus erant, prospera terror erant;
Non decor efficit fragilem, non sceptra superbam,
Sola potens humilis, sola pudica decens."

Henry of Huntingdon, the chronicler, no mean poet, was the author of these Latin lines, of which the following is a faithful version:—

"Prosperity could not inflate her mind,
Lowly in greatness, as in ills resigned:
Beauty deceived not, nor did crowns efface
Her best adornment, woman's modest grace."

William of Malmesbury, speaking of the death of Matilda of Scotland, says, "She was snatched away from her country, to the great loss of her people, but to her own advantage; for her funeral being splendidly solemnized at Westminster, she entered into her rest, and her spirit manifested, by no trifling indications, that she was a resident in heaven."

Some attempts, we suppose, therefore, must have been made by the monks of Westminster to establish for this great and good queen a deceptive posthumous fame, by the testimony of miracles performed at her tomb, or pretended revelations from her spirit to her contemporaries in the flesh. Our marvellous chronicler, however, confines himself to the above significant hints, and takes his leave of Matilda in these words: "She died willingly, leaving the throne after a reign of seventeen years and six months, experiencing the fate of her family, who all died in the flower of their age."

Many curious remains still exist of the old palace in Westminster, where Matilda kept state as queen, and ended her life. This venerable abode of our early sovereigns was originally built by Canute, and, being devastated by fire, was rebuilt by Edward the Confessor with such enduring solidity, that antiquaries still point out different portions which were indubitably the work of the royal Saxon, and therefore must have formed part of the residence of his niece. Part of the old palace of Westminster is still to be seen in the buildings near Cotton-garden, and the lancet-shaped windows about Old Palace-yard are declared to appertain to it. [Pennant.] Cotton-garden was the private garden of the ancient palace, and therefore belonged especially to queen Matilda. It would be idle to dwell on Westminster hall and Westminister abbey, though the original sites of both were included in the precincts of this palace, because one was rebuilt from the ground by Richard II., and the other by Henry III. Great devastation was made in the royal abode of the Anglo-Saxon queen by the late disastrous conflagration of the house of lords and its adjacent apartments, which all belonged to it.

The house of lords was an antique oblong room; it was the hall of state of Matilda's palace, and called the white-hall, but without any reference to the vast palace of Whitehall, to which the seat of English royalty was transferred in the reign of Henry VIII. As the Painted-chamber, still entire, is well known to have been the bedchamber of Edward the Confessor, and the apartment in which he expired, there can be no doubt but that it was the state bedchamber of his niece. A curious room in Cotton-house was the private oratory of the Confessor, and was assuredly used by Matilda for the same purpose; while at the south end of the court of Bequests are to be seen two mighty arches, the zigzag work of which ranks its architecture among the most ancient existing in our country. This was once a deserted state-chamber [Howell.] of the royal Saxon palace, but it has been used lately by the house of commons.

There is a statue of Matilda in Rochester cathedral, which forms the pilaster to the west door; that of king Henry, her husband, forms another. The hair of the queen depends over either shoulder, in two long plaits, below the knees. Her garments are long and flowing, and she holds an open scroll of parchment in her hand. Her features are defaced, and indeed so completely broken away, that no idea of what manner of countenance she had can be gathered from the remains.

King Henry proved the sincerity of his regard for Matilda by confirming all her charters after her death. Madox, in his history of the Exchequer, quotes one of that monarch's charters, reciting "that he had confirmed to the priory of the Holy Trinity in London the grant of his queen Matilda, for the good of her soul, of 25l. on the farm of the city of Exeter, and commands his chief justiciar and the barons of his exchequer to constrain the sheriff of Devonshire to pay the same to the said canons." [The appellation of court of Requests has no reference to modern legal proceedings. It was the feudal court of the high steward of England. It was used by the house of commons after the destruction of St. Stephen's chapel, while the lords obtained possession of the Painted-chamber.]

Matilda's household was chiefly composed of Saxon ladies, if we may trust the evidence of Christian names. The maids of honor were Emma, Gunilda, and Christina, pious ladies and full of alms-deeds, like their royal mistress. After the death of the queen, these ladies retired to the hermitage of Kilburn, near London, [Charter Antiq. Nn. 16.] where there was a holy well, or medicinal spring. This was changed into a priory [On its site are a public-house and tea-gardens, now called Kilburn-Wells.] in 1128, as the deed says, "for the reception of these three virgins of God, sacred damsels who had belonged to the chamber of Matilda, the good queen-consort to Henry I." [The original deed, preserved in the Cottonian MSS. Claudius. The appellation given to their office, domicella, proves their rank was noble, as this word will be seen applied even to the daughters of emperors.]

History only particularizes two surviving children of Matilda of Scotland and Henry I.; but Gervase, the monk of Canterbury, says she had, besides William and the empress Matilda, a son named Richard. Hector Boethius mentions a daughter of hers, named Euphemia. The Saxon Chronicle and Robert of Gloucester both speak of her second son Richard, and Piers of Langtoft says, "The two princes, her sons, were both in Normandy when Matilda died." Prince William the Atheling was destined to see England no more. During the remainder of the year 1118 he was fighting, by his father's side, against the invading force of the king of France and the partisans of his cousin William Clito. On one occasion, when the noble war-horse and its rich caparisons belonging to that gallant but unfortunate prince, having been abandoned during a hasty retreat, were captured, and Henry presented this prize to his darling heir, the noble youth generously sent them back, with a courteous message, to his rival kinsman and namesake. [Holinshed.] His royal father, king Henry, did not disdain to imitate the magnanimous conduct of his youthful son after the memorable battle in which the standard of France was taken: when the favorite charger of Louis le Gros fell into his hands, he returned it to the French monarch the next day.

The king of France, as suzerain of Normandy, at the general pacification required of Henry the customary homage for his feof. This the victorious monarch considered derogatory to the dignity of a king of England to perform, and therefore deputed the office to prince William, who was then invested with the duchy, and received the oath of fealty from the states. [Ordericus Vitalis. Tyrrell.] The prince solemnly espoused his betrothed bride Alice, the daughter of Fulk earl of Anjou, June, 1119. King Henry changed her name to Matilda, out of respect, it is said, for the memory of his mother; but more probably from a tender regard for his deceased consort, Matilda of Scotland, the love of his youth, and the mother of his children. The marriage was celebrated at Lisieux, [Saxon Annals.] in the county of Burgundy; and the prince remained in Normandy with his young bride, attended by all the youthful nobility of England and the duchy, passing the time gayly with feasts and pageants till the 25th of November, in the year 1120; when king Henry (who had been nearly two years absent from his kingdom) proceeded with him and an illustrious retinue to Barfleur, [Ordericus Vitalis.] where the king and his heir embarked for England the same night, in separate ships.

Fitz-Stephen, the captain of the 'Blanche Nef' (the finest vessel in the Norman navy), demanded the honor of conveying the heir of England home, because his father had commanded the Mora, the ship which brought William the Conqueror to the shores of England. His petition was granted; and the prince, with his gay and splendid company, entered the fatal bark with light hearts, and commenced their voyage with mirth and minstrelsy. The prince incautiously ordered three casks of wine to be given to the ship's crew; and the mariners were, in consequence, for the most part intoxicated when they sailed, about the close of day. Prince William, who was desirous of overtaking the rest of the fleet, pressed Fitz-Stephen to crowd his sails and put out his sweeps. Fitz-Stephen, having named the 'white ship' as the swiftest galley in the world, to make good his boast and oblige his royal passenger, caused his men to stretch with all their might to the oars, and did everything to accelerate the speed of his light bark. While the 'Blanche Nef' was rushing through the water with the most dangerous velocity, she suddenly struck on a rock, called the 'Catte-raze,' with such impetuosity that she started several planks, and began to sink. All was instant horror and confusion. The boat was, however, let down, and the young heir of England, with several of his youthful companions, got into it, and having cleared the ship, might have reached the Norman shore in safety; but the cries of his illegitimate sister, Matilda countess of Perche, who distinctly called on him by name for succor, moving him with a tender impulse of compassion, he commanded the boat back to take her in. Unfortunately, the moment it neared the ship such numbers sprang into it that it instantly sank with its precious freight; all on board perished, and of the three hundred persons who embarked in the 'white ship,' but one soul escaped to tell the dismal tale. This person was a poor butcher of Rouen, named Berthould, who climbed to the top of the mast, and was the next morning rescued by some fishermen. Fitz-Stephen, the master of the luckless 'white ship,' was a strong mariner, and stoutly supported himself for some hours in the water, till he saw Berthould on the mast, and calling to him, asked if the boat with the heir of England had escaped; but when the butcher, who had witnessed the whole catastrophe, replied "that all were drowned and dead," the strong man's force failed him; he ceased to battle with the waves, and sank to rise no more. [Thierry's Anglo-Normans.]

The report of this disaster reached England the next day. Theobald of Blois, the king's nephew, was the first who heard it; but he dared not inform his uncle of the calamity which had rendered his house desolate. The Saxon chronicler says, there perished another son of Henry and Matilda, named Richard, and also Richard, a natural son of the king; Matilda, his natural daughter, countess of Perche; Richard earl of Chester, his cousin, with his bride, the young lady Lucy of Blois, daughter of Henry's sister Adela, and the flower of the juvenile nobility, who are mentioned by the Saxon chronicler as a multitude of "incomparable folk."

King Henry had reached England with his fleet in safety, and for three days was permitted to remain in a state of the most agonizing suspense and uncertainty respecting the fate of his children. No one choosing to become the bearer of such evil tidings, at length Theobald de Blois, finding it could no longer be concealed, instructed a favorite little page to communicate the mournful news to the bereaved father; and the child, entering the royal presence with a sorrowful step, knelt down at Henry's feet, and told him that the prince and all on board the 'white ship' were lost. The great Henry was so thunderstruck with this dreadful news that he staggered and sank upon the floor in a deep swoon, in which state he remained for many hours. When he recovered, he broke into the bitterest lamentations, magnifying at the same time the great qualities of his heir and the loss he had sustained; and the chroniclers all agree that he was never again seen to smile.[King Henry's grief for the loss of his heir did not prevent him from endeavoring to make some advantage of it in a worldly point of view, by wrongfully detaining the dower of his young widow, who had escaped the fate of the unfortunate prince, by sailing in the king's ship instead of the fatal 'Blanche Nef.' She returned to her father, Fulk earl of Anjou, and remaining constant to the memory of William the Atheling, was veiled a nun in the abbey of Fontevraud. The earl of Anjou was so highly exasperated at the detention of her appanage, that he immediately gave her sister in marriage to William Clito, the son of Robert of Normandy, and assisted him to assert his claims against Henry.—Malmesbury's Chronicles.] The body of Prince William was never found, though diligent search was made for it along the shores. It was regarded as an augmentation of the calamity, that his delicate form, instead of receiving Christian burial, became a prey to the monsters of the deep. [William of Malmesbury.]

It is Henry of Huntingdon who exults so uncharitably over the catastrophe of the 'white ship,' in the following burst of poetic eloquence:—"The proud youth! he thought of his future reign, when he said 'he would yoke the Saxons like oxen.' But God said, 'It shall not be, thou impious one; it shall not be.' And so it has come to pass: that brow has worn no crown of gold, but has been dashed against the rocks of the ocean. It was God himself who would not that the son of the Norman should again see England." [Brompton also speaks unfavorably of this unfortunate young prince; but it should be remembered that England was a divided nation at that period, and that the Saxon chroniclers wrote in the very gall of bitterness against those whom the Norman historians commended. Implicit credence is not to be given to the assertions of either. It is only by reading both, and carefully weighing and collating facts, that the truth is to be elicited.]

In the last act of his life, William Atheling manifested a spirit so noble, so tenderly compassionate, and forgetful of selfish considerations, that we can only say it was worthy of the son of Matilda, the good queen. [Matilda's only surviving child, the empress Matilda, thus became king Henry's heiress-presumptive. She was the first female who claimed the regal office in England. The events of her life are so closely interwoven with those of the two succeeding queens, Adelicia, and Matilda of Boulogne, her royal contemporaries, that to avoid the tedium of repetition, and also to preserve the chronological stream of history in unbroken unity, which is an important object, we must refer our readers to the lives of those queens for the personal history of this princess, from whom her present majesty queen Victoria derives her title to the crown of England.]

Adelicia of Louvaine

Surnamed the fair Maid of Brabant

Second Queen of Henry I.

Adelicia's beauty—Imperial descent from Charlemagne—Standard embroidered by Adelicia—Preserved at Liege—Adelicia sought in marriage by Henry I.—Richly dowered—Embarks for England with Henry—King and queen parishioners of archbishop of Canterbury—Violence of archbishop—He crowns Adelicia—Eulogies on her beauty—Her prudence—Encouragement of literature—Empress Matilda—Adelicia childless—Empress Matilda kept in Adelicia's chamber—Difficult position of the queen—Friendship with her stepdaughter—Second marriage of the empress—Adelicia's conjugal virtues—Matilda returns to England—Remains with the queen—Birth of prince Henry—Death of king Henry—Adelicia's respect for his memory—Her troubadour writes king Henry's life—Her second marriage—William Albini—Her dowry—Palace—Receives empress Matilda—Message to king Stephen—Conjugal happiness of Adelicia—-Her charter—Her portrait—Her children—Charitable foundations at Arundel—Her younger brother abbot of Affligham—Adelicia retires to Affligham nunnery, in Flanders—Dies there—Record of her death—Buried—Her issue by Albini—Adelicia ancestor of two of our queens.

This princess, to whom contemporary chroniclers have given the name of "the fair Maid of Brabant," is one of the most obscure characters in the illustrious catalogue of English queens. Tradition, and her handmaid Poetry, have, however, spoken bright things of her; and the surviving historical records of her life, though brief, are all of a nature tending to confirm the good report which the verses of the Provencals have preserved of her virtues and accomplishments.

Descended, through both her parents, from the imperial Carlovingian line, [Howard Memorials.] Adelicia boasted the most illustrious blood in Christendom. She was the eldest daughter of Godfrey of Louvaine, duke of Brabant and Lotheir (or Lower Lorraine), and Ida countess of Namur. [Betham's Genealogical Tables. Buknet, or Bukein's, Trophees du Brabant. Howard's Memorials of the Howard Family.] Her father, as the great-grandson of Charles, brother to Lothaire of France, was the lawful representative of Charlemagne. The male posterity of the unfortunate Charles having been cut off by Hugh Capet, the rights of his house became vested in the descendants of his eldest daughter, Gerberga, [Ibid.] Lambert, the son of Gerberga, by her marriage with Robert of Louvaine, was the father of Godfrey. Ermengarde, the second daughter of Charles, married Albert, the third count of Namur: and their sole daughter and heiress, Ida (the mother of Adelicia), became the wife of her cousin, Godfrey of Louvaine, surnamed Barbatus, or 'the bearded,' because he had made a vow never to shave his beard till he had recovered Lower Lorraine, the patrimony of his ancestors. In this he succeeded in the year 1107, after which he triumphantly displayed a smooth chin, in token that he had fulfilled his obligation. He finally obtained from his subjects and contemporaries the more honorable appellation of Godfrey the Great. [Buknet's Trophies. Howard Memorials.] The dominions of this prince were somewhat more extensive than the modern kingdom of Belgium, and were governed by him with the greatest wisdom and ability.

From this illustrious lineage Adelicia inherited the distinguished beauty and fine talents for which the Lorraine branch of the house of Charlemagne has ever been celebrated. She was also remarkable for her proficiency in feminine acquirements. A standard which she embroidered in silk and gold for her father, during the arduous contest in which he was engaged for the recovery of his patrimony, was celebrated throughout Europe for the exquisite taste and skill displayed by the royal Adelicia in the design and execution of her patriotic achievement. [Ibid.] This standard was unfortunately captured at a battle near the castle of Duras, in the year 1129, by the bishop of Liege and the earl of Limbourg, the old competitor of Godfrey for Lower Lorraine: it was placed by them, as a memorial of their triumph, in the great church of St. Lambert, at Liege, and was for centuries carried in procession on Rogation-days through the streets of that city. The church of St. Lambert was destroyed during the French revolution; yet the learned editor of the Howard Memorials fondly indulges in the hope that this interesting relic of his royal ancestress's industry and patriotic feelings may yet exist, destined, perhaps, hereafter to be brought to light, like the long-forgotten Bayeux tapestry. The plain, where this memorable trophy was taken, is still called "the field of the Standard." [Brutsholrae.]

The fame of the fair maid of Brabant's charms and accomplishments, it is said, induced the confidential advisers of Henry I. of England to recommend their sorrow-stricken lord to wed her, in hopes of dissipating that corroding melancholy which, since the loss of his children in the fatal 'white ship,' had become constitutional to him. The temper of this monarch had, in fact, grown so irascible, that his greatest nobles feared to enter his presence, and it is said that, in his causeless transports of rage, he indulged himself in the use of the most unkingly terms of vituperation to all who approached him; [Speed. Rapin.] which made his peers the more earnest in their counsels for him to take a second wife. Adelicia of Louvaine was the object of his choice. Henry's ostensible motive in contracting this marriage was the hope of male posterity, to inherit the united realms of England and Normandy. ["It was the death of this youth," says William of Malmesbury, speaking of the death of the Atheling, "which induced king Henry to renounce the celibacy he had cherished since Matilda's death, in the hope of future heirs by a new consort."] He had been a widower two years when he entered into a treaty with Godfrey of Louvaine for the hand of his beautiful daughter. Robert of Gloucester, when recording the fact in his rhyming Chronicle, says,—

"He knew no woman so fair as she
Was seen on middle earth."

The name of this princess has been variously written by the chroniclers of England, Normandy, Germany, and Brabant, as Adeliza, Alicia, Adelaide, Aleyda or Adelheite, which means 'most noble.' In the Saxon Chronicle she is called Aethelice, or Alice. Mr. Howard of Corby castle, the immediate descendant of this queen, in his Memorials of the Howard Family, [Through the courtesy of his grace the late duke of Norfolk, I have been favored with a copy of this inestimable volume, which, as it is printed for private use, is inaccessible to the public, but is most important as a book of reference to the writers of royal and noble biographies.] calls her Adelicia, for the best of reasons,—her name is so written in an original charter of the 31st of Henry I., confirming her grant of lands for the foundation of an hospital of lepers at Fugglestone, near Wilton, dedicated to St. Giles; which deed, with part of the seal-appendant, is still preserved in the corporation chest at Wilton.

The Provencal and Walloon poets, of whom this queen was a munificent patroness, style her Alix la Belle, Adelais, and Alise, varying the syllables according to the structure of the verses which they composed in her honor,—a license always allowed to poetical writers; therefore the rhymes of the troubadours ought not to be regarded as the slightest authority in settling the point. Modern historians generally speak of this princess by her Latinized name of Adeliza, but her learned descendant's version of her name is that which ought

to be adopted by her biographer. There is no authentic record of the date of Adelicia's birth. Mr. Howard supposes she was about eighteen years old at the period of her marriage with Henry I., and it is certain that she was in the bloom of her beauty at the time he sought her hand.

In proportion to the estimation in which the charms of Adelicia were held did Henry fix her dower, which was so munificent that the duke of Louvaine, her father, scrupled not to consign her to her affianced lord, as soon as the contract of marriage was signed. The ceremony took place on the 16th of April, 1120, but the nuptials were not celebrated till some months after this period. King Henry, in person, conducted his betrothed bride to England in the autumn of this year. [Henry of Huntingdon. White Kennet.] They landed about Michaelmas. Some historians affirm that the royal pair were married at Ely, soon after their arrival; but if so, it must have been a private arrangement, for the nuptials were publicly solemnized at Windsor on the 24th of January, 1121; [Eadmer.] having been delayed in consequence of a singular dispute between the archbishop of Canterbury and the bishop of Salisbury, which established a point too important to be omitted in a history embracing, in a peculiar manner, the habits and customs of royalty. Roger le Poer, the bishop of Salisbury, that notable preacher of short sermons, claimed the right to marry the royal pair because the fortress of Windsor was within his diocese. This right was disputed by the aged Ralph, archbishop of Canterbury, who was a great stickler for the prerogatives of his office; and an ecclesiastical council was called, in which it was decided, that wherever the king and queen might be within the realm of England, they were the parishioners of the archbishop of Canterbury. Accordingly, the ceremony was triumphantly performed by the venerable primate, though bowed down by so many infirmities that he appeared like one tottering on the verge of the grave.

This afforded Henry an excuse for deputing the honor of crowning him and his bride on the following day, at Westminster, to his favorite prelate Roger le Poer, the bishop of Salisbury above named, to console him for his disappointment with regard to the hymeneal office. But the archbishop was not to be thus put off. The right of crowning the king and queen he considered a still more Important branch of his archiepiscopal prerogatives than that of marrying them, and, malgre his age and paralysis, he hastened to the abbey, where the ceremonial had commenced at an unusually early hour. Roger le Poer, his rival, having, according to his old custom, made unprecedented expedition in the performance of his office, had already placed the royal diadem on the monarch's brow, when archbishop Ralph sternly approached the royal chair, and asked Henry, "Who had put the crown on his head?" [Eadmer. Speed.] The king evasively replied, "If the ceremony had not been properly performed, it could be done again." On which, as some chroniclers assert, the choleric old primate gave the king such a smart blow with his crosier, that he smote the crown from his head; [Speed.] but Eadmer says he only raised it up by the strap which passed under the chin, and so turned it off his head. He then proceeded to replace it with all due form, and afterwards crowned the fair young queen. This most extraordinary coronation took place on Sunday, January 30th, 1121.

The beauty of the royal bride, whom Piers of Langtoft calls

"The May withouten vice,"

made a great impression on the minds of the people, which the sweetness of her manners, her prudence, and mild virtues strengthened in no slight degree. It was on the occasion of her bridal coronation that Henry of Huntingdon, the chronicler, addressed to Adelicia those celebrated Latin verses of which Camden has given us the following translation:—

["Anglorum regina, tuos Adelida, decores,
Ipsa referre parans Musa stupor riget.
Quid diadema tibi pulcherrima? quid tibi gemmae?
Pallet gemma tibi, nec diadema nitet.
Deme tibi cultus, cultum natura ministrat
Non exornari forma beata potest
Ornamenta cave, nec quicquam luminis inde
Accipis; illa micant lumine clara tuo,
Non puduit modicas de magnis dicere laudes
Ne pudeat dominam, te precor, esse meam."]

"When Adeliza's name should grace my song,
A sudden wonder stops the Muse's tongue;
Your crown and jewels, when compared to you,
How poor your crown, how pale your jewels show!
Take off your robes, your rich attire remove,
Such pomps may load you, but can ne'er improve;
In vain your costly ornaments are worn,
You they obscure, while others they adorn.
Ah! what new lustres can these trifles give,

Which all their beauty from your charms receive?
Thus I your lofty praise, your vast renown,
In lowly verse am not ashamed to have shown,
Oh, be you not ashamed my services to own!"

The wisdom of this lovely girl-queen early manifested itself in the graceful manner by which she endeavored to conform herself to the tastes of her royal lord, in the encouragement of the polished arts and the patronage of literature. Henry's love for animals had induced him to create an extensive menagerie at Woodstock, as we have seen, during the life of his first queen, Matilda of Scotland, who was probably well acquainted with natural history. The youthful Adelicia evidently knew nothing of zoology previously to her marriage with Henry Beauclerc; but like a good wife, in order to adapt herself to his pursuits, she turned her attention to that study, for we find Philippe de Thuan wrote a work on the nature of animals for her especial instruction. The poetical naturalist did not forget to allude to the personal charms of his royal patroness in his courtier-like dedication:—

"Philippe de Thuan, en Franceise raisun,
Ad estrait bestaire un livre de grammaire,
Pour lour d'une feme ki mult est belle,
Alix est namee, reine est corunee,
Reine est d'Engleterre, sa ame nait ja guere."

"Philippe de Thuan, in plain French,
Has written an elementary book of animals,
For the praise and instruction of a good and beauteous woman,
Who is the crowned queen of England, and named Alix."

One of the most approved historians of her day, the author of the Waltham abbey MSS., [See Cottonian MSS. Julius, D.] states that he was appointed a canon of Waltham abbey through the patronage of queen Adelicia. This chronicler is the same person who has so eloquently described the dismal search made for Harold's body, after the battle of Hastings.

Adelicia was deprived of the society of her royal husband a few weeks after their marriage, in consequence of a formidable inbreak of the Welsh, who had entered Cheshire, and committed great ravages. Henry went in person to the defence of his border counties, and having defeated the invaders, pursued them far into the country. During this campaign his life was in some peril: while separated from the main body of his troops, in a narrow defile among the mountains, he fell into an ambush, and at the same time an arrow, which was aimed at him from the heights above, struck him on the breast, but rebounded from his armor of proof. Henry, who probably did not give his Cambrian foes credit for that skill in archery for which his Norman followers were famed, intimated his suspicions of treachery among his own people by exclaiming, "By our Lord's death! it was no Welsh hand that shot that arrow." [Chron. Walli.] This narrow escape, or perhaps a wish of rejoining Adelicia at Westminster, induced the king to conclude a peace with the Welsh. A very brief season of domestic intercourse was, however, permitted to the royal pair. Fulk earl of Anjou having espoused his younger daughter Sybil to William Clito, the earls of Mellent and Montfort, with a considerable party of the baronage of Normandy, openly declared themselves in favor of that prince, the heir of their lawful duke, Robert Courthose.

Henry I. was keeping the Easter festival, with his beautiful young queen, at Winchester, when the news that Fulk of Anjou had joined this formidable confederacy reached him. He sailed for Normandy in April, 1123; and Adelicia was left, as his former queen, Matilda of Scotland, had often been before her, to hold her lonely courts during the protracted absence of her royal consort, and to exert herself for the preservation of the internal peace of England, while war or state policy detained the king in Normandy. Adelicia, following the example of her popular predecessor Matilda, "the good queen," in all that was deserving of imitation, conducted herself in a manner calculated to win the esteem and love of the nation,—using her queenly influence for the establishment of good order, religion, and refinement, and the encouragement of learning and the arts.

When Henry had defeated his enemies at the battle of Terroude, near Rouen, he sent for his young queen to come to him. Adelicia obeyed the summons, and sailed for Normandy. She arrived in the midst of scenes of horror, for Henry took a merciless vengeance on the revolted vassals of Normandy who were so unfortunate as to fall into his hands. His treatment of the luckless troubadour knight, Luke de Barre, [Sismondi.] though the circumstances are almost too dreadful for repetition, bears too strongly on the manners and customs of the twelfth century to be omitted. Luke de Barre had, according to the testimony of Ordericus Vitalis, been on terms of the greatest familiarity with Henry Beauclerc in the days of their youth, but, from some cause, had joined the revolt of the earl of Mellent in the late insurrection; and the said earl, and all the confederate peers allied against Henry's government in Normandy, had been wonderfully comforted and encouraged by the sirventes, or war-songs, of Luke. These songs were provokingly satirical; and, being personally levelled against Henry, contained, we should suppose, some passages which involved a betrayal of confidence, for Henry was so bitterly incensed, that, forgetful of their former intimacy, he barbarously condemned the luckless poet to lose his eyes on a scaffold, by the hands of the public executioner. This sentence was greatly lamented by the court, for Luke de Barre was not only a pleasant and jocose companion, but a gentleman of courage and honor.

The earl of Flanders interceded with his royal kinsman for the wretched victim. [Ordericus Vitalis.] "No, sir, no," replied Henry; "for this man, being a wit, a bard, and a minstrel, forsooth! hath composed many ribald songs against me, and sung them to raise the horse-laughs of mine enemies. Now it hath pleased God to deliver him into mine hands, punished he shall be, to deter others from the like petulance." The sentence therefore took place, and the hapless poet died of the wounds he received in struggling with the executioner. The Provencal annalists, however, declare that the gallant troubadour avoided the execution of Henry's sentence by dashing his head against the wall, which caused his death. [Ibid. Sismondi.] So much for the punishment of libels in the twelfth century!

Queen Adelicia returned to England September, 1126, accompanied by king Henry and his daughter, the empress Matilda, the heiress-presumptive of England, then a widow in her twenty-fourth year. Matilda, after the funeral of her august spouse, took possession of his imperial diadem, which she brought to England, together with a treasure which, in those days, was by some considered of even greater importance,—the hand of St. James. Matilda was reluctant to leave Germany, where she was splendidly dowered, and enjoyed a remarkable share of popularity. The princes of the empire were so much charmed at her prudent conduct and stately demeanor, that they entreated the king, her father, to permit her to choose a second consort from among their august body, promising to elect for their emperor the person on whom her choice might fall. [Gem. W. Malmesbury. Sir John Hayward. Speed.]

King Henry, however, despairing of a male heir, as he had been married to Adelicia six years, reclaimed his widowed daughter from the admiring subjects of her late consort, and carried her with him to England. Soon after their arrival, Henry summoned a parliament for the purpose of causing the empress Matilda to be acknowledged as the heiress-presumptive to the crown. This was the first instance that had occurred, since the consolidation of the Heptarchy under one supreme head, of a female standing in that important position with regard to the succession of the English crown. There was, however, neither law nor precept to forbid a female from holding the regal office, and Henry failed not to set forth to the representatives of the great body of the people, who had been summoned on this important business, his daughter's descent from their ancient line of sovereigns; telling them, "That through her, who was now his only heir, they should come to be governed again by the royal English blood, if they would make oath to secure to her, after his death, the succession as queen of England, in case of his decease without a male heir." [Henry of Huntingdon. W. Malmesbury. Gem.] It is, doubtless, on the authority of this remarkable passage in Henry's speech that historians have called his first wife, Matilda of Scotland, the heiress of the Saxon line.

The people of England joyfully acceded to Henry's proposition, and the nobles and prelates of the Norman aristocracy, assembled in council on this occasion, swore fealty to the high and mighty lady Matilda as their future sovereign. Stephen, earl of Mortagne, the king's favorite nephew (being the third son of the Conqueror's fourth daughter, Adela countess of Blois), was the first who bent his knee in homage to the daughter of his liege lord as the heiress of England, and swore to maintain her righteous title to the throne of her royal father. Stephen was the handsomest man in Europe, and remarkable for his fine carriage and knightly prowess. He bore great sway in the councils of his royal uncle, and was a general favorite of the nobles of England and Normandy. It has been said, withal, that his fine person and graceful manners made a deep impression on the heart of the widowed heiress of England.

The royal family kept their Christmas this year at Windsor, [Saxon Annals.] at which time king Henry, in token of his esteem for queen Adelicia, gave her the whole county of Salop. The empress Matilda did not grace the festivities by her presence, but remained in the deepest seclusion, "abiding continually," says Matthew Paris, "in the chamber of Adelicia;" by which it appears that, notwithstanding her high rank and matronly dignity as the widow of an emperor, the heiress of England had no establishment of her own. This retirement, lasting for several months, gave rise to mysterious rumors as to the cause of her being hidden from the people, who had so recently been required to swear fealty to her as their future sovereign. By some it was said "that the king, her father, suspected her of having accelerated the death of her late husband, the emperor, or of causing him to be spirited away from his palace." [Ever since the miserable death of his unhappy father, Henry IV., the emperor Henry V. had been subject to great mental disquiet, from the remorse which perpetually deprived him of rest. "One night he rose up from the side of the empress, and taking his staff in hand, with naked feet he wandered forth into the darkness, clad only in a woollen garment, and was never again seen in his own palace." This wild tale is related by Hoveden, Giraldus, and Higden, and various ancient manuscript chronicles, to say nothing of Trevisa, who adds, by way of sequel to the legend, that "the conscience-stricken emperor fled to England, where at Westchester he became a hermit, changing his name to 'God's-call,' or the called of God. He lived in daily penance for the space of ten years, and was buried in the cathedral church of St. Werburga the Virgin."] But that was evidently a groundless surmise; for W. Gemeticiensis, a contemporary chronicler, bears testimony to "her prudent and gracious behavior to her imperial spouse, which," he observes, "was one of the causes which won the esteem of the German princes, who were urgent in their entreaties to her royal father for her restoration." This Henry pertinaciously refused, repeating, "that she was his only heir, and must dwell among her own people." Yet, early in the following year, he again bestowed her in marriage, without the consent of his subjects in England, and decidedly against her own inclination, on a foreign prince, whom she regarded with the most ineffable scorn as her inferior in every point of view.

We have seen that, in her tender infancy, Matilda was used as a political puppet by her parent to advance his own interest, without the slightest consideration for her happiness. Then the victim was led a smiling sacrifice to the altar, unconscious of the joyless destiny to which parental ambition had doomed her. Now the case was different; it was no meek infant, but a royal matron, who had shared the imperial throne of a Kaiser, and received for years the homage of vassal princes. Moreover, she whom Henry endeavored to compel to an abhorrent marriage of state possessed a mind as inflexible as his own. The disputes between the king and his daughter must have arisen to a very serious height before he took the unpopular step of subjecting her to personal restraint, by confining her to the apartments of his queen. Matthew Paris, indeed, labors to convince us that there was nothing unreasonable in this circumstance. "Where," says he, "should an empress live rather than with a queen, a daughter than with a mother, a fair lady, a widow and the heir of a great nation, than where her person might be safest from danger, and her conduct from suspicion?" The historian, however, forgets that Matilda was the step-daughter of the queen; that Adelicia was not older than herself, and, from the acknowledged gentleness of her disposition, unlikely to assume the slightest maternal control over the haughty heiress of England. Adelicia must have felt herself very delicately situated in this business; and it appears probable that she acted as a mediator between the contending parties, conducting herself rather as a loving sister than an ambitious step-dame. The accomplished editor of the Howard Memorials infers that a very tender friendship existed between the empress Matilda and Adelicia through life, which probably had commenced before 'the fair maid of Brabant' was selected from among the princesses of Europe to share the crown of England with Henry I.; for Matilda's imperial spouse, the emperor Henry V., had been actively instrumental in assisting Godfrey Barbatus, the father of Adelicia, in the recovery of Lower Lorraine,—an obligation which the Louvaine princess certainly endeavored to repay to his widow. [Howard Memorials. Chronicles of Brabant.] Adelicia's uncle, Wido of Louvaine, afterwards pope Calixtus II., was at one period archbishop of Vienne, and it is even possible that Henry's attention was first attracted to the fair maid of Brabant at the court of his daughter; and the previous intimacy between the ladies may account for the fact that the haughty Matilda lived on such good terms with her step-mother, for Adelicia appears to have been the only person with whom she did not quarrel.

The prince to whom Henry I. had pledged the hand of his perverse heiress was Geoffrey Plantagenet, the eldest son of his old antagonist, Fulk earl of Anjou, and brother to the widowed princess who had been espoused to Matilda's brother, William the Atheling. Geoffrey had been the favorite companion of king Henry I. when on the continent. His fine person, his elegant manners, great bravery, and, above all, his learning, made his society very agreeable to a monarch who still possessed these excellences in great perfection. [1126 to 1127. Chron. de Normand. and Script. Rer. France.] Some of the French chroniclers declare this Geoffrey to be the first person that bore the name of Plantagenet, from putting in his helmet a plume of the flowering broom when he went to hunt in the woods.

Motives of policy inclined Henry to this alliance. Fulk of Anjou, who had hitherto supported the claims of his gallant young son-in-law, William Clito, to the dukedom, was willing to abandon his cause, provided Henry would marry Matilda to his heir. This Henry had engaged to do, without the slightest attention to his daughter's feelings.

His favorite nephew, Stephen of Blois, is said to have rendered himself only too dear to the imperial widow, although at that time a married man. The ceremony of betrothment between Geoffrey of Anjou and the reluctant Matilda took place on Whit-Sunday, 1127, and she was, after the festivities of Whitsuntide were over, conducted into Normandy by her half-brother, Robert earl of Gloucester, and Brian, son of Alan Fergeant, earl of Richmond, with great pomp.

The feasts and pageants that attended her arrival in Normandy were prolonged during three weeks. On the first day, heralds in grand costume went through the streets and squares of Rouen, shouting at every crossway this singular proclamation:—

"Thus saith King Henry!

"Let no man here present, whether native or foreigner, rich or poor, high or low, warrior or rustic, be so bold as to stay away from the royal rejoicings; for whosoever shall not take part in the games and diversions, shall be considered guilty of an offence to our lord the king." [Brompton. Malmesbury. Script. Rer. France.]

King Henry had given positive commands to Matilda and her illustrious escort that the nuptials should be solemnized by the archbishop of Rouen immediately on her arrival; [Saxon Annals. S. Dunelm. Malmesbury. Huntingdon.] but he was himself compelled to undertake a voyage to Normandy, in August, to see the marriage concluded, which did not take place till the 26th of that month; [Saxon Annals.] from which we may reasonably infer that the reluctant bride paid very little attention to his directions. The affair was at length, however, accomplished to Henry's satisfaction, more especially as Fulk of Anjou, being called to the throne of Jerusalem by the death of Baldwin II., his father-in-law, resigned his patrimonial territories to his heir. Yet there were many circumstances that rendered this alliance a fruitful source of annoyance to Henry. The Anglo-Norman barons and prelates were highly offended in the first place, that the king should have presumed to marry the heiress of the realm without consulting them on the subject; and the English were no less displeased at the open violence that had been put on the inclinations of the descendant of their ancient sovereigns in this foreign marriage. As for Matilda, it should seem that she did not consider herself by any means bound to practise the duty of obedience, or even of common courtesy, to a husband who had thus been forced upon her against her own will; and while she exacted the most unqualified submissions from her luckless helpmate, she perpetually wearied her father with complaints of his conduct.

Queen Adelicia was rejoined by king Henry in the autumn, and they kept their Christmas together in London. Early in the following spring, 1128, he was again compelled to embark for Normandy, to defeat the enterprising designs of his nephew, William Clito, who, having succeeded to the earldom of Flanders, in right of his grandmother Matilda, the wife of William the Conqueror, was enabled to assume a more formidable attitude than he had yet done. But this gallant and unfortunate prince met with his death in consequence of a slight wound in the thumb, which he took in disarming a mutinous soldier of his lance. He died six days after, [His captive father, Robert Courthose, it is said, one morning surprised his attendants by weeping piteously, and exclaiming, "My son is dead! my son is dead!" and related, "that he had in his dreams, that night, seen him mortally wounded with a lance."—Ordericus Vitalis.] in the monastery of St. Bertin, July 27th, 1128. This formidable rival being now removed, Henry appeared at the summit of his ambition, and was considered the mightiest monarch of the West. He was the husband, withal, of one of the most beautiful and amiable princesses in Europe.

Whether the fair Adelicia loved her royal spouse, history has not recorded; but her conduct as a wife, a queen, and even as a step-mother, was irreproachable. When all circumstances are considered, it can scarcely be imagined, however, that her splendid marriage was productive of happiness to the youthful wife of Henry I. To say nothing of the disparity in years between this illustrious pair, the morbid sorrow of which Henry was the perpetual prey after the loss of his children in the 'white ship,' the irascibility of temper to which he gave way in his old age, and his bitter disappointment at the want of offspring from his second marriage, must have been most distressing to the feelings of his gentle consort. Then the stormy disputes between Henry and his only daughter Matilda could not have been otherwise than very painful to her. Whatever, however, were the trials with which Adelicia had to contend, she evidently supported them with silent magnanimity, and at the same time endeavored to soothe and cheer the gloom of her wayward lord by attracting to the court the most distinguished poets and minstrels of the age, who repaid her liberal patronage by celebrating her virtues and her charms.

Adelicia frequently attended her royal husband on his progresses. Her presence was, doubtless, of medicinal influence in those fearful hours when the pangs of troubled conscience brought the visitations of an evil spirit upon Henry, and sleep either forsook his pillow or brought visionary horrors in its train. In the year 1130, the king complained to Grimbald, his Saxon physician, that he was sore disquieted of nights, and that he seemed to see a great number of husbandmen with their rustical tools stand about him, threatening him for wrongs done against them. Sometimes he appeared to see his knights and soldiers threatening him; which sight so feared him in his sleep, that ofttimes he rose undrest out of his bed, took weapon in hand, and sought to kill them he could not find. Grimbald, his physician, being a notably wise man, expounded his dreams by true conjecture, and willed him to reform himself by alms and prayer, as Nebuchadnezzar did by the counsel of Daniel.[Stowe. H. Huntingdon.] It is probable that the unfortunate troubadour knight, Luke de Barre, was not forgotten by the conscience-stricken monarch, though historians have not recorded that his mangled form was among the ghastly dramatis personae that, in his latter years, made king Henry's nights horrible. Malmesbury tells us, moreover, that Henry had an inveterate habit of snoring: "his sleep was heavy, but interrupted with loud and perpetual snoring." Sergel adds, that he was so haunted with the fear of assassination, that he frequently changed his bed, increased his guards, and caused a sword and shield to be constantly placed near him at night,—no enviable state of companionship, we should imagine, for the young and innocent being whose fate was indissolubly linked with his. It must have been a relief at all times to Adelicia when her royal husband's presence was required in Normandy.

On the death of Adelicia's uncle, pope Calixtus II., a dispute occurring in the election of two rival pontiffs as successors to the papal chair, Henry proceeded to the continent in the year 1130, in the hope of reaping some political advantage from the candidate whose cause he espoused. His arrangements were perfectly satisfactory as to that matter, but he was to the last degree harassed by the quarrels between his daughter and her unbeloved spouse, Geoffrey of Anjou. After ho had thrice adjusted their differences, Matilda, on some fresh offence which she either gave or took, abjured her husband's company, departed from his court, and claimed the protection of the king her father, with whom she once more returned to England, [Roger Hoveden. H. Huntingdon.] having, by the eloquence of tears and complaints, succeeded in exciting his indignation against her husband, and persuading him that she was an injured person. The oath of fealty to Matilda, as the heiress of England, was again renewed by the general estates of the nation at Northampton, September, 1131. [Malmesbury. H. Huntingdon.] The count of Anjou then sent an humble entreaty to his haughty consort to return to him; the king and parliament seconded his request, and all due submissions having been made by Geoffrey, Matilda was at length induced to obey him. [A passage from Mezerai casts some light on the separation that took place between the widowed empress and her new spouse. After the nuptials of this pair, a monk came to Matilda, and declared that her late lord, the emperor Henry, had not died at Utrecht, as she and all the world supposed, but that he finished his days as a servant in an hospital, which severe penance he had sworn to inflict on himself for his heavy sins. When dying at Angers, the disguised emperor discovered himself to this monk, his confessor, who came to Matilda with the news. In conclusion, it is said the empress attended the death-bed of Henry V., and recognized and acknowledged him as the emperor, her first husband.]

The following year was remarkable for a destructive fire, which consumed the greatest part of London; [H. Huntingdon.] but soon after this national calamity, the joyful news that the empress Matilda had given birth to a prince [R. Diceto. M. Paris.] diverted the attention of the royal family from the contemplation of this misfortune, and cast the last gleam of brightness on the declining years of the king. The young prince was named Henry, after his royal grandfather, the king of England. The Normans called him Fitz-Empress, but king Henry proudly styled the boy Fitz-Conqueror, in token of his illustrious descent from the mightiest monarch of the line. [M. Westminster.]

King Henry summoned his last parliament in 1133, for the purpose of causing this precious child to be included in the oath of fealty, by which the succession to the throne was for the third time secured to his daughter, the empress Matilda. If queen Adelicia had brought him a son, after these repeated acts in favor of his daughter (by a princess whom the majority of the people regarded as the heiress of the royal English line), a civil war respecting the succession must have occurred. The childless state of the beautiful young queen, though so deeply lamented by her royal husband, was one of the causes of the amity and confidence that subsisted between her and her haughty step-daughter.

Towards the latter end of this summer, king Henry embarked on his last voyage for Normandy. The day was remarkable for a total eclipse of the sun, accompanied with storms and violent commotions of the deep. [Saxon Annals.] It was so dark, say the annalists of that era, "that on board the royal ship no man might see another's face for some hours." The eclipse was followed by an earthquake; and these two phenomena were, according to the spirit of the age, regarded as portents of horror and woe, and it was predicted that the king would never return from Normandy. [W. Malmesbury.]On a former occasion, when Henry had embarked for England, in June, 1131, he was so dismayed by the bursting of a water-spout over the vessel, and the fury of the wind and waves, that, believing his last hour was at hand, he made a penitent acknowledgment of his sins, promising to lead a new life if it should please God to preserve him from the peril of death, and, above all, he vowed to repeal the oppressive impost of 'danegelt' for seven years, if he were permitted to reach the English shore in safety. [Saxon Annals.] From this incident we may infer that Henry I. was by no means impressed with his brother Rufus's bold idea, of the security of a king of England from a watery grave; but the catastrophe of his children in the fatal 'white ship' had no doubt some effect on his mind during these perils on the deep.

The summer of 1133 he spent in Normandy, in feasts and rejoicings for the birth of his infant grandson. That event was, however, only the precursor of fresh dissensions between that ill-assorted pair, the empress Matilda and her husband Geoffrey Plantagenet. Her late visit to England had renewed the scandalous reports respecting her partiality for her cousin, Stephen of Blois; while the birth of a son in the sixth year of her marriage, proved anything but a bond of union between her and her consort. [Saxon Chronicle.]

There is no reason to suppose that Adelicia was with the king her husband at the time of his death, which took place in Normandy, in the year 1135, at the castle of Lyons, near Rouen, a place in which he much delighted. It is said, that having over-fatigued himself in hunting in the forest of Lyons, he returned much heated, and, contrary to the advice of his courtiers and physicians, made too full a meal on a dish of stewed lampreys, his favorite food, which brought on a violent fit of indigestion (called by the chroniclers a surfeit), ending in a fever, of which he died, after an illness of seven days, at midnight, December 1st, in the sixty-seventh year of his age. He appears to have been perfectly conscious of his approaching dissolution, for he gave particular directions respecting his obsequies to his natural son, Robert earl of Gloucester, whom he charged to take 60,000 marks out of his treasure-chest at Falaise, for the expenses of his funeral and the payment of his mercenary troops. [Ordericus Vitalis. W. Malmesbury.]He solemnly bequeathed his dominions to his daughter the empress, not without some indignant mention of her luckless spouse, Geoffrey of Anjou, his former eleve and bel ami. He absolutely excluded him from any share in his bequests, and with much earnestness constituted his beloved son, earl Robert, the protector of his daughter's rights.

Robert of Gloucester gives the following serio-comic account of the royal wilfulness, in partaking of the interdicted food which caused his death:—

"When he came home, he willed him a lamprey to eat,
Though his leeches him forbade, for it was a feeble meat;
But he would not then believe, for he loved it well enow,
And ate in evil case, for the lamprey it him slew;
For right soon after it into anguish him drew,
And he died for his lamprey, unto his own woe."

The noble earls who surrounded the death-bed of king Henry, and listened to his last instructions respecting his funeral, attended his remains from the town of St. Denis le, Torment (where he breathed his last) to Rouen; and when they entered that city, they reverently bore the bier, on which the royal corpse was laid, on their shoulders by turns. [Henry of Huntingdon.]

Two illuminated portraits of Henry I. are in existence: both represent him as advanced in life, and in a melancholy attitude,—supposed to be after the loss of his children. His face is handsome, with high and regular features, his hair curling, but not long. His figure is emaciated in one; he is clad in a very close dress, with his regal mantle folded about him; his shoe and stocking all of a piece, and the toe pointed; his crown is ornamented with three trefoils; his sceptre is a staff with an ornamented head; he is seated on a stone bench, carved in an architectural design. He is represented in the other in the robes he wore at the bridal coronation of Adelicia. [These portraits exactly agree with the descriptions of the costume from the monastic chronicles:—"They wore close breeches and stockings, all of a piece, made of fine cloth." The pointed shoes were brought in by William Rufus, but were first invented by Folque le Rechin (whose surname means 'the quarreller') count of Anjou, to hide his corns and bunions. The queen and women of rank wore gowns and mantles trailing on the ground. The married women wore an additional robe over the gown, not unlike the sacerdotal garment; to the girdle a large pouch or purse was suspended, called an aumoniere. The men wore their hair in long curls, which provoked the wrath of popular preachers; the married women braided theirs very closely to the side of the face, or hid it.]

Henry received from his subjects the title of 'the Lion of Justice.' This appellation was drawn from the prophecies of Merlin, then very popular in England. On the accession of every sovereign to the English throne, all his subjects consulted these rigmaroles, as naturally as we consult an almanac to know when there is a new moon. "After two dragons," says Merlin, "the lion of Justice shall come, at whose roaring the Gallic towers and island serpents shall tremble."

This 'lion of Justice' certainly suffered no one to break the laws but himself. If he is accountable for the villanies of his purveyors, his standard of justice was not very high: "The king's servants, and a multitude following the royal retinue, took and spoiled everything the way the king went, there being no discipline or good order taken. [Eadmer.] When they could not consume what they found in the house they had broken into, they made the owners carry it to market and sell it for them; they burned the provisions, or washed their horses' feet with the ale or mead, or poured the drink on the ground, or otherwise wasted it, so that every one hearing of the king's coming would run away from their houses." Whenever Henry I. was under any apprehensions from his brother Robert, he regulated his household somewhat better, and kept the lawlessness of his purveyors within bounds. [Malmesbury.]

Henry carried the art of dissimulation to such a pitch, that his grand justiciary started when he heard the king had praised him, and exclaimed, "God defend me! The king praises no one but him whom he means to destroy." [Henry of Huntingdon.] The result proved the deep knowledge which the minister had of his royal master's character, as Henry of Huntingdon, his archdeacon, details at length.

The removal of Henry's body for interment was delayed for several weeks by tempestuous weather; but the seas becoming calmer after Christmas, it was put on shipboard, and safely transported to England. His obsequies were celebrated with great magnificence in the abbey-church of Beading, which he had built and endowed for that purpose. His nephew and successor, Stephen, assisted at the funeral.

Queen Adelicia gave one hundred shillings annually out of her wharf at London, called Queenhythe, for the expenses of a lamp to burn perpetually before his tomb.

On the first anniversary of king Henry's death, the royal widow, accompanied by her brother Josceline of Louvaine, and attended by her almoners, chaplains, and the officers of her household, entered the abbey-church of Heading, where, being received with all due ceremonials of respect by a numerous train of abbots, priors, and priests, she proceeded in solemn pomp up the aisle, supported by the bishops of Salisbury and Worcester, and gave public testimonial of her regard for the memory of her late consort, by placing with her own hand a rich pall on the altar, in token that she made an oblation to God and the monks of St. Mary, Beading, of her manor of Eastone, [The original charter is still in excellent preservation, in the possession of Abel Smith, esquire, M.P. Having been favored with a translation of this curious document, through the kindness of my learned friend, Rouge Croix, I subjoin it, in illustration of the customs of that era, and as affording evidence of the disputed fact, that Josceline of Louvaine joined his royal sister in England:—

Queen Adelid's Charter.

"Be it known to all the faithful of Holy Church of all England and Normandy, that I, queen Adelidis, wife of the most noble king Henry, and daughter of Godefry duke of Lorraine, have granted and given forever to God and the church of St. Mary of Reading, for the health and redemption of the soul of my lord the most noble king Henry, and of mine own; and also for the health of my lord Stephen, by the grace of God king of the English, and of queen Maud his wife, and all the offspring of the most noble king Henry, and of my father and mother and relations, as well living as dead, my manor of Eastone, which my lord the most noble king Henry gave to me as his queen and wife, in Hertfordshire, with all its appurtenances, to be held as freely and quietly as ever I myself ,held it best in demesne by the gift of my lord the most noble king Henry; that is, with sac and soc, and toll and team, and infangthef with the church and the demesne land, with men free and villains, with wood and plain, with meadow and pasture, with waters and mills, with roads and ways, with all the customs and liberties with which my lord held it in demesne, and gave it to me. And this gift I have made on the first anniversary of my lord the most noble king Henry in the same church, by the offering of a pall which I placed on the altar, in presence of the subscribed; that is, of Roger bishop of Salisbury, Simon bishop of Worcester, Ingulf abbot of Abingdon, Walter abbot of Eynesham, Bernard abbot of St. Michael's mount, Warine prior of Worcester, Nicholas prior of St. Martin's of Battle, Ralf prior of Osney, Herman chaplain to the queen, master Serlo the queen's clerk, Adam and Robin Fitzwalter, canons of Waltham, Ralf, Theobald, and Roger, clerks of the bishop of Salisbury, Simon, nephew of the bishop of Worcester, Gervase and Bertram, clerks of the bishop of Worcester, Josceline, brother to the same queen, Peverel of Beauchamp, Milo of Beau champ, Stephen of Beauchamp, Hugo of Cramonville, Maurice of Windsor and his brother Reginald, Geoffrey of Tresgoz, Robert of Tresgoz, John de Falaise, Robert of Calz, Franco of Bruscella, Gozo the queen's constable, Engelbert of the hall, William of Harfleot, William of Berckeley, Walter of Dene, Baldwin
Despenser, Vical the waterman, Warine of Blancbuisson. At Hading (Reading)."]

in Hertfordshire (formerly given to her by her said lord king Henry), in order to obtain their prayers for the benefit of his soul, her own soul, the souls of her father and mother, and also for the health of the reigning sovereign king Stephen, and queen Maud his wife. By a second charter, commencing "Ego Adalid regina," she also gave the manor of Stanton Harcourt, in Oxfordshire, etc., etc., for the expenses of a solemn service for the repose of her royal husband's soul. [Howard Memorials.]

What degree of happiness Adelicia the Fair enjoyed during the fifteen years of queenly splendor which she passed as the consort of Henry Beauclerc, no surviving records tell; but that she was very proud of his achievements and brilliant talents, we have the testimony of the poetical chronicler who continued the history of Brut, from William the Conqueror through the reign of William Rufus. It appears, moreover, that the royal dowager employed herself during her widowhood in collecting materials for the history of her mighty lord; for Gaimar, the author of the History of the Angles, observes, "that if he had chosen to have written of king Henry, he had a thousand things to say, which the troubadour called David, employed by queen Adelicia, know nought about; neither had he written, nor was the Louvaine queen herself in possession of them." If the collection of queen Adelicia should ever be brought to light, it would no doubt afford a curious specimen of the biographical powers of the illustrious widow and her assistant, troubadour David, whose name has only been rescued from oblivion by the jealousy of a disappointed rival in the art of historical poetry.

Adelicia is much eulogized in the songs of the poets she patronized. A third trouvere or troubadour, in his dedication of the wondrous voyage of St. Brandon, a sort of spiritual Sindbad, praises her for the good laws she had instituted. But the second queen-consort of Henry I. could have had little opportunity for the exercise of her legislatorial talents, save in the gentle influence of her refined and virtuous example, and the establishment of civilizing etiquette. It was one of Adelicia's best points, that she sedulously trod in the steps of her popular predecessor, Matilda of Scotland, and thus won the following elegant tribute from the author of St. Brandon's voyage:—

"Lady Adelais, who queen. (1)
By the grace of heaven hath been
Y-crowned,—who this land hath blest
With peace and wholesome laws and rest,
Both by king Henry's stalwart might,
And by thy counsels mild and right.
For this their holy benisons,
May the apostles shed, each one,
A thousand thousandfold on thee!
And since thy mild command hath won me,
To turn this goodly history
Into romaunt, and carefully
To write it out, and soothly tell
What to St. Brandon erst befell,—
At thy command I undertake
The task right gladly."

(1) [Cottonian MSS. Vespasian, b. x. Such is the reference for the original, but we have gladly availed ourselves of the editorial labors of a learned contributor
to Blackwood's Magazine, 1836, p. 807.]

The poem is full of beauty, and reflects no little credit on the taste of the queen.

During the life of the king her husband, Adelicia had founded and endowed the hospital and conventual establishment of St. Giles, near Wilton; [Howard Memorials.] and, according to a Wiltshire tradition, she resided there during some part of her widowhood, in the house which is still called by her name. [Sir Richard Hoare's Modern Wiltshire.] She was likewise dowered by her late husband, king Henry, in the fair domain of Arundel castle and its rich dependencies, the forfeit inheritance [Tierney's Arundel.] of the brutal Robert, carl of Belesme; and here, no doubt, the royal widow held her state at the expiration of the first year of cloistered seclusion after the death of her illustrious spouse.

Camden thus describes the spot, which the magnificent taste of the late duke of Norfolk has, within the last century, rendered one of the most splendid objects of attraction in England:—"Beyond Selsey, the shore breaks, and makes way for a river that runs out of St. Leonard's forest, and then by Arundel, seated on a hill, over a vale of the river Arun." At this Saxon castle, built and strengthened on the hill above the waters, Adelicia was residing when she consented to become the wife of William de Albini 'of the Strong Hand,' the lord of Buckenham in Norfolk, and one of the most chivalrous peers in Europe. According to Mr. Howard's computation, Adelicia was in her thirty-second year at the time of king Henry's death, in the very pride of her beauty; and she contracted her second marriage in the third year of her widowhood, a.d. 1138. [Howard Memorials.]

Her second spouse, William de Albini with the Strong Arm, was the son of William de Albini, who was called Pincerna, [Ibid.] being the chief butler or cup-bearer of the duchy of Normandy. William the Conqueror appointed him to the same office in England, at his coronation in Wesminister abbey; which honor has descended by hereditary custom to the duke of Norfolk, his rightful representative and heir; and when there is a coronation-banquet, the golden cup, out of which the sovereign drinks to the health of his or her loving subjects, becomes his perquisite. [Ibid.] It appears that Adelicia and Albini were affianced some time previous to their marriage; for when he won the prize at the tournament held at Bourges in 1137, in honor of the nuptials of Louis VII. of France and Eleanora of Aquitaine, Adelicia or Adelaide, the gay queen-dowager of France, fell passionately in love with him, and wooed him to become her husband; but he replied, "that his troth was pledged to Adelicia, the queen of England." [Ibid. Dugdale.]

Although it may be considered somewhat remarkable that two queen-dowagers of similar names should have fixed their affections on the same gentleman, there is every reason to believe that such was the fact; but the marvellous legend so gravely related by Dugdale, [Dugdale's Baronage.] containing the sequel of the tale, namely, the unlady-like conduct of the rejected dowager of France, in pushing the strong-handed Albini into a cave in her garden, where she had secreted a fierce lion to become the minister of her jealous vengeance, together with the knight's redoubtable exploit in tearing out the lion's heart, which he must have found conveniently situated at the bottom of his throat (a place where no anatomist would have thought of feeling for it), must be regarded as one of the popular romances of the age of chivalry. We have seen another version of the story, in which the hero is said to have deprived the lion, not of his heart, but his tongue; and this is doubtless the tradition relating to William of the Strong Hand, since the Albini lion on the ancient armorial bearings of that house is tongueless, and is, by the bye, one of the most good-tempered-looking beasts ever seen.

Romance and ideality out of the question, William de Albini was not only a knight sams peur et sans reproche, stout in combat, and constant in loyalty and love, but history proves him to have been one of the greatest and best men of that age. His virtues and talents sufficiently justified the widow of the mighty sovereign of England and Normandy in bestowing her hand upon him; nor was Adelicia's second marriage in the slightest degree offensive to the subjects of her late husband, or considered derogatory to the dignity of a queen-dowager of England. Adelicia, by her union with Albini, conveyed to him a life-interest in her rich dowry of Arundel, and he accordingly assumed the title of earl of Arundel, in her right, as the possessor of Arundel castle. [Howard Memorials. Tierney's Hist. Arundel.] It was at this feudal fortress, on the then solitary coast of Sussex, that the royal beauty, who had for fifteen years presided over the splendid court of Henry Beauclerc, voluntarily resided with her second husband—the husband, doubtless, of her heart—in the peaceful obscurity of domestic happiness, far remote from the scenes of her former greatness.

Adelicia's wisdom in avoiding all the snares of party, by retiring from public life at a period so full of perilous excitement as the early part of Stephen's reign, cannot be disputed. Her gentle disposition, her good taste, and feminine feelings fitted her for the enjoyments of private life, and she made them her choice. There was, however, nothing of a selfish character in the conduct of the royal matron in declining to exert such influence as she possessed in advocating the claims of her step-daughter, Matilda, to the throne of England. As a queen-dowager. Adelicia had no voice in the choice of a sovereign; as a female, she would have departed from her province had she intermeddled with intrigues of state, even for the purpose of assisting the lawful heir to the crown. She left the question to be decided by the peers and people of England, and as they did not oppose the coronation of Stephen, she had no pretence for interfering; but she never sanctioned the usurpation of the successful rival of her step-daughter's right, by appearing at his court. And when the empress Matilda landed in England to dispute the crown with Stephen, the gates of Arundel castle were thrown open, to receive her and her train, by the royal Adelicia and her high-minded husband, Albini. [Malmesbury. Speed. Rapin.] It was in the year 1139 when this perilous guest claimed the hospitality, and finally the protection, of the noble pair, whose wedded happiness had been rendered more perfect by the birth of a son, probably very little before that period, for it was only in the second year of their marriage. And she, over whose barrenness, as the consort of the mightiest monarch of the West, both sovereign and people had lamented for nearly fifteen years, became, when the wife of a subject, the mother of a numerous progeny, the ancestress of an illustrious line of English nobles, in whose veins her royal blood has been preserved in uninterrupted course to the present day.

According to Malmesbury, and many other historians, the empress Matilda was only attended by her brother, the earl of Gloucester, and a hundred and forty followers, when she landed at Portsmouth in the latter end of September. Gervase and Brompton aver that she came with a numerous army; but the general bearings of history prove that this was not the fact, since Matilda was evidently in a state of absolute peril when her generous step-mother afforded her an asylum within the walls of Arundel castle; for we find that her devoted friend and brother, Robert earl of Gloucester, when he saw that she was honorably received there, considered her in a place of safety, and, attended by only twelve persons, proceeded to Bristol.

No sooner was Stephen informed that the empress Matilda was in Arundel castle, than he raised the siege of Marlborough, and commenced a rapid march towards Arundel, in order to attack her in her retreat. The spirit with which he pushed his operations alarmed the royal ladies. [Gervase. M. Paris. H. Huntingdon.] Adelicia dreaded the destruction of her castle, the loss of her beloved husband, and the breaking up of all the domestic happiness she had enjoyed since her retirement from public life. The empress Matilda suffered some apprehension, lest her gentle step-mother should be induced to deliver her into the hands of her foe. There was, however, no less firmness than gentleness in the character of Adelicia; and the moment Stephen approached her walls, she sent messengers to entreat his forbearance, assuring him "that she had admitted Matilda, not as his enemy, but as her daughter-in-law and early friend, who had claimed her hospitality, which respect for the memory of her late royal lord, king Henry, forbade her to refuse; and these considerations would compel her to protect her imperial guest while she remained beneath the shelter of her roof. [Gervase. Malmesbury. Rapin.] That if he came in hostile array against her castle of Arundel with intent to make Matilda his prisoner, she must frankly say she was resolved to defend her to the last extremity, not only because she was the daughter of her late dear lord, king Henry, but as the widow of the emperor Henry and her guest;" and she besought Stephen, "by all the laws of courtesy and the ties of kindred, not to place her in such a painful strait as to compel her to do anything against her conscience." In conclusion, she requested, with much earnestness, "that Matilda might be allowed to leave the castle, and retire to her brother." Stephen acceded to the proposal, the siege was raised, and the empress proceeded to join her adherents at Bristol.

We are inclined to regard Stephen's courteous compliance with the somewhat unreasonable prayer of the queen-dowager as a proof of the high respect in which she was held, and the great influence over the minds of her royal husband's kindred which her virtues and winning qualities had obtained while she wore the crown-matrimonial of England. William of Malmesbury, the only writer who speaks unkindly of Adelicia, intimates that a suspicion of treachery on her part caused the empress Matilda to quit Arundel; "for," says he, "her mother-in-law, through female inconstancy, had broken the faith she had repeatedly pledged by messages sent into Normandy." It is scarcely probable that Adelicia, who took the utmost care to maintain a strict neutrality at this embarrassing crisis, had ever used any flattering professions to persuade the empress Matilda to assert her claims to the throne of England. Her sole offence appears to have been inflexible determination not to engage herself in the struggle by espousing her imperial stepdaughter's cause. Our chronicler, whose book is dedicated to his patron and pupil the earl of Gloucester, gives of course a prejudiced view of conduct which, however politic, was opposed to the interests of their party. Adelicia conducted herself with equal prudence and magnanimity in the defence and deliverance of her step-daughter, exhibiting a very laudable mixture of the wisdom of the serpent with the innocence of the dove and the courage of the lion. The lion was the cognizance of the royal house of Louvaine; and Mr. Howard is of opinion that this proud bearing was assumed by the family of Albini in token of descent from 'the fair maid of Brabant,' [Howard Memorials.] rather than with any reference to the fabled exploit of her second husband, related in Dugdale's Baronage. A grateful remembrance of the generous conduct of Stephen, in all probability, withheld Adelicia and Albini from taking part with the empress Matilda against him in the long and disastrous civil war which desolated the ravaged plains of England with kindred blood during so many years of that inauspicious reign. They appear to have maintained a strict neutrality, and to have preserved their vassals and neighbors from the evils attendant upon the contest between the empress and the king.

Adelicia, after her happy marriage with the husband of her choice, was not forgetful of the respect which she considered due to the memory of her late royal lord, king Henry; for, by a third charter, she granted to his favorite abbey of Heading the church of Berkeley-Harness, in Gloucestershire, [Monasticon, charter ix. Howard Memorials.] with suitable endowments, "to pray for the soul of king Henry, and duke Godfrey her father; and also for the health of her present lord," whom she styles "William earl of Chichester, and for her own health, and the health of her children." Thus we observe that this amiable princess unites the departed objects of her veneration in the devotional offices which she fondly caused the monks of Reading to offer up for the welfare of her living husband, her beloved children, and herself. To her third son, Adelicia gave the name of her deceased lord, king Henry. Her fourth was named Godfrey, after her father and elder brother, the reigning duke of Brabant.

Adelicia chiefly resided at Arundel castle after her marriage with William de Albini, but there is also traditional evidence that she occasionally lived with him in the noble feudal castle which he built, after his marriage with her, at Buckenham in Norfolk. It is still designated in that county as New Buckenham, though the mound, part of the moat, and a few mouldering fragments of the walls, are all that remain of the once stately hall that was at times graced with the dowager-court of Alix la Belle.

The priory of St. Bartholomew, likewise called 'the priory of the Causeway,' in the parish of Lyminster, near Arundel, was established by queen Adelicia, after her marriage with William de Albini, as a convent of Augustinian canons. [Dugdale's Monasticon, lib. epist. B, vol. xviii.] It was situated at the foot of the hill which overlooks the town from the south side of the river. The number of inmates appears originally to have been limited by the royal foundress to two persons, whose principal business was to take charge of the bridge, and to preserve the passage of the river. All her gifts and charters were solemnly confirmed by her husband, William Albini, who appears to have cherished the deepest respect for his royal spouse, always speaking of her as 'eximia regina,'—that is, inestimable or surpassingly excellent queen. [Howard Memorials.] We find, from the Monasticon, that Adelicia gave in trust to the bishop of Chichester certain lands in Arundel, to provide salaries for the payment of two chaplains to celebrate divine service in that castle. The last recorded act of Adelicia was the grant of the prebend of West Dean to the cathedral of Chichester, in 1150.

In the year 1149, a younger brother of Adelicia, Henry of Louvaine, was professed a monk in the monastery of Affligham, near Alost in Flanders, which had been founded by their father Godfrey and his brother Henry of Louvaine; and soon after, the royal Adelicia herself, [Buknet, Trophees du Brabant.] stimulated no doubt by his example, withdrew not only from the pomps and parade of earthly grandeur, but from the endearments of her adoring husband and youthful progeny, and, crossing the sea, retired to the nunnery in the same foundation, where she ended her days, [Ibid.] and was likewise buried. [Sanderus, Abbeys and Churches in Brabant.] Mr. Howard, in his interesting sketch of the life of his royal ancestress, states it to be his opinion that Adelicia did not take this important step without the full consent of her husband. Strange as it appears to us, that any one who was at the very summit of earthly felicity should have broken through such fond ties of conjugal and maternal love as those by which Adelicia was surrounded to bury herself in cloistered seclusion, there is indubitable evidence that such was the fact.

Sanderus, in his account of the abbeys and churches of Brabant, relates that "Fulgentius, the abbot of Affligham, visited queen Adelicia at the court of her royal husband, Henry I., where he was received with especial honors." The same author expressly states that Adelicia died in the convent of Affligham, and was interred there on the 9th of the calends of April. He does not give the date of the year.

From the mortuary of the abbey he quotes the following Latin record of the death of this queen:—

"Aleidem genuit cum barba dux Godefredus,
Qui fuit Anglorum regina piissima morum."

The annals of Margan date this event in the year 1151. There is a charter in Affligham, granted by Henry of Louvaine, on condition that prayers may be said for the welfare of his brother Godfrey, the reigning duke, his sister Aleyda the queen, and Ida the countess of Cleves, and their parents. [Howard Memorials.]
Adelicia must have been about forty-eight years old at the time of her death. She had been married eleven years, or thereabouts, to William de Albini, lord of Buckenham. At his paternal domain of New Buckenham, in Norfolk, a foundation was granted by William de Albini 'of the Strong Arm,' enjoining that prayers might be said for the departed spirit of his 'eximia regina.' He survived her long enough to be the happy means of composing, by an amicable treaty, the death-strife which had convulsed England for fifteen years, in consequence of the bloody succession-war between Stephen and the empress Matilda. [This will be detailed in the succeeding biography.] This great and good man is buried in Wymondham abbey, near the tomb of his father, the Pincerna of England and Normandy.

By her marriage with Albini, Adelicia became the mother of seven surviving children. William earl of Arundel, who succeeded to the estates and honors; Reyner; Henry; Godfrey; Alice, married to the count d'Eu; Olivia; Agatha. The two latter were buried at Boxgrove, near Arundel. Though Adelicia had so many children by her second marriage, her tender affection for her father's family caused her to send for her younger brother, Josceline of Louvaine, to share in her prosperity and happiness. The munificent earl, her husband, to enable this landless prince to marry advantageously, gave him the fair domain of Petworth, on his wedding Agnes, the heiress of the Percys: "since which," says Camden, "the posterity of that Josceline, who took the name of Percy, have ever possessed it,—a family certainly very ancient and noble, the male representatives of Charlemagne, more direct than the dukes of Guise, who pride themselves on that account. Josceline, in a donation of his which I have seen, uses this title: 'Josceline of Louvaine, brother to queen Adelicia, castellaine of Arundel'"

Two ducal peers of England are now the representatives of the imperial Carlovingian line, namely, the duke of Norfolk, the heir of queen Adelicia; and the duke of Northumberland, the lineal descendant of her brother Josceline of Louvaine. The two most unfortunate of all the queens of England, Anna Boleyn and Katharine Howard, were the lineal descendants of Adelicia, by her second marriage with William de Albini.

A curious tradition exists at Reading, that Henry I. was buried there in a silver coffin, and that the utter demolition of his monument may be attributed to the persevering zeal of the destroyers of the stately abbey, in their search to discover and appropriate the precious depository. Adelicia's effigy is stated to have been placed at Reading by the side of her husband Henry I., crowned and veiled, because she had been both queen and professed nun. [History of Reading, by John Man, p. 282: published by Snare and Man, Heading, 1816. This traditionary description of Adelicia's effigy appears more applicable to her predecessor Matilda, unless we may conjecture that Adelicia wore the conventual dress of the nunnery where she died. Another place is pointed out as the spot where her ashes repose, being the church of Fuggleston, where she founded an hospital.] No copy or vestige of it remains.

The portrait of queen Adelicia illustrating this biography has been drawn by Mr. Harding from her beautiful seal, pendant to the charter she gave Reading abbey. Although she was then the wife of William de Albini, she is represented in regal costume as queen of England, which in many points varies from that of her predecessors. The transparent veil of Matilda of Flanders is superseded by a drapery similar to the haike of the Arabs, and like that celebrated mantle, it is hooded over the head, and falling by each cheek is tied in front of the throat; then flowing in ample folds over the arms, nearly covers the whole of the person. Adelicia's crown confines this mantle to the head, by being fixed over it. The crown is simple: a smooth band of gold with rims, in which circle three large gems are set; three high points rise from it, each terminated with a trefoil of pearls: a cap of satin or velvet is seen just above the circlet. The sceptre of mercy, surmounted with a dove and finished with a trefoil, is held in Adelicia's right hand, the orb of sovereignty in her left, to which, excepting by the especial grace of her royal lord, she could have no right. The queen's robe or gown seems tight to her shape: it is elegantly worked in a diamond pattern from the throat to the feet, over which it flows. The figure is whole-length, standing; and as the seal is a pointed oval nearly three inches long, there was space to give character not only to the costume, but the features, of which the mediaeval artist has availed himself sufficiently to present the only resemblance extant of Adelicia of Louvaine.


Matilda of Boulogne.

Queen of Stephen.

Matilda's descent from Saxon kings—Her mother a Saxon princess—Her father—Matilda espoused to Stephen of Blois—Residence at Tower-Royal—Matilda's popularity in London—Stephen seizes the throne—Birth of prince Eustace—Coronation of Matilda—Queen left regent—-Disasters—Queen besieges Dover castle—Mediates peace with her uncle—Empress Matilda lands in England—Henry of Blois—Civil war—Queen goes to France—Marriage of her young heir—Raises an army—Stephen captured—Arrogance of the empress—Queen's grief—Exertions in Stephen's cause—Queen Matilda writes to bishop Blois—Her supplication for Stephen's liberty—Obduracy of the empress—Queen appeals to arms—Empress in Winchester—Her seal—Insults Londoners—Driven from London—Successes of the queen—Takes Winchester—Escape of the empress—Earl of Gloucester taken—Exchanged for Stephen—Illness of king Stephen—Empress escapes from Oxford—Her son—Decline of the empress's cause—Queen Matilda founds St. Katherine by the Tower—Death of the queen—Burial—Tomb—Epitaph—Children—Eustace—Death of king Stephen—Burial by his queen—Exhumation of their bodies.

Matilda of Boulogne, the last of our Anglo-Norman queens, was a princess of the ancient royal line of English monarchs. Her mother, Mary of Scotland, was the second daughter of Malcolm Canmore and Margaret Atheling, and sister to Matilda the Good, the first queen of Henry Beauclerc. Mary of Scotland was educated, with her elder sister, in the royal monasteries of Wilton and Romsey, under the stern tutelage of their aunt Christina; and was doubtless, like the princess Matilda, compelled to assume the habit of a votaress. Whether the youthful Mary testified the same lively antipathy to the consecrated black veil that was exhibited by her elder sister, no gossiping monastic chronicler has recorded; but she certainly forsook the cloister for the court of England, on Matilda's auspicious nuptials with Henry I., and exchanged the badge of celibacy for the nuptial ring soon afterwards, when her royal brother-in-law gave her in marriage to Eustace count of Boulogne. The father of this nobleman was brother-in-law to Edward the Confessor, having married Goda, the widowed countess of Mantes, sister to that monarch; both himself and his son Eustace had been powerful supporters of the Saxon cause. The enterprising spirit of the counts of Boulogne, and the contiguity of their dominions to the English shores, had rendered them troublesome neighbors to William the Conqueror and his sons, till the chivalric spirit of crusading attracted their energies to a loftier object, and converted these pirates of the narrow seas into heroes of the Cross, and liberators of the holy city.

Godfrey of Boulogne, the hero of Tasso's Gierusaleme Liberata, and his brother Baldwin, who successively wore the crown of Jerusalem, were the uncles of Matilda, Stephen's queen. Her father, Eustace count of Boulogne, was also a distinguished crusader. He must have been a mature husband for Mary of Scotland, since he was the companion in arms of Robert of Normandy, and her uncle Edgar Atheling. Matilda, or, as she is sometimes called for brevity, Maud of Boulogne, was the sole offspring of this marriage, and the heiress of this illustrious house. There is every reason to believe Matilda was educated in the abbey of Bermondsey, to which the countess of Boulogne, her mother, was a munificent benefactress. The countess died in this abbey while on a visit to England in the year 1115, and was buried there. "We gather from the Latin verses on her tomb that she was a lady of very noble qualities, and that her death was very painful and unexpected. [Annales Abbatae de Bermondsey.]

Young as Matilda was, she was certainly espoused to Stephen de Blois before her mother's decease; for this plain reason, that the charter by which the countess of Boulogne, in the year 1114, grants to the Cluniac monks of Bermondsey her manor of Kynewardstone, is, in the year she died, confirmed by Eustace her husband, and Stephen her son-in-law. [Ibid.] Stephen, the third son of a vassal peer of Franco, obtained this great match through the favor of his royal uncle, Henry I. He inherited from the royal Adela, his mother, the splendid talents, fine person, and enterprising spirit of the mighty Norman line of sovereigns. A very tender friendship had subsisted between Adela countess of Blois and her brother Henry Beauclerc, who at different periods of his life had been under important obligations to her; and when Adela sent her landless boy to seek his fortunes at the court of England, Henry returned the friendly offices which he had received from this faithful sister by lavishing wealth and honor on her son.

Stephen received the spurs of knighthood from his uncle king Henry, previous to the battle of Tinchebray, where he took the count of Mortagne prisoner, and received the investiture of his lands. He was further rewarded by his royal kinsman with the hand of Matilda, the heiress of Boulogne. [Ordericus Vitalis.] "When Stephen was but an earl," says William of Malmesbury, "he gained the affections of the people, to a degree that can scarcely be imagined, by the affability of his manners, and the wit and pleasantry of his conversation, condescending to chat and joke with persons in the humblest stations as well as with the nobles, who delighted in his company, and attached themselves to his cause from personal regard." [W. Malmesbury. Ordericus Vitalis.]

Stephen was count of Boulogne in Matilda's right, when, as count of Mortagne, he swore fealty in 1126 to the empress Matilda, as heiress to the Norman dominions of Henry I. The London residence of Stephen and Matilda was Tower-Royal, a palace built by king Henry, and presented by him to his favored nephew on the occasion of his wedding the niece of his queen, Matilda Atheling. The spot to which this regal-sounding name is still appended is a close lane between Cheapside and Watling street. Tower-Royal was a fortress of prodigious strength; for more than once, when the Tower of London itself fell into the hands of the rebels, this embattled palace of Stephen remained in security. [Stowe's Survey. Pennant's London.]
It is a remarkable fact that Stephen had embarked on board the 'Blanche Nef,' with his royal cousin, William the Atheling, and the rest of her fated crew; but with two knights of his train, and a few others who prudently followed his example, he left the vessel with the remark that "she was too much crowded with foolish, headstrong young people." [Ordericus Vitalis.] After the death of prince William, Stephen's influence with his royal uncle became unbounded, and he was his constant companion in all his voyages to Normandy.

There are evidences of conjugal infidelity on the part of this gay and gallant young prince about this period, proving that Matilda's cup of happiness was not without some alloy of bitterness. How far her peace was affected by the scandalous reports of the passion which her haughty cousin the empress Matilda, the acknowledged heiress of England and Normandy, was said to cherish for her aspiring husband, we cannot presume to say; but there was an angel-like spirit in the princess which supported her under every trial, and rendered her a beautiful example to every royal female in the married state.

Two children, a son and a daughter, were born to the young earl and countess of Boulogne during king Henry's reign. The boy was named Baldwin, after Matilda's uncle, the king of Jerusalem,—a Saxon name, withal, and therefore likely to sound pleasantly to the ears of the English, who, no doubt, looked with complacency on the infant heir of Boulogne, as the son of a princess of the royal Atheling blood, born among them, and educated by his amiable mother to venerate their ancient laws, and to speak their language. Prince Baldwin, however, died in early childhood, and was interred in the priory of the Holy Trinity, without Aldgate, founded by his royal aunt, Matilda of Scotland. The second child of Stephen and Matilda, a daughter named Maud, born also in the reign of Henry I., died young, and was buried in the same church. Some historians aver that Maud survived long enough to be espoused to the earl of Milan. So dear was the memory of these her buried hopes to the heart of Matilda, that after she became queen of England, and her loss was supplied by the birth of another son and daughter, she continued to lament for them; and the church and hospital of St. Katherine by the Tower were founded and endowed by her, that prayers might be perpetually said by the pious sisterhood for the repose of the souls of her firstborn children.

In the latter days of king Henry, while Stephen was engaged in stealing the hearts of the men of England, after the fashion of Absalom, the mild virtues of his amiable consort recalled to their remembrance her royal aunt and namesake, Henry's first queen, and inspired them with a trembling hope of seeing her place filled eventually by a princess so much more resembling her than the haughty wife of Geoffrey of Anjou. The Norman woman looked upon her mother's people with scorn, and from her they had nothing to expect but the iron yoke which her grandfather, the Conqueror, had laid upon their necks, with, perhaps, an aggravation of their miseries. But Stephen, the husband of her gentle cousin, the English-hearted Matilda, had whispered in their ears of the confirmation of the great charter of their liberties, which Henry of Normandy had granted when he became the husband of the descendant of their ancient kings, and broken when her influence was destroyed by death and a foreign marriage.

King Henry's daughter, the empress Matilda, [The biography of the empress Matilda is continued through this life.] was the wife of a foreign prince residing on the continent. Stephen and his gentle princess were living in London, and daily endearing themselves to the people by the most popular and affable behavior. The public mind was certainly predisposed in favor of Stephen's designs, when the sudden death of king Henry in Normandy left the right of succession for the first time to a female heir. Piers of Langtoft thus describes the perplexity of the nation respecting the choice of the sovereign:—

"On bier lay king Henry,
On bier beyond the sea,
And no man might rightly know
Who his heir suld be."

Stephen, following the example of the deceased monarch's conduct at the time of his brother Rufus's death, [Malmesbury.] left his royal uncle and benefactor's obsequies to the care of Robert earl of Gloucester, and the other peers who were witnesses to his last words; and embarking at Whitesand, a small port in Matilda's dominions, in a light vessel, on a wintry sea, he landed at Dover in the midst of such a storm of thunder and lightning, that, according to William of Malmesbury, every one imagined the world was coming to an end. As soon as he arrived in London, he convened an assembly of the Anglo-Norman barons, before whom his confederate and friend, Hugh Bigod, the steward of king Henry's household, swore on the holy Evangelists, "that the deceased sovereign had disinherited the empress Matilda on his death-bed, and adopted his most dear nephew Stephen for his heir." [Malmesbury. Rapin.] On this bold affirmation, the archbishop of Canterbury absolved the peers of the oaths of fealty they had twice sworn to the daughter of their late sovereign, and declared "that those oaths were null and void, and contrary, moreover, to the laws and customs of the English, who had never permitted a woman to reign over them." This was a futile argument, as no female had ever stood in that important position, with regard to the succession to the crown of England, in which the empress Matilda was now placed; therefore no precedent had occurred for the establishment of a salic law in England.

From an Ancient Painting in Hampton Court.

Stephen was crowned on the 26th of December, his name-day, the feast of St. Stephen. [Sir Harris Nicolas's Chronology of History.] He swore to establish the righteous laws of Edward the Confessor, for the general happiness of all classes of his subjects. [Malmesbury. Brompton.] The English regarded Stephen's union with a princess of their race as the best pledge of the sincerity of his professions in regard to the amelioration of their condition. These hopes were, of course, increased by the birth of prince Eustace, whom Matilda brought into the world very soon after her husband's accession to the throne of England. It was, perhaps, this auspicious event that prevented Matilda from being associated in the coronation of her lord on St. Stephen's day, in Westminster abbey. Her own coronation, according to Gervase, took place March 22nd, 1136, being Easter-Sunday, not quite three months afterwards. Stephen was better enabled to support the expenses of a splendid ceremonial in honor of his beloved queen, having, immediately after his own hasty inauguration, posted to Winchester and made himself master of the treasury of his deceased uncle king Henry; which contained, says Malmesbury, "one hundred thousand pounds, besides stores of plate and jewels."

The empress Matilda was in Anjou at the time of her father's sudden demise. She was entirely occupied by the grievous sickness of her husband, who was supposed to be on his death-bed. [Carruthers's History of Scotland, pp. 327, 328.] After the convalescence of her lord, as none of her partisans in England made the slightest movement in her favor, she remained quiescent for a season, well knowing that the excessive popularity of a new monarch is seldom of long continuance in England. Stephen had begun well by abolishing 'danegelt,' and leaving the game in woods, forests, and uncultivated wastes common to all his subjects; but after awhile he repented of his liberal policy, and called courts of inquiry to make men give account of the damage and loss he had sustained in his fallow-deer and other wild game; he likewise enforced the offensive system of the other Norman monarchs for their preservation. Next he obtained the enmity of the clergy, by seizing the revenues of the see of Canterbury; and lastly, to the great alarm and detriment of the peacefully disposed, he imprudently permitted his nobles to build or fortify upwards of a thousand of those strongholds of wrong and robbery called castles, which rendered their owners in a great measure independent of the crown.

Baldwin de Redvers, earl of Devonshire, was the first to give Stephen a practical proof of his want of foresight in this matter, by telling him, on some slight cause of offence, "that he was not king of right, and he would obey him no longer." Stephen proceeded in person to chastise him. In the mean time, David king of Scotland invaded the northern counties, under pretence of revenging the wrong that had been done to his niece, the empress Matilda, by Stephen's usurpation and perjury. Matilda of Boulogne, Stephen's consort, stood in the same degree of relationship to the king of Scotland as the empress Matilda, since her mother, Mary of Scotland, was his sister, no less than Matilda, the queen of Henry I. Stephen concluded a hasty peace with the Welsh princes, and advanced to repel the invasion of king David; but when the hostile armies met near Carlisle, he succeeded in adjusting all differences by means of an amicable treaty, perhaps through the entreaties or mediation of his queen.

Easter was kept at Westminster this year, 1137, by Stephen and Matilda, with greater splendor than had ever been seen in the court of Henry Beauclerc, to celebrate the happy termination of the storm that had so lately darkened the political horizon; but the rejoicings of the queen were fearfully interrupted by the alarming illness which suddenly attacked the king in the midst of the festivities. This illness, the effect no doubt of the preternatural exertions of both mental and corporeal powers, which Stephen had compelled himself to use during the recent momentous crisis of his fortunes, was a sort of stupor or lethargy so nearly resembling death that it was reported in Normandy that he had breathed his last; on which the party of the empress began to take active measures, both on the continent and in England, for the recognition of her rights. [Hoveden. Brompton. Ordericus Vitalis.] The count of Anjou entered Normandy at the head of an army, to assert the claims of his wife and son, which were, however, disputed by Stephen's elder brother, Theobald count of Blois, not in behalf of Stephen, but himself; while the earl of Gloucester openly declared in favor of his sister the empress, and delivered the keys of Falaise to her husband, Geoffrey of Anjou. [M. Paris, etc., etc.]

When Stephen recovered from his death-like sickness, he found everything in confusion,—the attention of his faithful queen, Matilda, having doubtless been absorbed in anxious watchings by his sick bed during the protracted period of his strange and alarming malady. She was now left to take care of his interests in England as best she might; for Stephen, rousing himself from the pause of exhausted nature, hastened to the continent with his infant heir Eustace, to whom queen Matilda had resigned the earldom of Boulogne, her own fair inheritance. Stephen, by the strong eloquence of an immense bribe, prevailed on Louis VII. of France, as suzerain of Normandy, to invest the unconscious babe with the duchy, and to receive his liege homage for the same. [Ordericus Vitalis. H. Huntingdon. Brompton. M. Paris. Rapin. Speed.]

Meantime, some portentous events occurred during Matilda's government. Sudden and mysterious conflagrations then, as now, indicated the sullen discontent of the very lower order of the English people. On the 3rd of June, 1137, Rochester cathedral was destroyed by fire; the following day, the whole city of York, with its cathedral and thirty churches, was burnt to the ground; soon after, the city of Bath shared the same fate. Then conspiracies began to be formed in favor of the empress Matilda in various parts of England; and lastly, her uncle, David king of Scotland, once more entered Northumberland, with banners displayed, in support of his supplanted kinswoman's superior title to the crown. [Brompton. Rapin. Ordericus Vitalis.] Queen Matilda, with courage and energy suited to this alarming crisis, went in person and besieged the insurgents, who had seized Dover castle; and she sent orders to the men of Boulogne, her loyal subjects, to attack the rebels by sea. The Boulonnois obeyed the commands of their beloved princess with alacrity, and to such good purpose, by covering the Channel with their light-armed vessels, that the besieged, not being able to receive the slightest succor by sea, were forced to submit to the queen. [Ordericus Vitalis.] At this juncture Stephen arrived: he succeeded in chastising the leaders of the revolt, and drove the Scottish king over his own border. Nevertheless, the empress Matilda's party, in the year 1138, began to assume a formidable aspect. Every day brought tidings to the court of Stephen of some fresh revolt. William of Malmesbury relates, that when Stephen was informed of these desertions, he passionately exclaimed, "Why did they make me king, if they forsake me thus? By the birth of God! [This was Stephen's usual oath.—Malmesbury.] I will never be called an abdicated king."

The invasion of queen Matilda's uncle, David of Scotland, for the third time, increased the distraction of her royal husband's affairs, especially as Stephen was too much occupied with the internal troubles of his kingdom to be able to proceed in person against him. David and his army were, however, defeated with immense slaughter by the warlike Thurstan, archbishop of York, at Cuton-Moor. The particulars of this engagement, called 'the battle of the Standard,' where the church-militant performed such notable service for the crown, belong to general history, and are besides too well known to require repetition in the biography of Stephen's queen. Matilda ["Through the mediation of Matilda, the wife of Stephen, and niece of David, a peace was concluded at Durham between these two kings, equitable in itself, and useful to both parties."—Carruthers's History of Scotland, vol. i. p. 339.] was mainly instrumental in negotiating the peace which was concluded this year between her uncle and her lord. Prince Henry, the heir of Scotland, having, at the same time, renewed his homage to Stephen for the earldom of Huntingdon, was invited by the king to his court. The attention with which the young prince was treated by the king and queen was viewed with invidious eyes by their ill-mannered courtiers; and Ranulph, earl of Chester, took such great offence at the royal stranger being seated above him at dinner, that he made it an excuse for joining the revolted barons, and persuaded a knot of equally uncivilized nobles to follow his example on the same pretence. [Speed.]

The empress Matilda, taking advantage of the fierce contention between Stephen and the hierarchy of England, made her tardy appearance, in pursuance of her claims to the crown, in the autumn of 1130. Like her uncle, Robert the Unready, the empress allowed the critical moment to slip when, by prompt and energetic measures, she might have gained the prize for which she contended. But she did not arrive till Stephen had made himself master of the castles, and, what was of more importance to him, the great wealth of his three refractory prelates, the bishops of Salisbury, Ely, and Lincoln.

When the empress was shut up within the walls of Arundel castle, Stephen might by one bold stroke have made her his prisoner; but he was prevailed upon to respect the ties of consanguinity, and the high rank of the widow and of the daughter of his benefactor, king Henry. It is possible, too, that recollections of a tenderer nature, with regard to his cousin the empress, might deter him from imperilling her person by pushing the siege. According to some of the chroniclers, the empress sent, with queen Adelicia's request that she might be permitted to retire to Bristol, a guileful letter or message to Stephen, [Gervase. Henry of Huntingdon.] which induced him to promise, on his word of honor, that he would grant her safe-conduct to that city. Though the empress knew that Stephen had violated the most solemn oaths in regard to her succession to the crown, she relied upon his honor, put herself under his protection, and was safely conducted to the castle of Bristol. King Stephen gave to his brother, Henry of Blois, bishop of Winchester, and to Walleran carl of Mellent, the charge of escorting the empress to Bristol castle. This bright trait of chivalry contrasts beautifully with the selfishness and perfidy too prevalent at the era. It was during this journey, in all probability, that Henry de Blois arranged his plans with the empress Matilda for making her mistress of the royal city of Winchester, which was entirely under his influence.

While the earl of Gloucester, on behalf of his sister the empress, was contesting with king Stephen the realm of England at the sword's point, queen Matilda proceeded to France with her son Eustace, to endeavor to strengthen her husband's cause by the aid of her foreign connections; and while at the court of France, successfully exerted her diplomatic powers in negotiating a marriage between the princess Constance, sister of Louis VII., and prince Eustace, then about four years old. The queen presided at this infant marriage, which was celebrated with great splendor. Instead of receiving a dowry with the princess, queen Matilda paid a large sum to purchase her son the bride; Louis VII. in return solemnly invested his young brother-in-law with the duchy of Normandy, and lent his powerful aid to maintain him there as the nominal sovereign, under the direction of the queen his mother. This alliance, which took place in the year 1140, [Florence of Worcester. Tyrrell.] greatly raised the hopes of Stephen's party; but the bands of foreign mercenaries, which his queen Matilda sent over from Boulogne and the ports of Normandy to his succor, had an injurious effect on his cause, and were beheld with jealous alarm by the people of the land, "whose miseries were in no slight degree aggravated," says the chronicler Gervase, "by the arrival of these hunger-starved wolves, who completed the destruction of the land's felicity."

It was during the absence of queen Matilda and her son prince Eustace that the battle, so disastrous to her husband's cause, was fought beneath the walls of Lincoln, on Candlemas-day, 1141. Stephen had shut up a great many of the empress Matilda's partisans and their families in the city of Lincoln, which he had been for some time besieging. The earl of Gloucester's youngest daughter, lately married to her cousin Ranulph, carl of Chester, was among the besieged; and so determined were the two earls, her father and her husband, for her deliverance, that they encouraged their followers to swim, or ford, the deep cold waters of the river Trent, [Malmesbury. Rapin. Speed.] behind which Stephen and his army were encamped, and fiercely attacked him in their dripping garments,—and all for the relief of the fair ladies who were trembling within the walls of Lincoln, and beginning to suffer from lack of provisions. These were the days of chivalry, be it remembered. [Polydore Vergil. Speed. Malmesbury.] Speed gives us a descriptive catalogue of some of the leading characters among our valiant king Stephen's knights sans peur, which, if space were allowed us, we would abstract from the animated harangue with which the carl of Gloucester endeavored to warm his shivering followers into a virtuous blaze of indignation, after they had emerged from their cold bath. [Roger Hoveden. H. Huntingdon. Polychronicon.] His satirical eloquence was received by the partisans of the
empress with a tremendous shout of applause; and Stephen, not to be behindhand with his foes in bandying personal abuse as a prelude to the fight, as his own powers of articulation happened to be defective, deputed one Baldwin Fitz-Gilbert, a knight who was blessed with a stentorian voice, to thunder forth his recrimination on the earl of Gloucester and his host in the ears of both armies. Fitz-Gilbert, in his speech, laid scornful stress on the illegitimacy of the empress's champion, whom he designated "Robert, the base-born general." [Roger Hoveden. H. Huntingdon. Speed.]

The battle, for which both parties had prepared themselves with such a sharp encounter of keen words, was, to use the expression of contemporary chroniclers, "a very sore one;" but it seems as if Stephen had fought better than his followers that day. "A very strange sight it was," says Matthew Paris, "there to behold king Stephen, left almost alone in the field, yet no man daring to approach him, while, grinding his teeth and foaming like a furious wild boar, he drove back with his battle-axe the assailing squadrons, slaying the foremost of them, to the eternal renown of his courage. If but a hundred like himself had been with him, a whole army had never been able to capture his person; yet, single-handed as he was, he held out till first his battle-axe brake, and afterwards his sword shivered in his grasp with the force of his own resistless blows, though he was borne backward to his knees by a great stone, which by some ignoble person was flung at him. A stout knight, William of Kames, then seized him by the helmet, and holding the point of his sword to his throat called upon him to surrender." [H. Huntingdon. Speed. Rapin.] Even in that extremity Stephen refused to give up the fragment of his sword to any one but the earl of Gloucester, his valiant kinsman, who, coming up, bade his infuriated troops refrain from further violence, and conducted his royal captive to the empress Matilda, at Gloucester. The earl of Gloucester, it is said, treated Stephen with some degree of courtesy; but the empress Matilda, whose hatred appears to have emanated from a deeper root of bitterness than mere rivalry of power, loaded him with indignities, and ordered him into the most rigorous confinement in Bristol castle. According to general historians, she caused him to be heavily ironed, and used the royal captive as ignominiously as if he had been the lowest felon; but William of Malmesbury says, "this was not till after Stephen had attempted to make his escape, or it was reported that he had been seen several times beyond the bounds prescribed for air and exercise."

The empress Matilda made her public and triumphant entry into the city of Winchester February 7th, where she was received with great state by Stephen's equally haughty brother, Henry de Blois, bishop of Winchester and cardinal-legate. He appeared at the head of all the clergy and monks of the diocese; and even the nuns of Winchester [Rudborne's Hist, of Winchester.] (a thing before unheard of) walked unveiled in the procession, to receive and welcome the rightful heiress of the realm, the daughter of the great and learned Henry Fitz-Conqueror, and of Matilda the descendant of the Atheling. The English had also the satisfaction of seeing the male representative of their ancient monarchs on that occasion within the walls of Winchester; for David of Scotland, the son of Margaret Atheling, was present to do honor to his niece,—the victorious rival of Stephen's crown. Henry de Blois resigned the regal ornaments, and the paltry residue of her father's treasure, into the hands of the empress. The next day he received her with great pomp in his cathedral-church, where he excommunicated all the adherents of his unfortunate brother, and promised absolution to all who should abandon his cause and join the empress. [Gesta Stephani. Gervase. Malmesbury. Rapin.]

In this melancholy position did queen Matilda find her husband's cause when she returned from her successful negotiation of the marriage between the French king's sister and her son the little count of Boulogne, whom she had left, for the present, established as duke of Normandy. The peers and clergy had alike abandoned the luckless, Stephen in his adversity; [Malmesbury. Huntingdon. Ger. Dor.] and the archbishop of Canterbury, being a man of tender conscience, had actually visited Stephen in his prison, to request his permission to transfer his oath of allegiance to his victorious rival the empress Matilda. In this predicament, the faithful consort of the fallen monarch applied herself to the citizens of London, with whom she had ever maintained a great share of popularity. They knew her virtues, for she had lived among them; and her tender affection for her royal spouse in his adversity was well pleasing to those who had witnessed the domestic happiness of the princely pair, while they lived in Tower-Royal as count and countess of Boulogne; and the remembrance of Stephen's free and pleasant conduct, and affable association with all sorts and conditions of men, before he wore the thorny diadem of a doubtful title to the sovereignty of England, disposed the magistracy of London to render every assistance in their power to their unfortunate king. [Malmesbury. Rapin.] So powerfully, indeed, had the personal influence of queen Matilda operated in that quarter, that when the magistrates of London were summoned to send their deputies to a synod at Winchester, held by Henry de Blois, which had predetermined the election of the empress Matilda to the throne, they instructed them to demand the liberation of the king in the name of the barons and citizens of London, as a preliminary to entering into any discussion with the partisans of his enemy. Henry de Blois replied, "That it did not become the Londoners to side with the adherents of Stephen, whose object was to embroil the kingdom in fresh troubles." [Ibid.]

Queen Matilda, finding that the trusty citizens of London were baffled by the priestly subtlety of her husband's brother, Henry de Blois, took the decided, but at that time unprecedented step, of writing in her own name an eloquent letter to the synod, earnestly entreating those in whose hands the government of England was vested to restore the king, her husband, to liberty. This letter the queen's faithful chaplain, Christian, delivered, in full synod, to the legate Henry de Blois. The prelate, after he had silently perused the touching appeal of his royal sister-in-law, not only refused to communicate its purport to the assembly, but, exalting his voice to the highest pitch, proclaimed "that it was illegal and improper to be recited in that great assembly, composed as it was of ecclesiastics and dignitaries; for, among other objectionable points, it was witnessed by the signature of a person who had at a former council used insulting language to the bishops." Christian was not thus to be baffled: he boldly took his royal mistress's letter out of the imperious legate's hand, and exalting his voice in turn, so as to be distinctly heard by all present, he read it aloud to the astonished conclave, in spite of the anger and opposition of him who was at that time virtually the ruling
power in the realm. The following brief abstract is all that William of Malmesbury, who dedicates his history to the leader of the adverse party, Robert earl of Gloucester, thinks proper to give of Matilda's letter: "The queen earnestly entreats the whole clergy assembled, and especially the bishop of Winchester, the brother of her lord the king, to restore her said lord to his kingdom, whom abandoned persons, even such as were under homage to him, have cast into chains."

The legate endeavored to frustrate any good effect which this conjugal appeal from the faithful consort of his unfortunate brother might have produced, by dissolving the assembly, having first excommunicated the leading members of the royal party. He then declared "that the empress Matilda was lawfully elected as the domina or sovereign lady of England." The following are the words of the formula in which the declaration was delivered: "Having first, as is fit, invoked the aid of Almighty God, we elect as lady of England and Normandy the daughter of the glorious, the rich, the good, the peaceful king Henry, and to her we promise fealty and support." [Gesta Stephani Regis.] No word is here of the good old laws,—the laws of Alfred and St. Edward,—or of the great charter which Henry I. agreed to observe. The empress was the leader of the Norman party, and the head of Norman feudality, which, in many instances, was incompatible with the Saxon constitution. The imperial "domina" bore her honors with anything but meekness; she refused to listen to the counsel of her friends; she treated those of her adversaries whom misfortune drove to seek her clemency with insolence and cruelty, stripping them of their possessions, and rendering them perfectly desperate. The friends who had contributed to her elevation frequently met with a harsh refusal when they asked favors; "and," says an old historian, "when they bowed themselves down before her, she did not rise in return." [Gesta Stephani Regis. Thierry.]

Meantime, the sorrowful queen Matilda was unremitting in her exertions for the liberation of her unfortunate lord, who was at this time heavily ironed and ignominiously treated, by order of the empress. [Malmesbury. Speed.] Not only England, but Normandy was now lost to the captive monarch her husband and their young heir, prince Eustace; for Geoffrey of Anjou, as soon as he received intelligence of the decisive battle of Lincoln, persuaded the Norman baronage to withdraw their allegiance from their recently invested duke, and to transfer it to his wife the empress and her son Henry, certainly the rightful heirs of William the Conqueror. The loss of regal state and sovereign power was, however, regarded by the queen of Stephen as a matter of little moment. In the season of adversity it was not the king, but the man, the husband of her youth and the father of her children, to whom the tender-hearted Matilda of Boulogne clung, with a devotion not often to be met with in the personal history of royalty. It was for his sake that she condescended to humble herself, by addressing the most lowly entreaties to her haughty cousin, the empress Matilda,—to her who, if the report of some contemporary chroniclers is to be credited, had betrayed her husband into a breach of his marriage vow. The insulting scorn with which the empress rejected every petition which the wedded wife of Stephen presented to her in behalf of her fallen foe looks like the vindictive spirit of a jealous woman; especially when we reflect that not only the virtues of Matilda of Boulogne, but the closeness of her consanguinity to herself, required her to be treated with some degree of consideration and respect.

There appears even to be a covert reference to the former position in which these princesses had stood, as rivals in Stephen's love, by the proposal made by his fond queen. She proposed, if his life were but spared, to relinquish his society, and that he should not only forever forego all claims upon the crown and succession of England and Normandy, but, taking upon himself the vows and habit of a monk, devote himself to a religious life, either as a pilgrim or a cloistered anchorite, [Y-Podigma Neustria. Speed. Pepin.] on condition that their son, prince Eustace, might be permitted to enjoy, in her right, the earldom of Boulogne, and his father's earldom of Mortagne, the grant of Henry I. Her petition was rejected by the victorious empress with no less contempt than all the others which Stephen's queen had ventured to prefer, although her suit in this instance was backed by the powerful mediation of Henry de Blois. This prelate, who appears to have thought more of peace than of brotherhood, was not only desirous of settling public order on such easy terms for his new sovereign, but willing to secure to his nephew the natural inheritance of his parents, of which the empress's party had obtained possession. So blind, however, was this obdurate princess in pursuing the headlong impulse of her vindictive nature, that nothing could induce her to perceive how much it was her interest to grant the prayer of her unhappy cousin; and she repulsed the suit of Henry de Blois so rudely that, when next summoned to her presence, he refused to come. Queen Matilda improved this difference between her haughty rival and her brother-in-law to her own advantage; and having obtained a private interview with him at Guildford, she prevailed on him, by the eloquence of her tears and entreaties, to absolve all her husband's party whom, as pope's legate, he had a few days before excommunicated, and to enter into a negotiation with her for the
deliverance of his brother. [Speed. Tyrrell.]

Nor did queen Matilda rest here. In the name of her son, prince Eustace, aided by William of Ypres, Stephen's able but unpopular minister of state, she raised the standard of her captive lord in Kent and Surrey, where a strong party was presently organized in his favor; and finding that there was nothing to be hoped for from her obdurate kinswoman, the empress Matilda, on any other terms but the unreasonable one of giving up her own fair inheritance, she, like a true daughter of the heroic house of Boulogne, and the niece of the illustrious Godfrey and Baldwin, prepared herself for a struggle with such courageous energy of mind and promptitude of action, that many a recreant baron was shamed into quitting the inglorious shelter of his castle and leading forth his vassals to strengthen the muster of the royal heroine.

In the pages of superficially written histories, much is said of the prowess and military skill displayed by prince Eustace at this period; but Eustace was scarcely seven years old at the time when those efforts were made for the deliverance of his royal sire. It is therefore plain, to those who reflect on the evidence of dates, that it was the high-minded and prudent queen, his mother, who avoided all Amazonian display by acting under the name of her son. Her feminine virtues, endearing qualities, and conjugal devotion, had already created the most powerful interest in her favor; while reports of the pride and hardness of heart of her stern relative and namesake, the new domina, began to be industriously circulated through the land by the offended legate, Henry de Blois. [Tyrrell.] William of Malmesbury mentions, expressly, that the empress Matilda never bore or received the title of regina, or queen of England, but that of domina, or lady of England. On her broad seal, which she caused to be made for her royal use at Winchester, she entitles herself "Romanorum Regina Macthildis;" and in a charter granted by her, just after the death of her brother and champion, Robert earl of Gloucester, she styles herself "Regina Romanorum, et Domina Anglorum."

The seal to which we have just alluded bears the figure of the grand-daughter of the Norman conqueror, crowned and seated on the King's bench, with a sceptre in her right hand, but bearing neither orb nor dove, the symbols of sovereign power and mercy. She was not an anointed queen, neither had the crown-royal ever been placed on her brow. [J. P. Andrews.] The garland of fleurs-de-lis, by which the folds of her matronly wimple are confined, is of a simpler form than the royal diadems of the Anglo-Norman sovereigns, as shown on the broad seals of William Rufus, Henry I., and Stephen. Probably an alteration would have been made if the coronation of Matilda, as sovereign of England, had ever taken place. But the consent of the city of London was an indispensable preliminary to her inauguration; and to London she proceeded in person to obtain this important recognition. Though the majority of the city authorities were disposed to favor the cause of Stephen, for the sake of his popular consort, Matilda of Boulogne, the Saxon citizens, when they heard that "the daughter of Molde, their good queen," claimed their homage, looked with reverence on her elder claim, and threw open their gates to receive her with every manifestation of affection.

The first sentence addressed to them by this haughty claimant of the crown of St. Edward, was the demand of an enormous subsidy. The citizens of London replied by inquiring after the great charter granted by her father. "Ye are very impudent to mention privileges and charters to me, when ye have just been supporting my enemies," was the gracious rejoinder.2 Her wise and valiant brother, Robert of Gloucester, who stood by her side, immediately perceiving that the citizens of London were incensed at this intimation of their new sovereign's intention to treat them as a conquered people, endeavored to soothe their offended pride by a conciliatory address, commencing,—

1 [We arc indebted for a drawing of the impression of another seal pertaining to Matilda the empress to the kindness of Miss Mary Aglionby, who has elegantly delineated it from a deed belonging to her family. The head-dress of the empress is simpler than that above mentioned, the veil being confined by a mere twisted fillet, such as we sec beneath helmets and crests in heraldic blazonry. The inscription, in Roman letters, is s • mathimms • dei • gratia • romanorum • regina. The manner of sitting, and the arrangement of the drapery on the knees, resemble the portrait of the mother of the empress described in her biography.]

"Ye citizens of London, who of olden time were called barons. . . ."

Although the heroic Robert was a most complete and graceful orator, his courteous language foiled to atone to the Londoners for the arrogance of their new liege lady. Her uncle, king David, was present at this scene, and earnestly persuaded the empress to adopt a more popular line of conduct, but in vain.[Carruthers's Hist, of Scotland, p. 341.] After a strong discussion, the Londoners craved leave to retire to their hall of common council, in order to provide the subsidy.

Meantime, the empress sat down to her mid-day meal in the banqueting-hall of the new palace at Westminster, in confident expectation that the civic authorities of London would soon approach to offer, on their knees, the bags of gold she had demanded. [Thierry. Speed. Stowe. Lingard.] A dessert of a different kind awaited her, for at that momentous crisis a band of horsemen appeared on the other side of the river, and displayed the banner of Stephen's consort, Matilda of Boulogne. The bells of every church in London rang out a clamorous tocsin, and from every house rushed forth, as had doubtless been previously concerted, one champion at the least, and in many instances several, armed with whatever weapons were at hand, and sallied forth to do battle in defence of the rights and liberties of the city; "just," says the old chronicler, "like bees swarming about the hive when it is attacked." The Norman and Angevin chevaliers, under the command of the valiant earl of Gloucester, found they stood little chance of withstanding this resolute muster of the London patriots in their own narrow crooked streets. They therefore hastened to provide for the safety of their domina. She rose in haste from table, mounted her horse, and fled with her foreign retinue at full speed; and she had urgent cause for haste, for before she had well cleared the western suburb, the populace had burst into the palace, and were plundering her apartments. [Chronicle quoted in Knight's London.] The fugitives took the road to Oxford; but before the haughty domina arrived there, her train had become so small with numerous desertions, that, with the exception of Robert of Gloucester, she entered it alone. [Chronicle quoted in Knight's London. Thierry. Lingard. Stowe.]

A strong reaction of popular feeling in favor of Stephen, or rather of Stephen's queen, followed this event. The counties of Kent and Surrey were already her own, and prepared to support her by force of arms; and the citizens of London joyfully received her within their walls once more. Henry de Blois had been induced, more than once, to meet his royal sister-in-law secretly at Guildford. Thither she brought the young prince, her son, [Tyrrell.] to assist her in moving his powerful uncle to lend his aid in replacing her husband on the throne. Henry de Blois, touched by the tears and entreaties of these interesting supplicants, and burning with rage at the insolent treatment he had received from the imperial virago, whom Camden quaintly styles "a niggish old wife," solemnly promised the queen to forsake the cause of her rival. Immediately on his return to Winchester the prelate fortified his castle, and having prepared all things for declaring himself in favor of his brother, he sent messengers to the queen, begging her to put herself at the head of the Kentishmen and Londoners, and march with her son, prince Eustace, to Winchester. [Malmesbury. Gervase.]

The empress Matilda and the earl of Gloucester having some intelligence of Henry de Blois's proceedings, advanced from Oxford, accompanied by David king of Scotland, at the head of an army, to overawe him. When they approached the walls of Winchester, the empress sent a herald to the legate, requesting a conference, as she had something of importance to communicate; but to this requisition Henry de Blois only replied, "Parabo me," [Malmesbury.] that is, "I will prepare myself;" and finding that the Norman party in Winchester was at present too strong for him, he left the city, and retired to his strong castle in the suburbs, causing, at the same time, so unexpected an attack to be made on the empress, that she had a hard race to gain the shelter of the royal citadel. "To comprise," says William of Malmesbury, "a long series of events within narrow limits, the roads on every side of Winchester were watched by the queen, and the earls who had come with her, lest supplies should be brought in to those who had sworn fidelity to the empress. Andover was burned, and the Londoners having assumed a martial attitude, lent all the assistance they could to distress that princess." [Malmesbury.]

Queen Matilda, with her son and sir William Ypres, at the head of the Londoners and the Kentishmen, was soon after at the gates of Winchester. The empress, now closely blockaded in her palace, had ample cause to repent of her vindictive folly in rousing the energies of her royal cousin's spirit, by repulsing the humble boon she had craved in her despair. For nearly two months the most destructive warfare of famine, fire, and sword was carried on in the streets of Winchester; till the empress Matilda, dreading the balls of fire which were nightly thrown from the legate's castle, and which had already destroyed upwards of twenty stately
churches and several monasteries, prevailed on her gallant brother to provide for her retreat. He and her uncle David cut a passage for her through the besiegers at the sword's point. She and her uncle David, king of Scotland, by dint of hard riding escaped to Lutgershall; while the earl of Gloucester arrested the pursuit by battling with them by the way, till, almost all his followers being slain, he was compelled to surrender after a desperate defence. This skirmish took place on the 14th of September, 1141.

When the earl of Gloucester was presented by his captors to queen Matilda at Winchester, she was transported with joy, beholding in him a security for her beloved consort's safety. She received him courteously, and exerted all her eloquence to persuade him to arrange an amicable treaty for the king's release, in exchange for himself. Gloucester replied, "That would not be a fair equivalent, for," said he, "twenty earls would not be of sufficient importance to ransom a king; how then, lady, can you expect that I should so far forget the interest of the empress, my sister, as to propose that she should exchange him for only one?" Matilda then offered to restore him to all his forfeit honors, and even to bestow the government of the realm on him, provided he would conclude a peace, securing England to Stephen, and Normandy to the empress. But nothing could induce him to swerve in the slightest degree from what he considered his duty to his sister. The queen, finding she could not prevail on him to enter into any arrangement for the restoration of his liberty, then committed him for safe custody to the charge of William of Ypres; "and though she might have remembered," says William of Malmesbury, "that her husband had been fettered by his command, yet she never suffered a bond of any kind to be put upon him, nor presumed on her dignity to treat him dishonorably; and finally, when he was conducted to Rochester, he went freely whenever he wished to the churches below the castle, and conversed with whom he pleased, the queen only being present. After her departure he was held in free custody in the keep; and so calm and serene was his mind, that, receiving money from his vassals in Kent, he bought some valuable horses, which were both serviceable and beneficial to him hereafter."

This generous conduct of Matilda to the man who had done so much injury to her husband and her cause, is imputed by William of Malmesbury to the dignity and merit of the valiant earl, his patron, "whose high bearing," he says, "impressed his enemies with such great respect, that it was impossible to treat him otherwise." [William of Malmesbury. Dr. Giles's edition.] A less partial writer would have given the queen due praise for the magnanimity with which she acted, under circumstances that might well have justified the sternest reprisals for his harsh usage of her captive lord; but the fact spoke for itself, and won more hearts for the queen than the wealth of England and Normandy combined could purchase for her haughty namesake and rival.

Meantime the empress, whose safe retreat to Lutgershall had been thus dearly purchased by the loss of her great general's liberty, being hotly pursued by the queen's troops to Devizes, only escaped their vigilance by personating a corpse, wrapped in grave-clothes, and being placed in a coffin, which was bound with cords, and borne on the shoulders of some of her trusty partisans to Gloucester, the stronghold of her valiant brother, where she arrived, faint and weary with long fasting and mortal terror. [Brompton. John of Tinemouth. Gervase. Knighton.]

Her party was so dispirited by the loss of her approved counsellor and trusty champion, the earl of Gloucester, that she was compelled to make some overtures to the queen, her cousin, for his release. But Matilda would hear of no other terms than the restoration of her captive husband, king Stephen, in exchange for him. This the empress peremptorily refused, in the first instance, though she offered a large sum of gold, and twelve captive earls of Stephen's party, as her brother's ransom. Queen Matilda was inflexible in her determination never to resign this important prisoner on any other condition than the release of her royal husband. As this condition was rejected, she caused the countess of Gloucester to be informed, that unless her terms were accepted, and that speedily, she would send Gloucester to one of her strong castles in Boulogne, [Malmesbury.] there to be kept as rigorously as Stephen had been by the orders of the empress and her party. Not that it was in the gentle nature of the queen to have made these harsh reprisals on a gallant gentleman, whom the fortune of war had placed at her disposal; but as the captive king was incarcerated in Bristol castle, of which the said countess of Gloucester was the chatellaine, there was sound policy in exciting her conjugal fears. Had it not been for this threat, Stephen would never have regained his liberty, for important as her brother's presence was to the empress, she obdurately refused to purchase his freedom by the release of the king. Fortunately the person of Stephen was in the keeping, not of the vindictive empress, but the countess of Gloucester; and her anxiety for the restoration of her lord led to the arrangement of a sort of private treaty between her and the queen for the exchange of their illustrious prisoners; by which it was agreed that Stephen should be enlarged forthwith on condition that his queen and son, with two of the leading nobles of his party, should be detained as hostages in Bristol castle, to insure his keeping faith by liberating the earl of Gloucester, whose son was to be left in the king's possession at Winchester, as a surety for the release of the queen and prince Eustace.

Matilda, the most tenderly devoted of conjugal heroines, hesitated not to procure the enfranchisement of her lord by putting herself and her boy into the hands of the countess of Gloucester. This she did on the festival of All Saints, November 1, 1141, on which day Stephen was liberated, and departed from Bristol on his way to Winchester. The earl of Gloucester being brought to him there from Rochester castle, received his freedom, and on the third day after set out for Bristol, leaving his son with Stephen as a pledge for the release of the queen and prince. Matilda, who had remained a voluntary, but of course a most anxious prisoner in the stronghold of her foes, was emancipated as soon as he arrived, and hastened to rejoin her husband at Winchester, and to send the heir of Gloucester back to his parents. Few episodes in the personal history of royalty are more interesting than this transaction, none better authenticated, being narrated by William of Malmesbury, whose book is dedicated to one of the principal actors engaged in this drama,—his patron, Robert earl of Gloucester.

Queen Matilda was not long permitted to enjoy the reunion which took place between her and her beloved consort, after she had succeeded in procuring his deliverance from the fetters of her vindictive rival; for nothing could induce the empress to listen to any terms of pacification, and the year 1142 commenced with a mutual renewal of hostilities between the belligerent parties. While Stephen was pursuing the war with the fury of a newly enfranchised lion, he was seized with a dangerous malady at Northampton. Matilda hastened to him on the first news of his sickness, which was so sore that for some hours he was supposed to be dead. In all probability, his illness was a return of the lethargic complaint with which he had once or twice been afflicted at the commencement of the internal troubles of his realm.

Through the tender attentions of his queen Stephen was recovered, and soon after able to take the field again; which he did with such success that the empress's party thought it high time to claim the assistance of Geoffrey count of Anjou, who was now exercising the functions of duke of Normandy. Geoffrey, who had certainly been treated by his imperial spouse, her late father king Henry, and her English partisans, as "a fellow of no reckoning," thought proper to stand on ceremony, and required the formality of an invitation, preferred by the earl of Gloucester in person, before ho would either come himself, or part with the precious heir of England and Normandy, prince Henry. The empress, impatient to embrace her first-born son, and to obtain the Angevin and Norman succors to strengthen her party, prevailed upon her brother to undertake this mission.

Gloucester left her, as he thought, safe in the almost impregnable castle of Oxford, and embarked for Normandy. As soon as he was gone, Stephen besieged the empress in her stronghold. The want of provisions rendered its fall inevitable, and there was then every hope of concluding the war by the capture of the haughty domina. By a shrewd exercise of female ingenuity, she eluded the vengeance of her exasperated rival. One night she, with only four attendants, clothed in white garments, stole through a postern that opened upon the river Thames, which at that time was thickly frozen over and covered with snow. [M. Paris. W. Malmesbury. Sim. Dunelm. Y-Podigma Neustria.] The white draperies in which the empress and her little train were enveloped from head to foot prevented the sentinels from distinguishing their persons, as they crept along with noiseless steps under the snow-banks, till they were at a sufficient distance from the castle to exert their speed. They then fled with headlong haste, through the blinding storms that drifted full in their faces, as they scampered over hedges and ditches, and heaps of snow and ice, till they reached Abingdon, a distance of six miles, where they took horse, and arrived safely at Wallingford the same night. [Y-Podigma Neustria. Malmesbury. Speed. Rapin.] The Saxon annals aver that the empress was let down from one of the towers of Oxford castle by a long rope, and that she fled on foot all the long weary miles to Wallingford. On her arrival there she was welcomed by her brother, Robert of Gloucester, who had just returned from Normandy with her son prince Henry; "at the sight of whom," say the chroniclers, "she was so greatly comforted that she forgot all her troubles and mortifications for the joy she had of his presence." [Gervase.] Thus we see that the sternest natures are accessible to the tender influences of maternal love, powerful in the heart of an empress as in that of a peasant.

Geoffrey count of Anjou, having no great predilection for the company of his Juno, thought proper to remain in Normandy with his son, the younger Geoffrey of Anjou. After three years of civil strife, during which the youthful Henry learned the science of arms under the auspices of his redoubted uncle, the earl of Gloucester, Geoffrey recalled his heir. Earl Robert of Gloucester accompanied his princely eleve to Wareham, where they parted, [Chronicles of Chester, as cited by Tyrrell.] never to meet again; for the brave earl died of a fever at Gloucester, October 31st, 1147, and was interred at Bristol. With this great man and true-hearted brother died the hopes of the empress Matilda's party for the present, and she soon after quitted England, having alienated all her friends by the ungovernable violence of her temper and her overweening haughtiness. The great secret of government consists, mainly, in an accurate knowledge of the human heart, by which princes acquire the art of conciliating the affections of those around them, and, by graceful condescensions, win the regard of the lower orders, of whom the great body of the nation, emphatically called 'the people,' is composed. The German education and the self-sufficiency of the empress prevented her from considering the importance of these things, and, as a matter of course, she failed in obtaining the great object for which she contended.

"Away with her!" was the cry of the English population; "we will not have this Norman woman to reign over us" [Thierry's Anglo-Norman History.] Yet this unpopular claimant of the throne was the only surviving child and representative of their adored queen Matilda, the daughter of a Saxon princess, the descendant of the great Alfred. But the virtues of Matilda of Scotland, her holy spirit, and her graces of mind and manners had been inherited, not by her daughter (who was removed in her tender childhood from under the maternal influence), but by her niece and name-child, Matilda of Boulogne, who had been educated under her auspices. The younger queen Matilda was, however, not only one of the best, but one of the greatest women of the age in which she lived. So perfect was she in that most important of all royal accomplishments, the art of pleasing,—that art in which her haughty cousin the empress was entirely deficient,—that her winning influence was acknowledged even by that diplomatic statesman-priest, Henry de Blois; and she was of more effectual service in her husband's cause than the swords of the foreign army which Stephen had rashly called to the support of his tottering throne.

Stephen and Matilda kept their Christmas this year, 1147, at Lincoln, with uncommon splendor, for joy of the departure of their unwelcome kinswoman, the empress Matilda, and the re-establishment of the public peace; and so completely did Stephen consider himself a king again, that, in defiance of certain oracular denouncements of evil to any monarch of England who should venture to wear his crown in that city on Christmas-day, he attended mass in his royal robes and diadem, against the advice of his sagest counsellors, both temporal and spiritual. [Gervase. Speed.] While at Lincoln, prince Eustace, the son of Stephen and Matilda (then in his thirteenth year), received the oath of fealty from such of the barons as could be prevailed upon to acknowledge him as the heir-apparent to the throne. Stephen and Matilda wore desirous of his being crowned at Lincoln, in hopes of securing to him the right of succession, but the nobles would not consent.

The mind of queen Matilda appears, during the year 1148, to have been chiefly directed to devotional matters. It was in this year that she carried into execution her long-cherished design of founding and endowing the hospital and church of St. Katherine by the Tower, [This royal institution, which under the fostering protection of the queens of England has survived the fall of every other monastic foundation of the olden times, has been transplanted to the Regent's park, and affords a delightful asylum and ample maintenance for a limited number of those favored ladies who; preferring a life of maiden meditation and independence to the careworn paths of matrimony, are fortunate enough to obtain sisterships. A nun of St. Katherine may truly be considered in a state of single blessedness.] for the repose of the souls of her deceased children, Baldwin and Maud. The same year queen Matilda, jointly with Stephen, founded the royal abbey of Feversham, in Kent, and personally superintended its erection. For many months she resided in the nunnery of St. Austin's, Canterbury, to watch the progress of the work, [Stowe.] it being her desire to be interred within that stately church, which she had planned with such noble taste. There is great probability that she was at this time in declining health, having gone through many sore trials and fatigues, both of mind and body, during the long protracted years of civil war.

Alfred before the Danish General.

The care of this popular queen, that the humbler portion of her subjects should be provided with proper accommodation for their comfort during public worship, caused her to found the noble church of St. Mary at Southampton, of which that faithful antiquary, Leland, gives the following quaint and characteristic particulars:—"There is a chapel of St. Nicholas, a poor and small thing, yet standing, at the east end of St. Marie's church, in the great cemetery, where it is said the old parish church of Old Hampton stood. One told me there, that the littleness of this church was the cause of the erection of the great church of Our Ladye, now standing, by this occasion: one Matilde, queen of England, asked 'What it meant that a great number of people walked about the church of St. Nicholas?' and one answered, 'It is for lack of room in the church.' Then she, ex voto, promised to make them a new, and this was the original of St. Marie church. This queen Matilde, or some other good person following, thought to have this made a collegiate church, but this purpose succeed did not fully." [Leyland's Itinerary, vol. iii.; second edition.]

The repose of cloistered seclusion, and heavenward employment in works of piety and benevolence, whereby the royal Matilda sought to charm away the excitement of the late fierce struggle in which she had been forced to take so active a part, were succeeded by fresh anxieties of a political nature, caused by the return of the young Henry Fitz-Empress in the following year (1149), and by the evident intention of her uncle, David of Scotland, to support his claims. The king her husband, apprehending that an attack on the city of York was meditated, flew to arms once more, on which David, after conferring knighthood on his youthful kinsman, retired into Scotland, and prince Henry returned to Normandy, not feeling himself strong enough to bide the event of a battle with Stephen at that period. [Roger Hoveden.] A brief interval of tranquillity succeeded the departure of these invading kinsmen; but queen Matilda lived not long to enjoy it. Worn out with cares and anxieties, this amiable princess closed her earthly pilgrimage at Heningham castle in Essex, the mansion of Alberic de Vere, where she died of a fever, May 3, 1151, in the fifteenth year of her husband's reign. Stephen was forty-seven years old at the time of this his irreparable loss; Matilda was probably about the same age, or a little younger.

This lamented queen was interred in the newly-erected abbey of Feversham, of which she had been so munificent a patroness, having endowed it with her own royal manor of Lillechurch, which she gave to William of Ypres for his demesne of Feversham, the spot chosen by her as the site of this noble monastic establishment, which was dedicated to St. Saviour, and filled with black monks of Cluny. The most valued of all the gifts presented by queen Matilda to her favorite abbey was a portion of the holy cross, which had been sent by her illustrious uncle, Godfrey of Boulogne, from Jerusalem, and was, therefore, regarded as doubly precious, none but heretics presuming to doubt of its being 'vera crux.' [Robert of Gloucester.] "Here," says that indefatigable antiquary, Weever, lies interred Maud, wife of king Stephen, the daughter of Eustace earl of Boulogne (brother of Godfrey and Baldwin, kings of Jerusalem) by Mary Atheling (sister to Matilda Atheling, wife to Henry, her husband's predecessor). She died at Heningham castle in Essex, the 3d of May, 1151; whose epitaph I found in a nameless manuscript.

"Anno milleno C. quinquagenoque primo,
Quo sua non minuit, sed sibi nostra tulit,
Mathildis felix conjux Stephani quoque Regis
Occidit, insignis moribus et titulis;
Cultrix vera Dei, cultrix et pauperiei.
Hic subnixa Deo, quo frueretur eo.
Femina si qua Polos conscendere queque meretur,
Angelicis manibus diva haec Regina tenetur."

The monastic Latin of this inscription may be thus rendered: "In the year one thousand one hundred and fifty-one, not to her own, but to our great loss, the happy Matilda, the wife of king Stephen, died, ennobled by her virtues as by her titles. She was a true worshipper of God, and a real patroness of the poor. She lived submissive to God, that she might afterwards enjoy his presence. If ever woman deserved to be carried by the hands of angels to heaven, it was this holy queen."

Queen Matilda left three surviving children by her marriage with Stephen,—Eustace, William, and Mary. The eldest, prince Eustace, was, after her death, despatched by Stephen to the court of his royal brother-in-law, Louis VII., to solicit his assistance in recovering the duchy of Normandy, which, on the death of Geoffrey of Anjou, had reverted to Henry Fitz-Empress, the rightful heir. Louis, who had good reason for displeasure against Henry, reinvested Eustace with the duchy, and received his homage once more. Stephen then, in the hope of securing this beloved son's succession to the English throne, endeavored to prevail on the archbishop of Canterbury to crown him as the acknowledged heir of England. But neither the archbishop, nor any other prelate, could be induced to perform this ceremony, lest, as they said, "they should be the means of involving the kingdom once more in the horrors of civil war." [Rapin.] According to some historians, Stephen was so exasperated at this refusal that he shut all the bishops up in one house, declaring his intention to keep them in ward till one or other of them yielded obedience to his will The archbishop of Canterbury, however, succeeded in making his escape to Normandy, and persuaded Henry Plantagenet, who, by his marriage with Eleanor duchess of Aquitaine, the divorced queen of France, had become a powerful prince, to try his fortune once more in England.

Henry, who had now assumed the titles of duke of Nor-mandy and Aquitaine, and count of Anjou, landed in England, January, 1153, before preparations were made to oppose his victorious progress. He marched directly to the relief of his mother's friends at Wallingford, and arrived at a time when Eustace was carrying on operations in the absence of the kine: his father, who had gone to London to procure fresh supplies of men and money. Eustace maintained his position till the return of Stephen, when the hostile armies drew up in battle-array, with the intention of deciding the question between the rival claimants of the crown at swords' points. An accidental circumstance prevented the deadly effusion of kindred blood from staining the snows of the wintry plain of Egilaw. "That day Stephen's horse," says Matthew Paris, "reared furiously thrice, as he advanced to the front to array his battle, and thrice fell with his forefeet flat to the earth, and threw his royal rider. The nobles exclaimed it was a portent of evil, and the men murmured among themselves; [Henry of Huntingdon. Lord Lyttolton. Speed. Tierney's Arundel.] on which the great William de Albini, the widower of the late dowager-queen Adelicia, took advantage of the pause which this superstitious panic on the part of Stephen's adherents had created to address the king on the horrors of civil war.; and, reminding him of the weakness of his cause, and the justice of that of his opponent, implored him to avoid the slaughter of his subjects, by entering into an amicable arrangement with Henry Plantagenet."

Stephen and Henry accordingly met for a personal conference in a meadow at Wallingford, with the river Thames flowing between their armies, and there settled the terms of pacification; whereby Stephen was to enjoy the crown during his life, on condition of solemnly guaranteeing the succession to Henry Plantagenet, to the exclusion of his own children. [Tierney's Arundel. Matthew Paris. Speed.] Henry, on his part, swore to confirm to them the earldom of Boulogne, the inheritance of their mother, the late queen Matilda, and all the personal property and possessions enjoyed by Stephen during the reign of his uncle, Henry I. After the treaty was ratified, William de Albini first affixing his sign manual, as the head of the barons, by the style and title of William earl of Chichester, [Tierney's Arundel.] Stephen unbraced his armor in token of peace, and Henry saluted him as 'king,' adding the endearing name of 'father,' and if Polydore Vergil and other chroniclers who relate this incident are to be believed, not without good reason.

Of a more romantic character, however, is the circumstantial account of the cause of this pacification, as related by that courtly historian Matthew Paris, which, though he only mentions it as a report, is of too remarkable a nature to be omitted here. We give the passage in his own words: "The empress, they say, who had rather have been Stephen's paramour than his foe, when she saw him and her son arrayed against each other, and their armies ready to engage on Egilaw Heath, caused king Stephen to be called aside, and coming boldly up to him, she said, 'What mischievous and unnatural thing go ye about to do? Is it meet the father should destroy the son, or the son to kill the sire? For the love of the most high God, fling down your weapons from your hands, sith that (as thou well knowest) he is indeed thine own son: for you well know how we twain were acquaint before I wedded Geoffrey!' The king knew her words to be sooth, and so came the peace." [Matthew Paris.]

No other historian records that the empress was in England at this period, much less that she was the author of the pacification. Lord Lyttelton, however, in his history of Henry II., says, "that at one of his interviews with Stephen, previous to the settlement of the succession on Henry, that prince is stated by an old author to have claimed the king for his father, on the confession of the empress, when she supposed herself to be on a death-bed." Rapin also mentions the report. That which lends most color to the tale is the fact that the empress Matilda's second son Geoffrey, on the death of his father, set up a claim to the earldom of Anjou, grounded on the supposed illegitimacy of prince Henry. The ungracious youth even went so far as to obtain the testimony of the Angevin barons, who witnessed the last moments of the count his father, to the assertion "that the expiring Geoffrey named him as the successor to his dominions, because he suspected his elder brother to be the son of Stephen." [Vita Gaufredi de Normandi.]

Prince Eustace was so much enraged at the manner in which his interests had been compromised by the treaty of Wallingford, that he withdrew in a transport of indignation from the field; and gathering together a sort of free company of the malcontent adherents of his father's party, he marched towards Bury St. Edmund's, ravaging and laying under contribution all the country through which he passed. The monks of Bury received him honorably, and offered to refresh his men; but he sternly replied, "That he came not for meat but money," and demanded a subsidy, which being denied by the brethren of St. Edmund,—"they being unwilling," they said, "to be the means of raising fresh civil wars, which fell heavily on all peacefully disposed men, but heaviest of all on the clergy,"—Eustace, reckless of all moral restraints, instantly plundered the monastery, and ordered all the corn and other provisions belonging to these civil and hospitable ecclesiastics to be carried to his own castle, near the town; and "then sitting down to dinner in a frenzy of rage, the first morsel of meat he essayed to swallow choked him," says the chronicler who relates this act of wrong and violence. According to other historians, Eustace died of a brain fever on the 10th of August, 1153. [Speed.] His body was conveyed to Feversham abbey, and was interred by the side of his mother, queen Matilda. Eustace left no children by his wife, Constance of France.

William, the third son of Stephen and Matilda, inherited his mother's earldom of Boulogne, which, together with that of Mortagne, and all his father's private property, were secured to him by the treaty of Wallingford. He is mentioned in that treaty by name, as having done homage to Henry of Anjou and Normandy. Shortly afterwards, however, this prince, though of tender age, entered into a conspiracy with some of the Flemish mercenaries, to surprise the person of prince Henry on Barham downs, as he was riding from Dover in company with the king. Stephen himself is not wholly clear from a suspicion of being concerned in this plot, which failed through an accident which befell prince William; for just before the assault should have taken place, he was thrown by his mettlesome steed, and had the ill luck to break his leg. Henry, on receiving a secret hint of what was in agitation, took the opportunity of the confusion created by William's fall to ride off at full speed to Canterbury, and soon after sailed for Normandy. It does not appear that he bore any ill-will against William de Blois for his treacherous design, as he afterwards knighted him, and confirmed to him his mother's earldom, and whatever was possessed by Stephen before his accession to the throne. This prince died in the year 1160, while attending Henry II. on his return home from the siege of Thoulouse.

The lady Marie de Blois, the only surviving daughter of Stephen and Matilda, took the veil, and was abbess of the royal nunnery of Romsey, in which her grandmother, Mary of Scotland, and her great-aunt, Matilda the good queen, were educated. When her brother William count of Boulogne died without issue, the people of Boulogne, desiring to have her for their countess, Matthew, the brother of Philip count of Flanders, stole her from her convent, and marrying her, became in her right count of Boulogne. She was his wife ten years, when, by sentence of the pope, she was divorced from him, and forced to return to her monastery. She had two daughters by this marriage, who were allowed to be legitimate; and Ida, the eldest, inherited the earldom of Boulogne, in right of her grandmother Matilda, Stephen's queen.

Stephen died at Dover, of the iliac passion, October 25, 1154, in the fifty-first year of his age, and the nineteenth of his reign. He was buried by the side of his beloved queen Matilda, and their unfortunate son Eustace, in the abbey of Feversham. "His body rested here in quietness," says Stowe, "till the dissolution; when, for the trifling gain of the lead in which it was lapped, it was taken up, uncoffined, and plunged into the river,—so uncertain is man, yea, the greatest princes, of any rest in this world, even in the matter of burial." Honest old Speed, by way of conclusion to this quotation from his brother chronicler, adds this anathema: "And restless may their bodies be also, who, for filthy lucre, thus deny the dead the quiet of their graves!"

A noble monument of Stephen and Matilda still survives the storms and changes of the last seven centuries,—the ruins of Furness abbey. That choicest gem of the exquisite ecclesiastical architecture of the twelfth century was founded, in conjugal unity of purpose, by them soon after their marriage, July 1, 1127, when only earl and countess of Boulogne. On acquiring the superior rank and power of king and queen of England, they gave additional gifts and immunities to this abbey. The transferred brotherhood of St. Benedict, who were thus enabled by the munificence of the royal pair to plant a church and monastic establishment of unrivalled grandeur in the sequestered valley of Bekansgill, or the vale of 'the deadly nightshade,' as that spot was then called in Lancashire, were not occupied merely in singing and praying for the souls of their august founders and their children, although the customs of that age rendered the performance of these offices an indispensable obligation on the part of the community, in return for endowments of lands, but the real objects for which the monks of Furness were rendered recipients of the bounty of Matilda and her lord were the civilization and cultivation of the wildest district of England. Whatever evils might result in after ages from the abuses which a despotic theocracy introduced into their practice, the statistic benefits conferred by these English fathers of the desert on the country were undeniable. They drained morasses, cleared jungles,—the haunts of wild beasts and robbers,—and converted them into rich pastures and arable lands; while they taught a barbarous and predatory population to provide honestly for the wants of life by the practice of agriculture and the various handicrafts which a progressive state of society renders necessary, and even instructed those who possessed capabilities for higher pursuits in the arts and sciences, which expand the intellect while they employ the mechanical powers of men.

The extensive remains of Furness abbey, its clustered columns, glorious arches, elaborately wrought corbels, delicate traceries, sublime elevations, and harmonious proportions, tell their own tale, not only of the perfection to which architecture and sculpture were carried under the auspices of the accomplished Matilda of Boulogne, but of the employment afforded to numerous bands of workmen in various branches during the erection of such a fabric. The busts of the royal founder and foundress still remain on either side the lofty chancel window. Noble works of art they arc, full of life-like individuality, and extremely characteristic of the persons they represent. Stephen is a model of manly beauty, with a bold and majestic aspect. They both wear their royal diadems. There is a chaste simplicity truly classical in Matilda's attitude and costume. Her veil flows from beneath the royal circlet in graceful folds on cither side her softly-moulded oval face. Her dress fits closely to her shape, and is ornamented in front with a mullet-shaped brooch. Her features are delicate and feminine, her expression sweet and modest, yet indicative of conscious dignity, and sufficiently touched with melancholy to remind us of the thorns which beset her queenly garland, during her severe struggles to support the defective title of her consort to the sovereignty of England. The portrait of Matilda which illustrates this biography is engraved from a drawing made expressly for that purpose from the bust at Furness abbey which we have just described, being the only contemporary memorial which preserves to posterity an authentic representation of this most interesting queen and admirable woman.

Eleanora of Aqitaine.

Queen of Henry II.


Provencal queens—Country of Eleanora of Aquitaine—Her grandfather—Death of her father—Her great inheritance—Marriage—Becomes queen of France—Beauty—She joins the crusaders—Her guard of Amazons—Eleanora and ladies encumber the army—Occasion defeat—Refuge with queen's uncle—Eleanora's coquetries—Returns to France—Her disgusts—Taunts—Henry Plantagenet—Scandals—Birth of infant princess—Eleanora falls in love with Henry—Jealousies—She applies for divorce—Her marriage dissolved—Returns to Aquitaine—Adventures on journey—Marries Henry Plantagenet—Birth of her son—Enables Henry to gain England—Henry's love for Rosamond—Returns to Eleanora—Succeeds to the English throne—Eleanora crowned at Westminster—Costume—Birth of prince Henry—Queen presents her infants to the barons—Death of her eldest son—Her court—Tragedy played before her—Her husband—His character—Rosamond discovered by the queen—Eleanora's children—Birth of prince Geoffrey—Eleanora regent of England—Goes to Normandy—Conclusion of empress Matilda's memoir—Matilda regent of Normandy—Mediates peace—Dies—Her tomb—Eleanora Norman regent—She goes to Aquitaine.

Hereditary sovereign of Aquitaine, by her first marriage queen of France; then queen-consort of Henry II., and subsequently regent of his realms,—how many regalities did Eleanora of Aquitaine unite in her own person! England, by means of the marriage of her king and Eleanora, formed a close alliance with the most polished and civilized people on the face of the earth, as the Provencals of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries undoubtedly were. With the arts, the idealities, and the refinements of life, Eleanora brought acquisitions of more importance to the Anglo-Norman people than even that "great Provence dower," on which Dante dwells with such earnestness.

But before the sweet provinces of the South were united to England by the marriage of their heiress with the heir of the Conqueror, a varied tissue of incidents had chequered the life of the duchess of Aquitaine, and it is necessary to trace them before we can describe her conduct as queen of England. It would be in vain to search on a map for the dominions of Eleanora, under the title of dukedom of Aquitaine. In the eleventh century, the counties of Guienne and Gascony were erected into this dukedom, after the ancient kingdom of Provence, established by a diet of Charlemagne, [Atlas Geographique.] had been dismembered. Julius Caesar calls the south of Gaul Aquitaine, from the numerous rivers and fine ports belonging to it; and the poetical population of this district adopted the name for their dukedom from the classics.

The language which prevailed all over the south of France was called Provencal, from the kingdom of Provence; and it formed a bond of national union among the numerous independent sovereigns under whose feudal sway this beautiful country was divided. Throughout the whole tract of country, from Navarre to the dominions of the dauphin of Auvergne, and from sea to sea, the Provencal language was spoken,—a language which combined the best points of French and Italian, and presented peculiar facilities for poetical composition. It was called the langue d'oc, sometimes langue d'oc et no, the tongue of 'yes' and 'no;' because, instead of the oui and non of the rest of France, the affirmative and negative were oc and no. The ancestors of Eleanora were called par excellence the lords of 'Oc and 'No.' William IX., her grandfather, was one of the earliest professors and most liberal patrons of the art. His poems were models of imitation for all the succeeding troubadours. [Sismondi's Literature of the South.]

The descendants of this minstrel hero were Eleanora and her sister Petronilla: they were the daughters of his son, William count de Poitou. William of Poitou was a pious prince, which, together with his death in the Holy Land, caused his father's subjects to call him St. William. The mother of this prince was the great heiress Philippa [She is likewise called Matilda.—Rer. Script, de Franc.] of Thoulouse, duchess of Guienne and Gascony, and countess of Thoulouse in her own right. Before Philippa married, her husband was William the seventh count of Poitou and Saintonge; afterwards he called himself William IV. duke of Aquitaine. He invested his eldest son with the county of Poitou, who is termed William X. of Poitou. This prince, the father of Eleanora, did not live to inherit the united provinces of Poitou and Aquitaine, which comprised nearly the whole of the south of France; his wife, Eleanora of Chatelherault, died in early life, in 1129.

The father of Eleanora left Aquitaine in 1132, with his younger brother, Raymond of Poitou, who was chosen by the princes of the crusade that year to receive the hand of the heiress of Conrad prince of Antioch, and maintain that bulwark of the Holy Land against the assaults of pagans and infidels. William fell, aiding his brother in this arduous contest; but Raymond succeeded in establishing himself as prince of Antioch. The rich inheritance of Thoulouse, part of the dower of the duchess Philippa, had been pawned for a sum of money to the count of St. Gilles, her cousin, which enabled her son to undertake the expense of the crusade led by Robert of Normandy. The count St. Gilles took possession of Thoulouse, and withheld it, as a forfeited mortgage, from Eleanora, who finally inherited her grandmother's rights to this lovely province.

The grandfather of Eleanora had been gay, and even licentious, in his youth; and now, at the age of sixty-eight, he wished to devote some time, before his death, to penitence for the sins of his early life. When his grand-daughter had attained her fourteenth year, he commenced his career of self-denial, by summoning the baronage of Aquitaine and communicating his intention of abdicating in favor of his grand-daughter, to whom they all took the oath of allegiance. [Suger. Ordericus Vitalis.] He then opened his great project of uniting Aquitaine with France, by giving Eleanora in marriage to the heir of Louis VI. The barons agreed to this proposal, on condition that the laws and customs of Aquitaine should be held inviolate, and that the consent of the young princess should be obtained. Eleanora had an interview with her suitor, and professed herself pleased with the arrangement.

It was abbot Suger, [This great minister being intimately connected with the future destiny of Eleanora of Aquitaine, a sketch of his life is desirable for purposes of perspicuity. Suger was, according to his own account, the son of indigent peasants, dependent on the great abbey of St. Denis, near Paris. Being a promising child, he served at the altar as acolyte, and showing great aptness for the partial education given to those servitors, he received further instruction from his benefactor, abbot Adam, and finally became one of the most learned monks of the Benedictine order. Philippe I. king of France, although at mortal feud with the church, on account of its opposition to his tyrannical divorce from his queen Bertha, confided the education of his second son Louis to the Benedictines of St. Denis; and here a firm friendship was established between the son of the king and Suger son of the serf. By a strange accident, the heir of Philippe I. was killed at the chase, and the friend of Suger became Louis VI. king of France. Then he effected, with the aid of his friend abbot Suger, those remarkable reforms in church and state, which occasion historians to reckon his reign among those of the greatest monarchs of France. Suger educated Louis VII., and after his accession governed France as prime-minister, and then as regent, and again as prime-minister. Suger, although an ecclesiastic, tad sufficient wisdom to moderate, rather than encourage, the tendency to ascetic bigotry in the character and conduct of the husband of Eleanora of Aquitaine, his royal pupil and master, Louis VII.—Vie de Suger, par M. d'Auvigny. Paris, 1739.] the wise premier of France, who had earnestly promoted the marriage of the crowned heir of his royal master Louis VI. with Eleanora of Aquitaine, in hopes of peacefully uniting the rich provinces of the South with the rest of the Gallic empire. According to the custom of the earlier Capetian monarchs, the peers of France recognized the heir of France as their king just before the death of his royal sire. From thence the spouse of Eleanora was surnamed Louis le Jeune, to distinguish him from his father, as he was called Louis VII. while Louis VI. was not only in existence, but reigning.

Suger, by the desire of the elder king Louis, who was declining in health, accompanied Louis le Jeune to Bourdeaux, in order that this important marriage might be solemnized as speedily as possible; the heir of France was attended by his two kinsmen, the warlike prince of Vermandois, and Thibaut the poet, count of Champagne.

Louis and Eleanora were immediately married, with great pomp, at Bourdeaux; and, on the solemn resignation of duke William, the youthful pair were crowned duke and duchess of Aquitaine, August 1, 1137. On the conclusion of this grand ceremony, duke William, [Montaigne, who speaks from his own local traditions of the South, asserts that duke William lived in his hermitage at Montserrat ten or twelve years, wearing, as a penance for his youthful sins, his armor under his hermit's weeds. It is said by others, that he died as a hermit in a grotto at Florence, after having macerated his body by tremendous penances, and established the severe order of the Guillemines. Some historians call him St. William; others give that holy prefix to the name of his son, who died in the crusades eleven years before the abdication of his sire.] grandsire of the bride, laid down his robes and insignia of sovereignty, and took up the hermit's cowl and staff. He departed on a pilgrimage to St. James's of Compostella in Spain, and died soon after, very penitent, in one of the cells of that rocky wilderness. [To this great prince, the ancestor, through Eleanora of Aquitaine, of our royal line, may be traced armorial bearings, and a war-cry whose origin has not a little perplexed the readers of English history. The patron saint of England, St. George, was adopted from the Aquitaine dukes, as we find, from the MS. of the French herald Gilles de Bonnier, that the duke of Aquitaine's mot, or war-cry, was "St. George for the puissant duke." His crest was a leopard, and his descendants in England bore leopards on their shields till after the time of Edward I. Edward III. is called 'valiant pard' in his epitaphs; and the emperor of Germany sent Henry III. a present of three leopards, expressly saying they were in compliment and allusion to his armorial bearings.]

At the time when duke William resigned the dominions of the South to his grand-daughter, he was the most powerful prince in Europe. His rich ports of Bourdeaux and Saintonge supplied him with commercial wealth; his maritime power was immense; his court was the focus of learning and luxury; and it must be owned that, at the accession of the fair Eleanora, this court had become not a little

Louis and his bride obtained immediate possession of Poitou, Gascony, Biscay, and a large territory extending beyond the Pyrenees. The very day of the threefold solemnity of this abdication, and of the marriage and coronation of Eleanor a, the news arrived that the reigning sovereign of France was struck by death, and that Louis and his young bride would be actually king and queen of France before the important day of August 1, 1137, came to a close. The bride and bridegroom were urged by the minister, Suger, to set off for Paris. They accordingly commenced their journey from Bourdeaux with all their court; they passed through Orleans, and calmed some emeutes of the French people on the road. [Vie de Suger.] The death of the reigning king, Louis VI., is usually dated August 1st; but that was, in all probability, the day on which, simultaneously with his contemporary, duke William of Aquitaine, he laid down his royal power in favor of his successor. Louis VI. had, however, but a few days to live: it is expressly declared that he was alive at the time when the royal bride and bridegroom arrived at the abbey of St. Denis. Here they were admitted to the death-bed of this great sovereign, who addressed them in these memorable words: "Remember! royalty is a public trust, for the exercise of which a rigorous account will be exacted by Him who has the sole disposal of crowns and sceptres." So spoke the great legislator of France to the youthful pair, whose wedlock had united the north and south of France. On the conscientious mind of Louis VII. the words of his dying father were strongly impressed, but it was late in life before his thoughtless partner profited by them.

Louis VII. and queen Eleanora made a most magnificent entry into Paris from St. Denis, after the funeral rites of Louis VI. were performed. Probably the practice kept up by the new-married queens of France, of always making a public entry from St. Denis into the capital, originated at this important crisis. The influence the young queen soon acquired speedily plunged her husband and France into bloody wars. She insisted on her relative, Raymond count of Thoulouse, being forced to acknowledge her sovereignty over that province. The prime-minister of France, Suger, examined into the justice of her claims, and then informed her that her kinsman had fully proved that he held 'a good bill of sale' for Thoulouse. Suger therefore advised his royal master not to interfere; as, if the justice of the case had been on the side of queen Eleanora, it was unwise to incur the expense of a war at the commencement of a new reign. Eleanora, however, prevailed with her royal lord: the war was undertaken, and proved unsuccessful.

Eleanor was very beautiful; she had been reared in all the accomplishments of the South; she was a fine musician, and composed and sang the chansons and tensons of Provencal poetry. Her native troubadours expressly inform us that she could both read and write. The government of her dominions was in her own hands, and she frequently resided in her native capital of Bourdeaux. She was perfectly adored by her southern subjects, who always welcomed her with joy, and bitterly mourned her absence when she was obliged to return to her court at Paris,—a court whose morals were severe; where the rigid rule of St. Bernard was observed by the king her husband, as if his palace had been a convent. Far different was the rule of Eleanora in the cities of the South.

The political sovereignty of her native dominions was not the only authority exercised by Eleanora in 'gay Guienne.' She was, by hereditary right, chief reviewer and critic of the poets of Provence. At certain festivals held by her, after the custom of her ancestors, [Sismondi.] called Courts of Love, all new sirventes and chansons were sung or recited before her by the troubadours. She then, assisted by a conclave of her ladies, sat in judgment, and pronounced sentence on their literary merits. She was herself a popular troubadour poet. Her chansons were remembered long after death had raised a barrier against flattery, and she is reckoned among the authors of France. [Nostradamus, History of Provence. Du Chesne.] The decisions of the young duchess-queen in her troubadour Courts of Love have met with the reprobation of modern French historians [Michelet, History of France.] on account of their immorality; they charge her with avowing the startling opinion that no true love could exist between married persons; and it is certain that the encouragement she gave to her sister Petronilla [This young princess is called Alice and Pernelle, as well as Petronilla. One of these names was her poetical cognomen, by which her native poets, the troubadours, celebrated her. The countess of Thoulouse, grandmother of this frail damsel, had likewise two names, neither of them conventual or saintly appellations; although she sought retirement in a convent after being
divorced.] and the count Raoul of Vormandois offered too soon a practical illustration of these evil principles.

The amusements of queen Eleanora seemed little suited to the austere habits of Louis VII.; yet she had the power of influencing him to commit the only act of wilful injustice which stains the annals of his reign. Petronilla had made acquaintance with Raoul count of Vermandois at the magnificent festival at Bourdeaux, which comprised her royal sister's marriage and coronation. The beauty of Petronilla equalled that of queen Eleanora, but the young princess carried into practice her sister's avowed principles, and seduced Raoul of Vermandois from his wife. This prince had married a sister of the count of Champagne, whom he divorced for some frivolous pretext, and married, by queen Eleanora's connivance, Petronilla. The count of Champagne laid his sister's wrongs before the pope, who commanded Vermandois to put away Petronilla and to take back the injured sister of Champagne. Queen Eleanora, enraged at the dishonor of Petronilla, prevailed on her husband to punish the count of Champagne for his interference. Louis VII., who already had cause of offence against the count, invaded Champagne at the head of a large army, and began a devastating war, in the course of which a most dreadful occurrence happened at the storming of Vitry: the cathedral, wherein thirteen hundred persons had taken refuge, was burnt, and the poor people perished miserably. Abbe Suger, having in the question of the Thoulouse war experienced the evil influence of the young queen, had resigned his administration, and retired to his abbey of St. Denis; there he superintended the building of that beautiful structure, which is still the admiration of Europe. But when the dreadful slaughter at Vitry took place, Suger was roused by the reproofs of his friend St. Bernard, who declared him to be responsible for all the ill, since Louis VII. had previously always acted by his advice. Suger in vain pleaded that his king had now a bosom counsellor, who privately traversed his best advice; that he had striven against her influence to the verge of hostility with his king, and had retired, when he found he could do no good, to his duties as abbot, leaving the giddy Eleanora to reap the fruit she had planted. [Vie de Suger.]

It was at this juncture that St. Bernard preached the crusade at Vezalai, in Burgundy. King Louis and queen Eleanora, with all their court, came to hear the eloquent saint; and such crowds attended the royal auditors, that St. Bernard was forced to preach in the market-place, for no cathedral, however large, could contain them. St. Bernard touched with so much eloquence on the murderous conflagration at Vitry that the heart of the pious king Louis, full of penitence for the sad effects of his destructiveness on his own subjects, resolved to atone for it to the God of mercy, by carrying sword and fire to destroy thousands of his fellow-creatures, who had neither offended him nor even heard of him. His queen, whose influence had led to the misdeed at Vitry, likewise became penitent, and as sovereign of Aquitaine vowed to accompany her lord to the Holy Land, and lead the forces of the South to the relief of the Christian kingdom of Jerusalem. The wise and excellent Suger endeavored to prevail on his royal master to relinquish his mad expedition to Syria, assuring him that it would bring ruin on his country; he entreated him to stay and govern his dominions, and if the crusade must be undertaken, to permit the hot-headed young nobility to lead their vassals to the East without him. But the fanaticism of the king was proof against such persuasions; moreover, the romantic idea of becoming a female crusader had got into the light head of Eleanora his queen. Louis was dubious whether to take his queen on this expedition; but as Suger was to be left regent of France during the crusade, he persuaded his royal master not to oppose her inclinations. [ibid.] Nor can it excite wonder that, if Louis VII would go crusading against all reasonable advice, his wise prime-minister should wish him to take his troublesome partner in regality with him. Eleanora was sovereign of the South, with all its riches and maritime power; and when the specimens she had already given of her impracticable conduct are remembered, it will be allowed that small chance had chancellor Suger's regency of peace and quiet if the queen remained at home.

When queen Eleanora received the cross from St. Bernard, at Vezalai, she directly put on the dress of an Amazon; and her ladies, all actuated by the same frenzy, mounted on horseback, and forming a lightly armed squadron, surrounded the queen when she appeared in public, calling themselves queen Eleanora's body-guard. They practised Amazonian exercises, and performed a thousand follies in public, to animate their zeal as practical crusaders. By the suggestion of their young queen, this band of mad-women sent their useless distaffs, as presents, to all the knights and nobles who had the good sense to keep out of the crusading expedition. This ingenious taunt had the effect of shaming many wise men out of their better resolutions; and to such a degree was this mania of the crusade carried, that, as St. Bernard himself owns, whole villages were deserted by their male inhabitants, and the land left to be tilled by women and children. It was on the Whit-Sunday of 1147 that, all matters being ready for marching to the south of France, Louis VII. received the oriflamme [The place of this standard, so celebrated in the history of France, is over the high altar of St. Denis, where its representative hangs now, or at least it did in the summer of 1844, then seen by the authors of this work. An older oriflamme, which is supposed to be coeval with the days of our Henry VI., is shown in the treasury of St. Denis: the color is, or has been, a bright red, the texture shot with gold. It is a horizontal flag, wedge-shaped, but cut into a swallow-tail at the end. It appears to have hung on a cross-bar at the top of the flag-staff, and has rings to be attached at the broad end.] from the hands of the pope himself at the abbey of St. Denis, and set forward after the Whit-holidays on his ill-advised expedition. Such fellow-soldiers as queen Eleanora and her Amazons would have been quite sufficient to disconcert the plans and impede the projects of Hannibal himself; and though king Louis conducted himself with great ability and courage in his difficult enterprise, no prudence could counteract the misfortune of being encumbered with an army of fantastic women. King Louis, following the course of the emperor Conrad, whose army, roused by the eloquence of St. Bernard, had just preceded them, sailed up the Bosphorus, and landed in Thrace.

The freaks of queen Eleanora and her female warriors were the cause of all the misfortunes that befell king Louis and his army, especially in the defeat at Laodicea. [William of Tyre and Suger, as quoted in Giffard's History of France.] The king had sent forward the queen and her ladies, escorted by his choicest troops, under the guard of count Maurienne. He charged them to choose for their camp the arid but commanding ground which gave them a view over the defiles of the valley of Laodicea. While this detachment was encamping, he, at the distance of five miles, brought up the rear and baggage, ever and anon turning to battle bravely with the skirmishing Arab cavalry, who were harassing his march. Queen Eleanora acted in direct opposition to his rational directions. She insisted on her detachment of the army halting in a lovely romantic valley, full of verdant grass and gushing fountains. The king was encumbered by the immense baggage which, William of Tyre declares, the female warriors of queen Eleanora persisted in retaining in the camp at all risks. Darkness began to fall as the king of France approached the entrance to the valley; and, to his consternation, he found the heights above it unoccupied by the advanced body of his troops. Neither the queen nor her forces being encamped there, he was forced to enter the valley in search of her, and was soon after attacked from the heights by swarms of Arabs, who engaged him in the passes among the rocks, close to the fatal spot where the emperor Conrad and his heavy horse had been discomfited but a few weeks before. King Louis, sorely pressed in one part of this murderous engagement, only saved his life by climbing a tree, whence he defended him, self with the most desperate valor. [William of Tyre.] At length, by efforts of personal heroism, he succeeded in placing himself between the detachment of his ladies and the Saracens. But it was not till the dawn of day that he discovered his advanced troops, encamped in the romantic valley chosen by his poetical queen. Seven thousand of the flower of French chivalry paid with their lives the penalty of their queen's inexperience in warlike tactics; all the provision was cut off; the baggage containing the fine array of the lady-warriors, which had proved such an encumbrance to the king, was plundered by the Arabs and Saracens; and the whole army was reduced to great distress. Fortunately Antioch was near, whose prince was the uncle of the crusading queen of France. Prince Raymond opened his friendly gates to the distressed warriors of the cross, and by the beautiful streams of the Orontes the defeated French army rested and refreshed themselves after their recent disasters.

Raymond of Poitou was brother to the queen's father, the saintly William of Poitou. There was, however, nothing of the saint in the disposition of Raymond, who was still young, and was the handsomest man of his time. The uncle and niece, who had never met before, were much charmed with each other. It seems strange that the man who first awakened the jealousy of king Louis should stand in such very near relationship to his wife; yet it is certain, that as soon as queen Eleanora had recovered her beauty, somewhat sullied by the hardships she endured in the camp, she commenced such a series of coquetries with her handsome uncle, that king Louis, greatly scandalized and incensed, hurried her out of Antioch one night, and decamped to Jerusalem, with slight leave-taking of Raymond, or none at all. It is true, many authorities say that Raymond's intrigues with his niece were wholly political, and that he was persuading Eleanora to employ her power, as duchess of Aquitaine, for the extension of his dominions, and his own private advantage. It was at Antioch that Eleanora first declared "that she would not live as the wife of a man whom she had discovered was her cousin, too near by the ordinance of the church." [Guillaume de Nangis's Chronicle, quoted by Michelet.] The Chronicle of Tours accuses her of receiving presents from Saladin, and this accusation was doubtless some recognition of her power as queen-regnant of the south of France. Eleanora, having taken the cross as an independent sovereign, of course was treated as such by the oriental powers.

Eleanora was enraged at her sudden removal from Antioch, which took place early in the spring of 1149; she entered the holy city in a most indignant mood. Jerusalem, the object of the ardent enthusiasm of every other crusader, raised no religious ardor in her breast; she was burning with resentment at the unaccustomed harshness king Louis exercised towards her. In Jerusalem, king Baldwin received Eleanora with the honors due both to her rank as queen of France, and her power as a sovereign-ally of the crusading league; but nothing could please her. It is not certain whether her uneasiness proceeded from a consciousness of guilt, or indignation at being the object of unfounded suspicions; but it is indisputable that, after her forced departure from Antioch, all affection between Eleanora and her husband was at an end. While the emperor of Germany and the king of France laid an unsuccessful siege to Damascus, Eleanora was detained at Jerusalem, in something like personal restraint.

The great abilities of Sultan Noureddin rendered this siege unavailing, and Louis was glad to withdraw, with the wreck of his army, from Asia. There are letters [In the collection of Du Chesne, which has furnished much of the information in this narrative.] still extant from Suger, by which it appears that the king had written to him complaints of the criminal attachment of his queen to a young Saracen emir of great beauty, named Sal-Addin. For this misconduct the king of France expressed his intention of disgracing her, and putting her away as soon as he arrived in his dominions, but was dissuaded from this resolution by the suggestions of his sagacious minister, who pointed out to him the troubles which would accrue to France by the relinquishment of the "great Provence dower," and that his daughter, the princess Marie, would be deprived, in all probability, of her mother's rich inheritance, if the queen were at liberty to marry again. This remonstrance so far prevailed on Louis, that he permitted his discontented spouse to accompany him to Paris, November, 1149. The royal pair made a solemn entry into the capital on their return from the crusade, with as much triumphant pomp as if they had gained great victories during an absence of two years and four months, instead of having passed their time in a series of defeats and disasters. Suger then resigned his regency to the king, with much more pleasure, as he said, than he took it. He had governed France in a manner which obtained from the king and people the appellation of "father of his country." [Vie de Suger.] The dread that Suger felt at the separation of Eleanora's southern provinces was the reason why the king continued to live with her, and allowed her to retain the dignity of queen of France.

Queen Eleanora therefore resided at Paris, with all her usual state and dignity; she was, however, closely watched, and not permitted to visit her southern dominions,—a prohibition which greatly disquieted her. She made many complaints of the gloom of the northern Gallic capital and the monkish manners of her devout husband. She was particularly indignant at the plain and unostentatious clothing of king Louis, who had likewise displeased her by sacrificing, at the suggestion of the clergy, all his long curls, besides shaving off his beard and moustaches. The giddy queen made a constant mockery of her husband's appearance, and vowed that his smooth face made him look more like a cloistered priest than a valiant king. Thus two years passed away in mutual discontent, till, in the year 1150, Geoffrey Plantagenet, count of Anjou, [Vie de Gaufred, Duc de Normand.] appeared at the court of Louis VII. Geoffrey did homage for Normandy, and presented to Louis his son, young Henry Plantagenet, surnamed Fitz-Empress. This youth was about seventeen, and was then first seen by queen Eleanora. But the scandalous chroniclers of the day declare the queen was much taken by the fine person and literary attainments of Geoffrey, who was considered the most accomplished knight of this time. Geoffrey was a married man; but queen Eleanora as little regarded the marriage engagements of the persons on whom she bestowed her attention as she did her own conjugal ties.

About eighteen months after the departure of the Angevin princes, the queen of France gave birth to another princess, named Alice. Soon after this event, Henry Plantagenet once more visited Paris, to do homage for Normandy and Anjou, a pleuritic fever having suddenly carried off his father. Queen Eleanora now transferred her former partiality for the father to the son, who had become a noble, martial-looking prince, full of energy, learned, valiant, and enterprising, and ready to undertake any conquest, whether of the heart of the gay queen of the South, or of the kingdom from which he had been unjustly disinherited. Eleanora acted with her usual disgusting levity in the advances she made to this youth. Her beauty was still unimpaired, though her character was in low esteem with the world. Motives of interest induced Henry to feign a return to the passion of queen Eleanora: his mother's cause was hopeless in England, and Eleanora assured him that, if she could effect a divorce from Louis, her ships and treasures should be at his command for the subjugation of king Stephen.

The intimacy between Henry and Eleanora soon awakened the displeasure of the king of France, consequently the prince departed for Anjou. Queen Eleanora immediately made an application for a divorce, under the plea that king Louis was her fourth cousin. It does not appear that he opposed this separation, though it certainly originated from the queen. Notwithstanding the advice of Suger, Louis seems to have accorded heartily with the proposition, and the divorce was finally pronounced by a council of the church at Baugenci, [Sir Harris Nicolas's Chronology of History.] March 18, 1152; where the marriage was not dissolved on account of the queen's adultery, as is commonly asserted, but declared invalid because of consanguinity. Eleanora and Louis, with most of their relations, met at Baugenci, and were present when the divorce was pronounced. [Bouquet des Histoires.] Suger, who had so long opposed the separation of Eleanora from his king, died a few days before that event took place. [Vie de Suger.]

Henry II.
From the Painted and Guilded Stone Effigy on his
Tomb in the Abbey Fontevraud, in France.

It is useless for modern historians either to blame or praise Louis VII. for his scrupulous honesty in restoring to Eleanora her patrimonial dominions; he restored nothing that he was able to keep, excepting her person. When the divorce was first agitated, Louis VII. tried the experiment of seizing several of the strongholds in Guienne, but found the power of the South was too strong for him. Giffard, who never wrote a line without the guide of contemporary chronicles, has made it fully apparent that the queen of the South was a stronger potentate than the king of the North. If the lady of 'Oc' and 'No,' and the lord of 'Oui' and 'Non,' had tried for the mastery by force of arms, the civilized, the warlike, and maritime Provencals would certainly have raised the banner of St. George and the golden leopards far above the oriflamme of France, and rejoiced at having such fair cause of quarrel with their suzerain as the rescue of their princess. Moreover, Louis could not detain Eleanora without defying the decree of the pope.

On her way southward to her own country, [Script. Rer. Franc.] Eleanora remained some time at Blois. The count of this province was Thibaut, elder brother to king Stephen, one of the handsomest and bravest men of his time. Much captivated with the splendor of "the great Provence dower," Thibaut offered his hand to his fair guest. He met with a refusal, which by no means turned him from his purpose, as he resolved to detain the lady, a prisoner in his fortress, till she complied with his proposal. Eleanora suspected his design, and departed by night, without the ceremony of leave-taking. She embarked on the Loire, and went clown the stream to Tours, which was then belonging to the
dominions of Anjou.

Here her good luck, or dexterous management, brought her off clear from another mal-adventure. Young Geoffrey Plantagenet, the next brother to the man she intended to marry, had likewise a great inclination to be sovereign of the South. He placed himself in ambush at a part of the Loire called 'the Port of Piles,' with the intention of seizing the duchess and her train, and carrying her off, and marrying her. "But," says the chronicler, "Eleanora was pre-warned by her good angel, and she suddenly turned clown a branch of the stream southwards, towards her own country." Thither Henry Plantagenet, the elder brother of Geoffrey, repaired, to claim the hand which had been promised him months before the divorce. The celerity with which the marriage of Eleanora followed her divorce astonished all Europe, for she gave her hand to Henry Plantagenet, duke of Normandy and count of Anjou, only six weeks after the divorce was pronounced. Eleanora is supposed to have been in her thirty-second year, and the bridegroom in his twentieth,—a disparity somewhat ominous, in regard to their future matrimonial felicity.

The duchess of Aquitaine and the duke of Normandy were married at Bourdeaux [Gervase. Brompton.] on May-day, with all the pomp that the luxurious taste of Eleanora, aided by Provencal wealth, could effect. If Henry and Eleanora could have been married a few months earlier, it would have been better for the reputation of the bride, since all chroniclers are very positive in fixing the birth of her eldest son, William, [Toone's Chronological History gives this date: it is supported by Sandford and Speed from chronicles, and the assertion of Robert of Gloucester in the following words,—"Henry was acquaint with the queen of France some deal too much, as me weened,"] on the 17th of August, 1152, little more than four months after their union on the first of May. The birth of this boy accounts for the haste with which Eleanora was divorced. Had king Louis detained his unfaithful wife, a dispute might
have arisen respecting the succession to the crown of France. This child was born in Normandy, whither Henry conveyed Eleanora directly after their marriage, leaving the garrisons of Aquitaine commanded by Norman officers faithful to his interest; a step which was the commencement of his unpopularity in his wife's dominions.

Louis VII. was much displeased at the marriage of his divorced queen with Henry of Anjou. He viewed with uneasiness the union of the fair provinces of the South with Anjou and Normandy; and, in order to invalidate it, he actually forbade Henry to marry without his permission, claiming that authority as his feudal lord. His measures, we think, ought to acquit king Louis of the charge of too much righteousness in his political dealings, for which he is blamed by the superficial Voltaire. However, the hostility of Louis, who entered into a league with king Stephen, roused young Henry from the pleasures in which he was spending the first year of his nuptials; and breaking from his wedded Circe, he obtained, from her fondness, a fleet for the enforcement of his claims to his rightful inheritance. Eleanora was sovereign of a wealthy maritime country, whose ships were equally used for war and commerce. Leaving his wife and son in Normandy, Henry embarked from Harfleur with thirty-six ships, May, 1153. Without the aid of this Provencal fleet, England would never have reckoned the name of Plantagenet among her royal dynasties.
These circumstances are alluded to, with some dry humor, in the following lines by Robert of Gloucester:—

"In eleven hundred years of grace and forty-one,
Died Geoffry of Plantagenet, the earl of Anjou.
Henry his son and heir, earl was made thorough
All Anjou, and duke of Normand:—much it was his mind
To come and win England, for he was next of kind [kin],
And to help his moder, who was oft in feeble chance.
But he was much acquaint with the queen of France,
Some deal too much, as me weened; so that in some thing
The queen loved him, as me trowed, more than her lord the king;
So that it was forth put that the king and she
So sibbe were, that they must no longer together be.
The kindred was proved so near, that king Louis there
And Eleanor his queen by the pope departed were.
Some were glad enow, as might be truly seen,
For Henry the empress' son forthwith espoused the queen.
The queen riches enow had under her hand,
Which helped Henry then to war on England.
In the eleventh hundred year and fifty-two
After God on earth came, this spousing was ado;
The next year after that, Henry his power nom [took],
And with six-and-thirty ships to England com."

There is reason to believe that at this period Henry seduced the heart and won the affections of the beautiful Rosamond Clifford, under the promise of marriage, as the birth of her eldest son corresponds with Henry's visit to England at this time; for he left England the year before Stephen's death, 1153. [His proceedings in England have been detailed in the preceding biography.]Henry was busy laying siege to the castle of one of his rebels in Normandy when the news of Stephen's death reached him. Six weeks elapsed before he sailed to take possession of his kingdom. His queen and infant son accompanied him. They waited a month at Barfleur for a favorable wind, [Brompton.] and after all they had a dangerous passage, but landed safely at Osterham, December 8th. The king and queen waited at the port for some days, while the fleet, dispersed by the wind, collected. They then went to Winchester, [Sir Harris Nicolas's Chronology of History.] where they received the homage of the southern barons. Theobald archbishop of Canterbury, and some of the chief nobles, came to hasten their appearance in London, "where Henry was," say the Saxon chroniclers, "received with great honor and worship, and blessed to king the Sunday before Midwinter-day." Eleanora and Henry were crowned in Westminster abbey, December 19, 1154, "after England," to use the words of Henry of Huntingdon, "had been without a king for six weeks." Henry's security, during this interval, was owing to the powerful fleet of his queen, which commanded the seas between Normandy and England, and kept all rebels in awe.

The coronation of the king of England and the luxurious lady of the South was without parallel for magnificence. Here were seen in profusion mantles of silk and brocade, of a new fashion and splendid texture, brought by queen Eleanora [It is said she introduced the growth of silk in her southern dominions, a benefit attributed to Henry the Great.] from Constantinople. In the illuminated portraits of this queen she wears a wimple, or close coif, with a circlet of gems put over it; her kirtle, or close gown, has tight sleeves, and fastens with full gathers just below the throat, confined with a rich collar of gems. Over this is worn the elegant pelisson, or outer robe, bordered with fur, with very full loose sleeves lined with ermine, showing gracefully the tight kirtle sleeves beneath. In some portraits the queen is seen with her hair braided, and closely wound round the head with jewelled bands. Over all was thrown a square of fine lawn or gauze, which supplied the place of a veil, and was worn precisely like the faziola, still the national costume of the lower orders of Venice. Sometimes this coverchief, or kerchief, was drawn over the features down below the chin; it thus supplied the place of veil and bonnet, when abroad; sometimes it descended but to the brow, just as the wearer was disposed to show or conceal her face. Frequently the coverchief was confined, by the bandeau, or circlet, being placed on the head, over it. Girls before marriage wore their hair in ringlets or tresses on their shoulders. The church was very earnest in preaching against the public display of ladies' hair after marriage. The long hair of the men likewise drew down the constant fulminations of the church; but after Henry I. had cut off his curls, and forbidden long hair at court, his courtiers adopted periwigs; indeed, if we may judge by the queer effigy on his coins, the handsome Stephen himself wore a wig. Be this as it may, the thunder of the pulpit was instantly levelled at wigs, which were forbidden by a sumptuary law of king Henry.

Henry II. made his appearance, at his coronation, with short hair, moustaches, and shaven chin; he wore a doublet, and short Angevin cloak, which immediately gained for him from his subjects, Norman and English, the sobriquet of 'Court-mantle.' His dalmatica was of the richest brocade, bordered with gold embroidery. At this coronation, ecclesiastics were first seen in England dressed in sumptuous robes of silk and velvet, worked with gold. This was in imitation of the luxury of the Greek church: the splendor of the dresses seen by the queen at Constantinople occasioned the introduction of this corruption in the western church. Such was the costume of the court of Eleanora of Aquitaine, the queen of England, in the year of her coronation, 1154. The Christmas festivities were celebrated that year with great pomp at Westminster palace; but directly the coronation was over, the king conducted his queen to the palace of Bermondsey, where, after remaining some weeks in retirement, she gave birth to her second son, the last day of February, 1155.

Bermondsey, the first place of Eleanora's residence in England, was, as delineated in its ancient plans, a pastoral village nearly opposite to London, of a character decidedly Flemish. Rich in well-cultivated gardens and wealthy velvet meads, it possessed, likewise, an ancient Saxon palace, [Annals of the Abbey of Bermondsey.] and a priory then newly built. Assuredly the metropolis must have presented itself to the view of its foreign queen, from the palace of Bermondsey, with much more picturesque grandeur than it does at present, when its unwieldly size and smoky atmosphere prevent an entire coup d'oeil But at one glance from the opposite, bank of the river the eyes of the fair Provencal could then behold London, her royal city, situated on ground rising from the Thames. It was at that time girdled with an embattled wall, which was studded with gate-ways, both by water and land. [Dowgate and Billingsgate.] The new Tower of London kept guard on the eastern extremity of the city, and the lofty spire of the ancient cathedral presided over the western side, just behind the antique gate-way of Ludgate. This gate led to the pleasant road of the river's Strand, ornamented with the old Temple, its fair gardens and wharf, and interspersed with a few inns, [Inn was not, in early times, a word used for a house of public entertainment. Its original signification was a temporary abode in London, used by abbot, bishop, or peer.] or metropolitan dwellings of the nobility, the cultivated grounds of which sloped down to their water-stairs and boat-houses, the Thames being then the highway of London. The Strand road terminated in the majestic palace and abbey of Westminster, the old palace, with its yard and gardens, once belonging to St. Edward, and the new palace, its noble hall and water-stairs, which owed their origin to the Norman dynasty. Such was the metropolis when Henry II. succeeded to the English crown.

If the example and conduct of the first Provencal queen was neither edifying nor pleasing to her subjects, yet, in a commercial point of view, the connection of the merchants of England with her Aquitanian dominions was highly advantageous. The wine trade with Bourdeaux became considerable. [Anderson's History of Commerce.] In a few months after the accession of Eleanora as queen-consort of England, large fortunes were made by the London traders, who imported the wines of Gascony from the port of Bourdeaux; ["The land," says one of the malcontent Saxon chroniclers, "became full of drink and drunkards. Claret was 4d. per gallon at this time. Gascon wine in general sold at 20s. per tun."] and above all (by the example of the maritime cities of Guienne), the shipping of England was governed by the ancient code of laws, called the code of Oleron. In compliment to his consort Eleanora, Henry II. adopted for his plate-mark the cross of Aquitaine, with the addition of his initial letter N. An instance of this curious fact is still to be seen in the grace-cup of Thomas a Becket. [This cup formerly belonged to the Arundel Collection, and was given by Bernard Edward, the late duke of Norfolk, to H. Howard, Esq., of Corby castle, who thus became the possessor of this highly-prized relic of Eleanora's era. The cross of Aquitaine somewhat resembles the Maltese cross; the cup is of ivory mounted with silver, which is studded on the summit and base with pearls and precious stones. The inscription round the cup is, vinum tuum bibe cum gaudio,—'Drink thy wine with joy;' but round the lid, deeply engraved, is the restraining injunction, sobrii estote, with the initials T. B. interlaced with a mitre, the peculiarly low form of which stamps the antiquity of the whole.]

The English chose to regard Henry II. solely as the descendant of their ancient Saxon line. "Thou art son," [Ailred Chronicle.] said they, "to the most glorious empress Matilda, whose mother was Matilda Atheling, daughter to Margaret, saint and queen, whose father was Edward, son to king Edmund Ironside, who was great-grandson to king Alfred." Such were the expressions of the English when Henry convened a great meeting of the nobility and chief people at Wallingford, in March, 1155; where, by the advice of his mother, the empress Matilda (who had learned wisdom from adversity), he swore to confirm to the English the laws of Alfred and Edward the Confessor, as set forth in the great charter of Henry I. At this grand convocation queen Eleanora appeared with her eldest son, then in his fourth year, and the infant Henry. The baronage of England kissed the hands of the infants, and vowed to recognize them as the heirs of the English monarchy. A few weeks after this recognition the queen lost her eldest son, who was buried at Beading, at the feet of his great-grandfather, Henry I.

The principal residences of the court were Winchester palace, Westminster palace, and the country palace of Woodstock. The amusements most favored by queen Eleanora were of a dramatic kind. Besides the Mysteries and Miracles played by the parish-clerks and students of divinity, the classic taste of the accomplished Eleanora patronized representations nearly allied to the regular drama, since we find that Peter of Blois, [Or Petrus Blesensis, who was born, 1120, at the city of Blois, of a noble family. He was preceptor to William II. of Sicily, 1157, was invited to England by Henry II., and made his chaplain, and archdeacon of Bath; likewise private secretary to the king. He spent some years at the court of England, and died about.the end of the twelfth century. He wrote about one hundred and thirty letters, in the most lively and individualizing style. These he collected and
perpetuated, by making many copies, at the express desire of his royal master, Henry II.] in his epistles, congratulates his brother William on his tragedy of Flaura and Marcus, played before the queen. This William was an abbot, but was master of the revels or amusements at court: he com-posed all the Mysteries and Miracles performed before the queen at Westminster and Winchester.

It is to Peter of Blois we owe a graphic description of king Henry's person and manners; likewise the picture of his court setting out in progress. "When king Henry sets out of a morning, you see multitudes of people running up and down as if they were distracted; horses rushing against horses, carriages overturning carriages, players, gamesters, cooks, confectioners, morris-dancers, barbers, courtesans, and parasites, making so much noise, and, in a word, such an intolerable tumultuous jumble of horse and foot, that you imagine the great abyss hath opened, and that hell hath poured forth all its inhabitants." We think this disorderly crew must have belonged to the queen's court, for the sketch given us by the same most amusing author of king Henry himself, would lead us to suppose that he countenanced no such riotous doings. The chaplain Peter [As edited by Hearne.] thus minutely describes king Henry, the husband of Eleanora of Aquitaine, in his letter to the archbishop of Panormitan:—"In praising David the king, it is read that he was ruddy, but you must understand that my lord the king is sub-rufus, or pale-red; his harness [armor] hath somewhat changed his color. Of middle stature he is so that among little men seemeth he not much, nor among long men seemeth he over little. His head is round, as in token of great wit, and of special high counsel the treasury."

Our readers would scarcely expect phrenological observations in an epistle of the twelfth century, but we faithfully write what we find therein:—"His head is of such quantity, that to the neck, and to all the body, it accordeth by even proportion. His een pykeled [fine], and clear as to colour while he is of pleased will; but through disturbance of heart, like sparkling fire or lightning with hastiness. His head of curly hair, when clipped square in the forehead, sheweth a lyonous visage, the nostrils even and comely, according to all the other features. High vaulted feet, legs able to riding, broad bust, and long champion arms, which telleth him to be strong, light, and hardy. In a toe of his foot the nail groweth into the flesh, and in harm to the foot over waxeth. His hands, through their large size, sheweth negligence, for he utterly leaveth the keeping of them; never, but when he beareth hawks, weareth he gloves. Each day at mass and council, and other open needs of the realm, throughout the whole morning he standeth a foot, and yet when he eateth he never sitteth down. In one day he will, if need be, ride two or three journeys, and thus hath he oft circumvented the plots of his enemies. A huge lover of woods is he, so that when he ceaseth of war he haunteth places of hawking and hunting. He useth boots without folding caps, and homely and short clothes weareth he. His flesh would have charged him with fatness, but with travel and fasting he adaunteth [keeps it down], and in riding and going travaileth he mightily his youth. Not as other kings lieth he in his palace, but travelling about by his provinces espieth he the doings of all men. He doometh those that he judges when they do wrong, and punisheth them by stronger judgment than other men. No man more wise in counsel, ne more dreadful in prosperity, ne steadfaster in adversity. When once he loveth, scarcely will he ever hate; when once he hateth, scarcely ever receiveth he into grace. 'Oft holdeth he in hand swords, bows, and hunting-gear, excepting he be at council or at book. When he may rest from worldly business, privily he occupieth himself about learning and reading, and among his clerks asketh he questions. For though your king [The king of Sicily, William the Good, afterwards Henry II.'s son-in-law.] be well y-lettered [learned], our king by far is more y-lettered. I, forsooth, in science of letters, know the cunning of them both, ye wotting well that my lord the king of Sicily a whole year was my disciple, and though by you he had the beginning of teaching, yet by me he had the benefit of more full science. [By this passage it appears that Peter Blois had been the tutor to Henry II. and the king of Sicily.] And as soon as I went out of Sicily, your king cast away his books, and gave himself up to palatine [The idleness and luxuries of the palace.] idleness. But, forsooth, our lord the king of England has each day a school for right well lettered men; hence his conversation, that he hath with them, is busy discussing of questions. None is more honest than our king in speaking; ne in alms largess. Therefore, as Holy Writ saith, we may say of him, 'His name is a precious ointment, and the alms of him all the church shall take.'" Such is the picture of the first of our great Plantagenet monarchs, drawn in minute pencilling by the man who had known him from his childhood.

It is not a very easy task to reduce to anything like perspicuity the various traditions which float through the chronicles regarding queen Eleanora's unfortunate rival, the celebrated Rosamond Clifford. No one who studies history ought to despise tradition, for we shall find that tradition is generally founded on fact, even when defective, or regardless of chronology. The learned and accurate Carte has not thought it beneath him to examine carefully the testimony that exists regarding Rosamond; and we find, from him, that we must confine her connection with Henry to the two years succeeding his marriage. He has proved that the birth of her youngest son, and her profession as a nun at Godstow, took place within that space of time, and he has proved it from the irrefragable witness of existing charters, of endowments of lands given by the Clifford family to benefit the convent of Godstow, of provision made by Henry II. for her son William Long-espee and his brother, and of benefactions he bestowed on the nunnery of Godstow because Rosamond had become a votaress therein. It appears that the acquaintance between Rosamond and Henry commenced in early youth, about the time of his knighthood by his uncle the king of Scotland; that it was renewed at the time of his successful invasion of England, when he entered privately into marriage contract [Carte. Brompton. Boswell's Antiquities.] with the unsuspecting girl; and before he left England, to return to his wife, his noble boy William, surnamed Long-espee, was born. His own words afterwards confirmed this report: "Thou art my legitimate son," said he to one of the sons of Rosamond, who met him at the head of an armed force at a time when the rebellion of the princes had distressed him; "and," continued he, "the rest are bastards." [Lingard.] Perhaps these words afford the truest explanation of the mysterious dissensions which perpetually distracted the royal family.

How king Henry excused his perjury, both to Rosamond and the queen, is not explained by chronicle; he seems to have endeavored, by futile expedients, to keep them both in ignorance of his perfidy. As Rosamond was retained by him as a prisoner, though not an unwilling one, it was easy to conceal from her the facts, that he had wedded a queen and brought her to England; but his chief difficulty was to conceal Rosamond's existence from Eleanora, and yet to indulge himself with frequent visits to the real object of his love.

Brompton says, "That one day queen Eleanora saw the king walking in the pleasance of Woodstock, with the end of a ball of floss silk attached to his spur; coming near him unperceived, she took up the ball, and the king walking on, the silk unwound, and thus the queen traced him to a thicket in the labyrinth or maze of the park, where he disappeared. She kept the matter secret, often revolving in her own mind in what company he could meet with balls of silk. Soon after, the king left Woodstock for a distant journey; then queen Eleanora, bearing her discovery in mind, searched the thicket in the park, and discovered a low door cunningly concealed; this door she had forced, and found it was the entrance to a winding subterranean path, which led out at a distance to a sylvan lodge in the most retired part of the adjacent forest." Here the queen found, in a bower, a young lady of incomparable beauty, busily engaged in embroidery. Queen Eleanora then easily guessed how balls of silk attached themselves to king Henry's spurs. Whatever was the result of the interview between Eleanora and Rosamond, it is certain that the queen did not destroy her rival either by sword or poison, though in her rage it is possible that she might threaten both. That Rosamond was not killed may be ascertained by the charters before named, which plainly show that she lived twenty years, in great penitence, after her retirement from the king. It is extremely probable that her interview with Eleanora led to her first knowledge that Henry was a married man, and consequently to her profession at Godstow, which took place the second year of Henry's reign. The grand error in the statements regarding Rosamond is the assertion that she was a young girl seduced and concealed by the king when he was in advanced life. Now the charters collated by Carte prove that the acquaintance of Rosamond and Henry commenced in early youth, that they were nearly of the same age, and that their connection terminated soon after queen Eleanora came to England.

Twenty years afterwards, when Rosamond's death really occurred in her convent, it happened to coincide with Eleanora's imprisonment and disgrace. This coincidence revived the memory of the romantic incidents connected with Henry's love for Rosamond Clifford, The high rank of the real object of the queen's jealousy at that time, and the circumstances of horror regarding Henry's profligacy, as the seducer of the princess Alice, his son's wife, occasioned a mystery at court which no one dared to define. The common people, in their endeavors to guess this state secret, combined the death of the poor penitent at Godstow with Eleanora's imprisonment, and thus the report was raised that Eleanora had killed Rosamond. To these causes we trace the disarrangement of the chronology in the story of Rosamond, which has cast doubts on the truth of her adventures. In Brompton's narrative, we find the labyrinth [As to the labyrinth or maze at Woodstock, it most likely existed before the time of Rosamond, and remained after her death, since all pleasances or gardens in the middle age were contrived with this adjunct. Traces of them exist to this day, in the names of places near defunct royal palaces; witness 'Maze hill' at Greenwich (near the site of the maze or labyrinth of Greenwich palace), and 'the Maze' in Southwark, once part of the garden of the princess Mary Tudor's palace. We have evidence that Edward III. (between whom and the death of Rosamond little more than a century intervened) familiarly called a structure pertaining to Woodstock palace, 'Rosamond's chamber,' the locality of which he minutely describes in a letter preserved in the Foedera, vol. iv. p. 629. In this document he directs William de Montacute "to order various repairs at his manor of Woodstock; and that the house beyond the gate in the new wall be built again, and that same chamber, called Rosamond's chamber, to be restored as before, and crystal plates, and marble, and lead to be provided for it." Here is indisputable proof that there was a structure called Rosamond's chamber, distinct from Woodstock palace yet belonging to its domain, being a building situated beyond the park wall. Edward III. passed the first years of his marriage principally at Woodstock, therefore he well knew the localities of the place; which will agree with the old chroniclers, if we suppose Rosamond's residence was approached by a tunnel under the park wall.] at Woodstock, and the clue of silk, famous in the romance and ballad. His chronology of the incidents is decidedly wrong, but the actual events are confirmed by the most ancient authorities.

Queen Eleanora brought her husband a princess in the year 1156; this was the eldest daughter, the princess Matilda. The next year the queen spent in England. Her celebrated son, Richard Coeur de Lion, was born September, 1157, at a palace considered one of the finest in the kingdom, called the Beau-Monte, in Oxford. Thus, that renowned university-claims the honor of being the birthplace of this great warrior. This palace was afterwards turned into the White Friars' church, and then to a workhouse. The chamber in which Richard was born still remains, a roofless ruin, with some vestiges of a fireplace; [Boswell's Antiquities.] but such as it is, this fragment is deeply interesting to the English, as the birthplace of a hero of whom they are proud.

Eleanora of Aquitaine, in some passages of her life, appears as one of the most prominent characters of her age: she was very actively employed, either as sovereign of her own dominions or regent of Normandy, during the period from 1157 to 1172. Eleanora was crowned a second time at Worcester, with the king, in 1159. When the royal pair came to the oblation, they both took off their crowns, and, laying them on the altar, vowed never to wear them more.

A son was born to Henry and Eleanora, September 23d, after the Worcester coronation: this prince bore the name of the king's father, Geoffrey Plantagenet. The same year the king betrothed this boy to Constance, the heiress of Conan, duke of Bretagne. The infant Constance was about eighteen months older than the little prince Geoffrey. Henry had made most unjust seizure of Bretagne, by way of conquest; he, however, soothed the independent Bretons, by marrying their infant duchess to his son. His ambitious thirst for extension of empire was not sated by the acquisition of this dukedom; he immediately laid siege to Thoulouse, and, in the name of queen Eleanora, claimed that sovereignty of earl Raymond, who was in possession, and the ally of the king of France. A year was occupied with skirmishing and negotiation, during which time Eleanora acted as queen-regent in England.

Henry sent for his queen to Normandy in 1160; she went in great state, taking with her prince Henry and her eldest daughter, to meet their father. The occasion of her presence being required was the marriage of Marguerite, the daughter of her former husband Louis VII. by his second wife, with her young son Henry. Chancellor Becket went with a magnificent retinue to Paris, and brought the little bride, aged three years, to the queen at Rouen. Both bride and bridegroom were given, after their marriage, to Becket [The secular education and support of the little princess was consigned to Robert de Newburgh, one of Henry II.'s barons, who engaged to guard her person, and bring up the princess Marguerite in a manner befitting her royal birth.] for education; and this extraordinary person inspired in their young bosoms an attachment to him that ended but with their lives. Queen Eleanora kept her Christmas at Mans, with the king, in great state and splendor, the year of this betrothment.

After a sharp dispute between Henry II. and Louis VII., relative to the portion of the princess Marguerite, the king of France compromised the matter by giving the city of Gisors as a portion with another infant princess of France, named Alice, in 1162. [Louis had two daughters of that name,—one by Eleanora, and this child by his second queen, Alice of Champagne.] This child was in her third year when wedded to prince Richard, who was then seven years old. The little princess was unfortunately consigned to the king of England for education. Two marriages were thus contracted between the daughters of Louis VII. and the sons of his divorced queen,—connections which must seem most extraordinary, when we consider that the father of the brides and the mother of the bridegrooms had been married, and were the parents of children who were sisters to both. Louis VII. gave his eldest daughter by queen Eleanora in marriage to Henry the Large, count of Champagne. It was in this year that king Henry's troubles began with Thomas a Becket, who had hitherto been his favorite, his friend, and prime-minister.

The contest between the king and Becket, which fills so many folio pages of modern history, must be briefly glanced at here. It was the same quarrel which had agitated England between Henry I. and Anselm; but England no longer possessed a virtuous daughter of her royal race for a queen, who, out of pity for the poor, deprived of their usual provision, mediated between these haughty spirits. The gay, luxurious daughter of the South was occupied with her own pleasures, and heeded not the miseries which the king's sequestrations of benefices brought on the destitute part of the population. Becket appealed to the empress Matilda, the king's mother, who haughtily repulsed his suit. Becket was the son of a London citizen, who had followed Edgar Atheling on his crusading expedition, and was made prisoner in Syria; he obtained his liberty through the affection of a Syrian lady, an emir's daughter, who followed her lover after his departure, and succeeded in finding him in London, although she knew but two European words, 'London' and 'Gilbert,'—the place of abode and Christian name of her lover. The pagan maiden was baptized, by the favorite Norman name of Matilda, and from this romantic union sprang Thomas a Becket, who was remarkable for his learning and brilliant talents, and his fine stature and beauty. The love which Gilbert Becket bore to the race and blood of Alfred, which had sent him crusading with prince Edgar, rendered him the firm partisan of his niece, the empress Matilda.

Young Becket had taken the only road to distinction open to an Anglo-Saxon; yet he was of the church, but not in it, for he was neither priest nor monk, being rather a church-lawyer than a clergyman. Henry II. had distinguished this Anglo-Saxon with peculiar favor, to the indignation of his wife and mother, who warned him against feeling friendship for an Anglo-Saxon serf with the loathing that the daughters of rajahs might feel for a pariah. The see of Canterbury having remained vacant a year and a half, Henry urged his favorite to accept it, in hopes that he would connive at his plans of diverting the revenues of the church to enrich those of the crown, for this was simply the whole cause of the perpetual contest between the Anglo-Norman kings and the archbishops of Canterbury since the Conquest; but as the church supported the destitute poor, it is not difficult to decide which had the moral right. Archdeacon Becket protested that if he were once a bishop, he must uphold the rights of the church; but the king still insisted on investing him with the archbishopric. The night before his consecration, at supper, he told the king that this archbishopric would place an eternal barrier between their friendship. Henry would not believe it. Becket was consecrated priest one day, and was invested as archbishop of Canterbury the next. To the annoyance of the king he instantly resigned his chancellorship, and became a firm champion for the rights of his see. For seven years the contest between Becket and Henry continued, during which time we have several events to note, and to conclude the history of the empress Matilda. She was left [Hoveden. Gervase. Newberry.] regent of Normandy by her son, which country she governed with great wisdom and kept in a peaceful state, but she never returned to England.

Henry II, Surnamed Fitz-Empress.
After an Ancient Painting in Westminster Hall.

In the year 1165 king Louis VII. gave the princess Alice (his youngest daughter by queen Eleanora) in marriage to the count of Blois, and at the same time endowed him with the office of high-seneschal of France, which was the feudal right of Henry II., as count of Anjou. Henry violently resented this disposal of his office; and the empress his mother, who foresaw the rising storm, and who had been thoroughly satiated with the horrors of war in her youth, wrote to pope Alexander, begging him to meet her, to mediate between the angry kings. The pope obeyed the summons of the royal matron, and the kings met Matilda and the pontiff at Gisors. The differences between Becket and Henry II. had then risen to a fearful height. It appears that Matilda was charged by the pope with a commission of peace-making between Becket and his royal master. Emboldened by the mandate of the pope, Becket once more referred to the empress Matilda as the mediator between the church and her son, and no more met with repulse. We have seen the disgust with which Matilda recoiled from any communication with Becket, as the son of a Saxon villein; nevertheless, this great man, by means of his eloquent epistles, was beginning to exercise the same dominion over the mind of the haughty empress that he did over every living creature with whom he communicated. Henry II., alarmed at his progress, sent to his mother a priest named John of Oxford, who was charged to inform her of many particulars derogatory to Becket's moral character,—events, probably, that happened during his gay and magnificent career as chancellor and archdeacon.

The demise of the duke of Bretagne had called Henry II. to take possession of that duchy, in the name of the infant duchess Constance and her betrothed lord, his son Geoffrey, when the news arrived of the death of the empress Matilda, which occurred September 10, 1167. The mother of Henry II. was deeply regretted in Normandy, where she was called "the lady of the English." She governed Normandy with discretion and moderation, applying her revenues wholly to the benefit of the common weal and many public works. [Ducarel's Normandy.] While regent of Normandy, she applied her private revenues to building the magnificent stone bridge, of thirteen arches, over the Seine, called le Grand Pont. The construction of this bridge was one of the wonders of the age, being built with curved piers, to humor the rapid current of the river. The empress built and endowed three monasteries; among these was the magnificent structure of St. Ouen. She resided chiefly at the palace of Bourn, with occasional visits to the abbey of Bec.

Matilda died the 10th of September, 1167. She was interred with royal honors, first, in the convent of Bonnes Nouvelles: her body was afterwards transferred to the abbey of Bec, before the altar of the Virgin. Her son left his critical affairs in Bretagne to attend her funeral. He raised a stately marble tomb to her memory; upon it was the following epitaph, whose climax tends rather to advance the glory of the surviving son than the defunct mother:—

"Great born, great married, greater brought to bed.
Here Henry's daughter, wife, and mother's laid."

["Ortu magna, viro major, sed maxima partu,
Hic jacet Henrici filia, sponsa, parens."]


In this grave her body remained till the year 1282, when the abbey church of Bec being rebuilt, the workmen discovered it, wrapped up in an ox-hide. The coffin was taken up, and, with great solemnity, reinterred in the middle of the chancel, before the high altar. The ancient tomb was removed to the same place, and, with the attention the church of Rome ever showed to the memory of a foundress, erected over the new grave. This structure falling to decay in the seventeenth century, its place was supplied by a fine monument of brass, with a pompous inscription. [Her remains were discovered and exhumed, for the fourth time, January, 1847, when the ruins of the Benedictine church of Bec (Hellouin) were demolished. According to the Moniteur, a leaden coffin, containing fragments of bones and silver lace, was found, with an inscription affirming that the chest contained the illustrious bones of the empress Matilda, etc.] The character of this celebrated ancestress of our royal line was as much revered by the Normans as disliked by the English. Besides Henry II. she was the mother of two sons, Geoffrey and William, who both preceded her to the grave.

Queen Eleanora was resident, during these events, at the palace of Woodstock, where prince John was born, in the year 1166. Henry completed the noble hall of the palace of Rouen, [Thierry.] begun by Henry I. and nearly finished Joy the empress Matilda. He sent for queen Eleanora from England, to bring her daughter the princess Matilda, that she might be married to her affianced lord, Henry the Lion, duke of Saxony. The nuptial feast was celebrated in the newly-finished hall of Rouen palace, first opened for this stately banquet, 1167. Queen Eleanora was left regent of Normandy by her royal lord; but the people, discontented at the loss of the empress Matilda, rebelled against her authority; which insurrection obliged Henry to come to the aid of his wife.

Guienne and Poitou became in a state of revolt soon after. [Tyrrell.] The people, who earnestly desired Eleanora, their native princess, to govern them, would not be pacified till Henry brought his queen, and left her at Bourdeaux with her son Richard. Henry, the heir of England, was entitled the duke of Guienne; but for Eleanora's favorite son, Richard, was intended the county of Poitou, subject to vassalage to his brother and father. This arrangement quieted the discontents of Aquitaine. The princess Marguerite, the young wife of prince Henry, was left in Guienne with her mother-in-law, while Henry II. and his heir proceeded to England, then convulsed with the disputes between church, and state carried on by Becket. Queen Eleanora and prince Richard remained at Bourdeaux, to the satisfaction of the people of the south, who were delighted with the presence of their reigning family, although the Norman deputies of king Henry still continued to exercise all the real power of the government.

The heart of Henry's son and heir still yearned to his old tutor, Becket,—an affection which the king beheld with jealousy. In order to wean his son from this attachment, in which the young princess Marguerite fully shared, Henry II. resolved, in imitation of the Capetian royal family, to have his son crowned king in his lifetime, and to associate him in the government. "Be glad, my son," [Hoveden.] said Henry II. to him, when he set the first dish on the table at the coronation-banquet in Westminster hall; "there is no prince in Europe has such a sewer [This being one of the functions of the grand seneschal of France, which Henry had to perform, as his feudal service at the coronation of a king of France, as count of Anjou, led to his performing the same office at his son's banquet.] at his table!"—"No great condescension for the son of an earl to wait on the son of a king," replied young Henry, aside to the earl of Leicester. The princess Maguerite was not crowned at the same time with her husband; [Peter of Blois.] she remained in Aquitaine, with her mother-in-law, queen Eleanora. Her father, the king of France, was enraged at this slight offered to his daughter, and flew to arms to avenge the affront. Yet it was no fault of king Henry, who had made every preparation for the coronation of the princess, even to ordering her royal robes to be in readiness; but when Marguerite found that Becket, the guardian of her youth, was not to crown her, she perversely refused to share the coronation of her husband.

The character of Henry II., during the long strife that subsisted between him and his former friend, had changed from the calm heroism portrayed by Peter of Blois; he had given way to fits of violence, agonizing to himself and dangerous to his health. It was said that when any tidings came of the contradiction of his will by Becket, he would tear his hair, and roll on the ground with rage, grasping handfuls of rushes in the paroxysms of his passion. [Hoveden.] It was soon after one of these frenzies of rage that, in 1170, he fell ill [Brompton. Gervase. Hoveden.] at Dromfront, in Maine: he then made his will, believing his end approaching. To his son Henry he left England, Normandy, Maine, and Anjou; to Richard he left the Aquitanian dominions; Geoffrey had Bretagne, in right of his wife; while John was left dependent on his brothers. From this order of affairs John obtained the nickname of Lackland, first given him by Henry himself, in jest, after his recovery.

During a fit of penitence, when he thought himself near death, Henry sought reconciliation with Becket. When, however, fresh contradictions arose between them, Henry, in one of those violent accessions of fury described above, unfortunately demanded, before the knights who attended in his bedchamber, [Fitz-Stephen calls the four who murdered the archbishop the barons or servants of the king's bedchamber.] "Whether no man loved him enough to revenge the affronts he perpetually received from an insolent priest?" On this hint, Fitz-Urse, Tracy, Britton, and Morville slaughtered Becket, before the altar in his cathedral, the last day of the year 1171.

Eleanora of Aquitaine


Eleanora in Aquitaine—Controlled by Normans—Conspires with her sons-Jealousy—Escapes in man's attire—Means to visit her former husband—Seized—Carried prisoner to Bourdeaux—Queen Marguerite, her daughter-in-law—The two queens in captivity—Henry defeats his sons—Eleanora imprisoned in Winchester palace—Death of Rosamond—Turbulent sons of Henry and Eleanora—Troubadour agitators—Death of the younger king—Temporary reconciliation of king and queen—Prince Richard's wrongs—Princess Alice—Reports of divorce—Eleanora again imprisoned—Songs concerning her—Her subjects' love—Death of Prince Geoffrey—Grief of Eleanora—She is brought to Poitou—Claims her dominions of prince Richard—King Henry's disquiets—Death—Burial—Queen in captivity—King Richard releases her—Appoints her queen-regent—Her justice—Treasure-vault at Winchester—Queen-mother's dower—Eleanora sets out for Navarre—Berengaria—Eleanora arrives at Messina with Richard's bride—Departs—Mediates a dispute at Rome—Eleanora's regency—Her toilsome age.

From the time of the marriage of her daughter Matilda to the Lion of Saxony, Eleanora had not visited England. The coronation of her eldest son and the murder of Becket had occurred while she resided in her native province. She had seen her son Richard, in 1170, crowned count of Poitou, with all the ceremonies pertaining to the inauguration of her ancestors. But king Henry only meant his sons to superintend the state and pageantry of a court; he did not intend that they should exercise independent authority, and Richard's will was curbed by the faithful Norman veterans pertaining to his father. These castellans were the real governors of Guienne; in order of affairs equally disapproved of by prince Richard, queen Eleanora, and their Aquitanian subjects. The queen told her sons [Script. Rer. Franc.] Richard and Geoffrey that Guienno and Poitou owed no obedience to a kins: of England, or to his Normans: if they owed homage to any one, it was to the sovereign of France; and Richard and Geoffrey resolved to act as their Provencal forefathers of old, and pay no homage to a king of England.

All these fermentations were approaching a violent crisis, when Henry II., in the summer of 1173, arrived, with his son, the young king, in Guienne, to receive the long-delayed homage of count Raymond of Thoulouse, and to inquire into the meaning of some revolts in the south against his Norman castellans, evidently encouraged by his wife and prince Richard. The unsuccessful war waged by Eleanora's first husband against her kinsman of Thoulouse, in order to bring him into submission to her as his suzeraine, will be remembered. Count Raymond, although now supported against Eleanora by his former enemy Louis VII., was forced to succumb to the warlike energy of the first Plantagenet king of England. Nevertheless, the last shadow of domestic peace in the English royal family departed on the day when the count of Thoulouse tendered his long-delayed homage to Henry II. as sovereign of Aquitaine. He took the opportunity of his position to sow mischief between Henry and his wife and sons. It was part of the duty of a feudal vassal to give his sovereign advice in time of need; and when Raymond of Thoulouse [Ibid.] came to this part of his oath of homage, as he knelt before Henry II., he interpolated it with these emphatic words:—"Then I advise you, king, to beware of your wife and sons." That very night the young king, although he always slept in his father's bedroom, escaped to the protection of his father-in-law, Louis VII. From Paris, he made all manner of undutiful demands on his father. Simultaneously with the flight of young Henry, his brothers, Richard and Geoffrey, decamped for Paris. Richard's grievance was, that his wife, the princess Alice of France, was withheld from him; while Geoffrey insisted, as he had arrived at the mature age of sixteen, that the duchy of Bretagne, and his wife Constance, whose dower it was, should be given to his sole control.

Henry II. has been taxed with atrocious misconduct in regard to his daughter-in-law, the young duchess of Bretagne, in addition to the crime he really committed against young Alice of France, the spouse of his son Richard. But as the authority, John of Salisbury, calls the princess of Bretagne Alice, [M. Michelet, Hist, de France, tom. iii. p. 206. This great historian suffers his very natural aversion against the Anglo-Norman and Plantagenet kings of England to carry him too far in his charges against them; at the same time, his impartiality and deep research in regard to the good sovereigns of France in the middle ages, renders his work the best general history regarding Louis VI., VII., Philippe-Augustus, and Louis IX. His analysis of the history of Thomas a Becket, of the war of the Albigenses, and the moral depravity of the south of France, will cause no little astonishment to the modern reader, and will at the same time offer the best extenuation for Eleanora of Aquitaine, educated as she was in such a country.] instead of her real name Constance, it is evident that the same person is meant in both instances. There is no occasion to aggravate the crimes of Henry II., which were superabundant according to the most charitable computation. They proved the punishment of Eleanora, and at the same time first opened her eyes to her own wickedness in her youth. Rumors had been brought to Eleanora that her husband meditated a divorce; for some lady had been installed, with almost regal honors, in her apartments at Woodstock. Court scandal pointed at her daughter-in-law, the princess Alice, whose youthful charms, it was said, had captivated her father-in-law, and for that reason the damsel was detained from her affianced lord, prince Richard. Enraged at these reports, Eleanora resolved to seek the protection of the king of France; but as she was surrounded by Henry's Norman garrisons, she possessed so little power in her own domains as to be reduced to quit them in disguise. [Gervase.] She assumed male attire, and had travelled part of her way in this dress, when Henry's Norman agents followed and seized her, before she could reach the territories of her divorced husband. They brought her back very rudely, in the disguise she had adopted, and kept her prisoner in Bourdeaux till the arrival of her husband in that city. Her sons pursued their flight safely to the court of the king of France.

Now commenced that long, dolorous, and mysterious incarceration, which may be considered the third era in the life of Eleanora of Aquitaine. But while on the continent the imprisonment of queen Eleanora was not stationary; we trace her carried, with her royal husband, in a state of restraint to Barfleur, where he embarked for England. He had another prisoner in company with Eleanora; this was his daughter-in-law, the young Marguerite, who had contumaciously defied him, left the royal robes he had had made for her coronation unworn upon his hands, and scorned the crown he had offered to place on her brow if not consecrated by Becket, With these royal captives Henry II. landed at Southampton, some time in July, 1173. [Diceto, Dr. Henry has likewise traced the progress of Henry with two queens, from the contemporary chroniclers.] Henry proceeded directly to Canterbury, carrying the captive queens in his train. Here he performed the celebrated penance, so often described, at the tomb of Becket. We have no new light to throw on this well-known occurrence, except the extreme satisfaction that his daughter-in-law Marguerite (who was in the city of Canterbury at the time) must have felt at the sufferings and humiliation of the man who had caused the death of her tutor and friend.

Scarcely had king Henry completed his penance, when tidings were brought him that his high constable had defeated prince Richard and the earl of Leicester, near Bury; [Brompton and Hoveden.] and this news was followed by a messenger, announcing the capture, at Alnwick, of William the Lion, king of Scotland, and that the royal prisoner was approaching, with his legs tied beneath his horse,—the most approved method of showing contumely to a captive in the middle ages. All this manifested very clearly to the Anglo-Saxons that St. Thomas had forgiven his royal friend, and was now exerting himself very actively in his behalf; but when, within a very few hours, intelligence came that the fleet of young king Henry, which had set sail to invade England, had been entirely demolished by a storm, public enthusiasm for the saint knew no bounds. The king went to return thanks to St. Thomas, at the shrine before which he had done penance, and the peace of the kingdom was wholly restored. Then was queen Eleanora consigned to confinement, which lasted, with but short intervals, for sixteen years. Her prison was no worse place than her own royal palace at Winchester, [Benedict Abbas, and many chronicles. Benedict was her prime-minister during her long regency in the succeeding reign; therefore he must have known where his royal mistress resided for so long a period of her life.] where she was well guarded by her husband's great justiciary and general, Ranulph de Glanville, who likewise had the charge of the royal treasury, at the same place. That Glanville treated her with respect is evident from some subsequent events.

The poor penitent at Godstow expired in the midst of these troubles,—not cut off in her brilliant youth by queen Eleanora, but "from slow decay by pining." She was nearly forty, and was the mother of two sons, both of age. She died, practising the severest penances, in the high odor of sanctity, and may be considered the Magdalen of the middle ages. Tradition says she declared on her death-bed that when a certain tree [The body of Rosamond was buried at Godstow, near Oxford, a little nunnery among the rich meadows of Evenlod.—Camden. According to the peculiar custom of the times the grave was not closed, but a sort of temporary tabernacle, called in chronicle a hearse (of which the modern hatchment is a relic), was erected over the coffin; this was raised before the high altar, covered with a pall of fair white silk, tapers burnt around it, and banners with emblazonment waved over it. Thus lying in state, it awaited the time for the erection of a monument-Twenty years after, the stern moralist St. Hugh, bishop of Lincoln, in a course of visitation of convents, came to Godstow, and demanded, "Who lay there in such state under that rich hearse?" And when the simple nuns replied, "It was the corpse of their penitent sister, Rosamond Clifford," the reformer, perhaps remembering she was the mother of his superior, the archbishop, declared "that the hearse of a harlot was not a fit spectacle for a choir of virgins to contemplate, nor was the front of God's altar a proper station for it." He then gave orders for the expulsion of the coffin into the church-yard. The sisters of Godstow were forced to obey at the time; but after the death of St. Hugh they gathered the bones of Rosamond into a perfumed bag of leather, which they enclosed in a leaden case, and, with all the pertinacity of woman's affection, deposited them in their original place of interment, pretending that the transformation of the tree had taken place according to Rosamond's prophecy. Southey records a visit to the ruins of Godstow. The principal remnant serves for a cow-house. A nut-tree grows out of the penitent's grave, which bears every year a profusion of nuts without kernels. King John thought proper to raise a tomb to the memory of Rosamond; it was embossed with fair brass, having an inscription about its edges, in Latin, to this effect:—

"This tomb doth here enclose
The world's most beauteous rose,—
Rose passing sweet erewhile,
Now nought but odor vile."]

she named in the convent-garden was turned to stone, they would know the time she was received into glory. [Boswell's Antiquities.] She died deeply venerated by the simple-hearted nuns of Godstow, who would have been infinitely scandalized had she received visits from Henry. Nor does one of the many church manifestoes fulminated against Henry charge him with such an aggravation of his offences as the seduction of a nun; an indubitable proof that the conventual vows had effectually estranged Henry and Rosamond. As the princess Alice was still the betrothed of prince Richard, no one dared to hint at anything so deeply heinous as her seduction by her father-in-law, for the vengeance of the victorious Henry would have severely visited the promulgators of such scandal. The public, finding that the queen was imprisoned on account of her restless jealousy, compared the circumstance with the death of Rosamond, and revived the old story of Henry's passion for the penitent of Godstow. From this accidental coincidence, of Eleanora's imprisonment and Rosamond's death, the memory of the queen has been unjustly burdened with the murder of her former rival.

Henry II. seems to have indulged his eldest and his youngest son with the most ruinous fondness; he always kept them near him if possible, while prince Richard and prince Geoffrey, equally beloved by their mother, were chiefly resident with her on the continent. Prince John had entirely an English education, having for his tutor that learned ecclesiastic, allied to the Welsh royal family, well known to historians as the chronicler Giraldus Cambriensis. But small profit, either to his country or to himself, accrued from the English education of prince John.

Through the mediation of the king of France, his father-in-law, the young king Henry was reconciled to Henry II. for a time, and his spouse Marguerite was restored to him. King Louis himself visited England in 1179, for the purpose of praying for the health of his son Philip Augustus at the shrine of St. Thomas a Becket. Notwithstanding the singular relationship in which the kings of England and France stood to each other, as the former and present husband of the same queen, they appear to have frequently met in friendly intercourse. Henry received Louis with much respect, and rode all night, August 18th, with his train, to meet Louis VII. at Dover, where the chroniclers relate that Henry made many curious observations on a total eclipse of the moon, which happened during his nocturnal journey,—a fact reminding us of his fondness for scientific questions, as recorded in his character by Peter of Blois.

Henry II. afterwards took his royal guest to his Winchester palace, where he showed him his treasure-vault, and invited him to take anything he chose. Queen Eleanora was then at Winchester, but whether she met her divorced lord is not recorded. In the course of a few months Louis VII. died, of a cold caught at his vigils near the tomb of St. Thomas a Becket. Such was the end of the first husband of Eleanora of Aquitaine.

To enter into a minute detail of all the rebellions and insurrections undertaken by the insurgent sons of Eleanora, during their mother's imprisonment, were an endless, and indeed an impracticable task. It must suffice to hold up a picture of the manners and temper of the people over whom she was the hereditary sovereign, and who disdained the rule of any stranger, however nearly connected with the heiress of their country. All the elements of strife were kept in a perpetual state of activity, by the combativeness of the troubadours, whose tensons, or war-songs, perpetually urged the sons of Eleanora to battle, when they were inclined to repose. Such, among many of inferior genius, was Bertrand de Born, viscount de Hauteforte, whom Dante has introduced with such terrific grandeur in his Inferno, as the mischief-maker between Henry II. and prince John. But he began this work with Henry's eldest and best beloved son. Bertrand, and all the other troubadours, hated Henry II., whom they considered as an interloper, and a persecutor of their rightful princess, the duchess of Aquitaine, his wife. It is said that Bertrand was in love with queen Eleanora, for he addresses many covert declarations to a "royal Eleanora" in his chansons, adding, exultingly, that "they were not unknown to her, for she can read!" [Count Thierry.] But there is a mistake of the mother for the daughter, since prince Richard, who was a brother troubadour, encouraged Bertrand in a passion for his beautiful sister, Eleanora; [The royal family considered the love of the noble troubadour as a mere poetical passion, and the young princess was married very passively to Alphonso king of Castile. It was no trifle in the eyes of Bertrand, and the cause, doubtless, of the fierce restlessness with which he disturbed the royal family during the life of Henry II.—Sismondi.] and to the daughter of the queen of England, not to herself, these passionate declarations were addressed.

In the midst of insurrection against his sire, the mainspring of which was the incessant struggle to obtain an independent sovereignty, young Henry Plantagenet died, at the castle of Martel, in Guienne, in his twenty-eighth year. When he found his illness mortal, he was seized with deep remorse for his frequent rebellions against his ever-indulgent father. He sent to king Henry to implore his pardon for his transgressions. Before he expired, he had the satisfaction of receiving a ring from his sire, as a token of forgiveness. On the receipt of this pledge of affection, the penitence of the dying prince became passionate; when expiring, he caused himself to betaken out of bed, and died on sackcloth and ashes, as an atonement for his sins. The death of their heir for a short time reconciled queen Eleanora and her royal husband. Henry mourned for the loss of this son with the deep grief of David over Absalom. The contemporary chroniclers agree that from 1183 to 1184, when the princess Matilda, with her husband Henry the Lion of Saxony, sought refuge in England, the captive queen was restored to her rank at the English court. [Benedict Abbas.]

Prince Richard, now become the heir of Henry and Eleanora, remained some time quiet, in order to see how his father would conduct himself towards him. Although he had arrived at the age of twenty-seven, and the princess to whom he was half married was twenty-three, she was still detained from him. Richard had formed at Guienne [Hoveden. Dr. Henry.] an attachment to a virtuous and beautiful princess, the daughter of a neighboring potentate, and he was anxious that his mysterious entanglement with the princess Alice should bo brought to a termination.

Richard seems to have met with nought but injury from his father nor was his brother Geoffrey much better treated. The continual urgency of prince Richard, in regard to the princess Alice, was met with constant evasion. Reports were renewed of the king's intention to divorce queen Eleanora; and the legate resident in England, cardinal Hugo, was consulted on the practicability of this divorce, and likewise on the possibility of obtaining a dispensation for the king's marriage with some person nearly allied to him. [Gervase.] The consequence was that prince Richard flew to arms, and got possession of his mother's inheritance, while queen Eleanora was again committed to some restraint in Winchester palace.

Meantime, the lengthened imprisonment of queen Eleanora infuriated her subjects in Aquitaine. The troubadours roused the national spirit in favor of their native princess by such strains as these, which were the war-songs that animated the contest maintained by Richard in the name of his mother:—"Daughter of Aquitania, [Chronic. Ricardi Pictaviensis, ap. Script. Rer. Franc.] fair fruitful vine! thou hast been torn from thy country, and led into a strange land. Thy harp is changed into the voice of mourning, and thy songs into sounds of lamentation. Brought up in delicacy and abundance, thou enjoyedst a royal liberty, living in the bosom of wealth, delighting thyself with the sports of thy women, with their songs, to the sound of the lute and tabor: and now thou mournest, thou weepest, thou consumest thyself with sorrow. Return, poor prisoner—return to thy cities, if thou canst: and if thou canst not, weep, and say 'Alas! how long is my exile!' Weep, weep, and say 'My tears are my bread, both day and night!' Where are thy guards, thy royal escort? where thy maiden train, thy councillors of state? Some of them, dragged far from thy country, have suffered an ignominous death; others have been deprived of sight; others banished and wandering in divers places. Thou criest, but no one hears thee!—for the king of the North keeps thee shut up like a town that is besieged. Cry, then,—cease not to cry! Raise thy voice like a trumpet, that thy sons may hear it; for the day is approaching when thy sons shall deliver thee, and then shalt thou see again thy native land!" These expressions of tenderness for the daughter of the old national chiefs of Aquitaine are followed by a cry of malediction against the towns which, either from force or necessity, still adhered to the king of the foreign race:—"Woe to the traitors which are in Aquitaine, for the day of their chastisement is at hand! La Rochelle dreads that day. She doubles her trenches, she girds herself all round with the sea, and the noise of her great works is heard beyond the mountains. Fly before Richard, duke of Aquitaine, ye who inhabit the coast! for he shall overthrow the glorious of the land,—he shall annihilate, from the greatest to the least, all who deny him entrance into Saintonge!" The manner of Eleanora's imprisonment was as mysterious to her contemporaries and subjects as it is to her modern historians, if we may take literally the query propounded in one of her troubadour war-songs. [Tenson quoted by M. Michelet, in his History of France. Eleanora is designated in the prophecies of Merlin as the double eagle, on account of the double sovereignty she had possessed, as queen of France and then of England.] "Tell me, double eagle, tell me where wast thou when thine eaglets, flying from their paternal nest, dared to put forth their claws against the king of the North?"

For nearly two years the Angevin subjects of Henry II. and the Aquitanian subjects of his captive queen gave battle to each other; and, from Rochelle to Bayonne, the dominions of queen Eleanora were in a state of insurrection. The contemporary chroniclers, who beheld this contest of husband against wife, and sons against father, instead of looking upon it as the natural consequence of a divided rule in an extended empire, swayed by persons of great talents who had received a corrupt education considered it as the influence of an evil destiny presiding over the race of Plantagenet, and as the punishment of some great crime.

Many sinister stories, relating to the royal family, were current. Queen Eleanora, when pursuing, in her early days, her guilty career as queen of France, [Brompton.] it was whispered, had been too intimate with Geoffrey Plantagenet, her husband's father. Then the story of Foulke the Red, [Script. Rer. Franc.] the first that took the name of Plantagenet, was revived, and the murder of his brother discussed. Likewise, the wonderful tale was remembered of the witch-countess of Anjou, Henry II.'s great-grandmother, wife to Foulke le Rechin, whose cognomen means 'the quarreller.' This count having observed that his wife seldom went to church (and when she did, quitted it always at the elevation of the Host), thought proper not only to force her to mass, but made four of his esquires hold her forcibly by the mantle when she was there; when, lo! at the moment of consecration, the countess, untying the mantle by which she was held, left it in the hands of the esquires, and flying through the window of the chapel, was never heard of more. A great thunderstorm happened at the moment of her departure; a dreadful smell of brimstone remained, which "no singing of the monks could allay." The truth of this marvellous tale probably is, that the countess was killed by lightning in a church injured by a thunder-storm. Her ungracious descendant, Richard Coeur de Lion, used to tell this tale with great glee to his knights at Poitou; and added, "Is it to be wondered that, having sprung from such a stock, we live on bad terms with each other? From Satan we sprang, and to Satan we must go."

Geoffrey held out Limoges, in his mother's name, with great pertinacity. Among other envoys came a Norman clerk, holding a cross in his hand, and supplicated Geoffrey not to imitate the crime of Absalom. "What!" said Geoffrey, "wouldst thou have me deprive myself of mine inheritance? It is the fate of our family that none shall love the rest. Hatred is our rightful heritage." added he, bitterly, "and none will ever succeed in depriving us of it." During a conference which prince Geoffrey soon after had with his father, in the market-place at Limoges, for the purpose of discussing peace, the Aquitanian soldiers and supporters of Geoffrey, full of rage at the sight of the monarch who kept their duchess imprisoned, broke the truce, by aiming from the castle a shower of cross-bow shafts at the person of the king, one of which came so close as to shoot his horse through the ear. The king presented the arrow to Geoffrey, saying, with tears, "Tell me, Geoffrey, what has thy unhappy father done to thee to deserve that thou, his son, shouldst make him a mark for thine archers?" Geoffrey was greatly shocked at this accident, of which he declared he was wholly innocent. It was the outbreak of popular fury in his mother's subjects.

When prince Richard and prince Geoffrey were not combating with their father's subjects, they employed themselves in making war on each other. Just before the death of Geoffrey, his brother Richard invaded his dominions in Bretagne with fire and sword, on some unaccountable affront, blown into a blaze by the sirventes of the troubadours. After this faction was pacified, Geoffrey went to assist at a grand tournament at Paris, where he was flung from his steed in the midst of the melee, and was trodden to death beneath the feet of the coursers. He was buried at Notre Dame. This was the second son queen Eleanora had lost since her imprisonment, in the very flower of his youth and strength. Like his brother Henry, this prince was remarkable for his manly beauty, and the agile grace of his martial figure. His death afflicted his mother equally with that of her first-born; for Geoffrey had been brought up a Provencal, and had shown far more resentment for his mother's imprisonment than the young king Henry. That Eleanora loved both with all a mother's passionate tenderness we have the evidence of her own most eloquent words. In one of her letters to the pope, preserved in the collection of Peter of Blois, she says:—"The younger king and the count of Bretagne both sleep in dust, while their most wretched mother is compelled to live on, though tortured by the irremediable recollections of the dead."

The misfortunes of prince Arthur, duke of Bretagne, thus began before his birth, and were strengthened by his baptism, on the 29th of March, 1187. The duchess Constance brought him into the world a few months after the death of his father. Eleanora, the eldest child of Constance, had been proclaimed heiress of Bretagne, but was disinherited by the birth of her brother. "It was the pleasure of king Henry and queen Eleanora that the infant should be named Henry; but the Bretons chose to indulge their natural prejudices in favor of king Arthur, whom they claim as their countryman; and as they looked forward to the boy as the possible heir of England, they insisted on giving the last descendant of the Armorican princes that favorite name. This was the first public displeasure given by Constance to the parents of her husband: their enmity increased with years."—"Great scandal arose after the death of Geoffrey, regarding the duchess Constance and her brother-in-law John: till his marriage with Isabella of Angouelme, he was constantly 'haunting her,' and on this account, it is supposed, Henry II., after the birth of her posthumous son Arthur, forced the duchess to marry the earl of Chester, as prince John's attentions to his sister-in-law caused considerable comment." [Carte.]

Prince Richard having obtained possession of the whole of Aquitaine, his father commanded him to surrender it to his mother, queen Eleanora, whom he had brought as far as Normandy to claim her right. [Benedict Abbas.] The moment the prince received this mandate he gave up the territory, and hastened to Normandy to welcome the queen, and congratulate her on her restoration to freedom. This release is recorded by the friend of the queen, abbot Benedict. From him we learn that, during the year 1186, Eleanora exercised sovereign power at Bourdeaux, and then resigned it to her son Richard, who in the mean time had made his peace with his father. Henry II. was with his queen during this period; for Benedict declares that, the following April, they sailed from Barfleur to England. Eleanora was again put under some restraint at Winchester palace, which she quitted no more till the death of king Henry, three years afterwards.

The commission of moral wrong had involved Henry, great and powerful as he was, in a net, within whose inextricable folds he either vainly struggled, or awaited the possibility of deliverance by the death of the queen. If Eleanora had preceded him to the grave, as in the common course of nature might have been expected, he would have sued instantly for a dispensation to marry the affianced bride of his son. While the queen lived, this could not be done without an explosion of scandal which would have dishonored him in the eyes of all Europe. Henry had only two alternatives: either to permit his heir to marry the princess Alice, or to shorten the life of the queen Eleanora by violent means. Although his principles were not sufficiently firm to resist temptations to vice, yet he was not abandoned enough to commit deliberately either atrocity. So time wore uneasily on, till prince Richard attained the age of thirty-four, and Alice that of thirty; while the king still invented futile excuses to keep both in this miserable state of entanglement, wherein Richard could neither free himself from Alice nor give his hand to any other bride. Yet Richard, to further his own ends, made the brother of Alice believe that he was willing to complete his engagement. "It was the wish of Henry II. to crown his son John king of England during his lifetime, and to give Richard all his dominions that lay beyond the English sea. Richard was not content; he came to the king of France, and cried for aid, saying, 'Sire, for God's sake suffer me not to be disinherited thus by my sire. I am engaged to your sister Alice, who ought by right to be my wife. Help me to maintain my rights and hers.'" [Bernard le Tresorier.—Guizot's Chron.] The king of France, after vainly seeking for explanation of the reason why his sister was not married to her betrothed, made, with prince Richard, an appeal to arms. King Philip contrived to induce prince John to join in the rebellion. When Henry heard that this idolized child of his old age had followed the insurgent example of his brethren, he threw himself into a paroxysm of rage, and invoked the bitterest curses on his head, and that of prince Richard: he cursed the day of his own birth; and, after giving orders to his painter at Windsor to paint a device, of a young eaglet pecking out the eyes of an eagle, as a reproach to prince John, he set out for the continent in an agonized state of mind.

After waging, for the first time in his life, an unsuccessful war, king Henry agreed to meet his son Richard and the king of France at Vezalai. As the king was on his progress to this congress, he fell ill at Chinon, after indulging in one of his fits of violent passion. [Which Brompton declares was the immediate cause of death.] Finding that his life was departing, he caused himself to be carried before the high altar of the cathedral, where he expired in the supporting arms of Geoffrey, the youngest son of Rosamond, who was the only one of his children from whom he received filial attention in his last moments. Before he died, he spoke earnestly to him, and gave him a ring of great value; then laying his head on the bosom of Geoffrey, [Lord Lyttelton.] his spirit departed, leaving his features still convulsed with the agony of rage which had hastened his end.

When the news was brought to Richard that the crown of England had devolved upon him by the sudden death of his father, he was torn with remorse and regret. He went to meet the royal corpse at Fontevraud, the place of interment pointed out by the will of the deceased monarch. King Henry, when he was carried forth to be buried, was first apparelled in his princely robes, having his crown on his head, gloves on his hands, and shoes on his feet, wrought with gold; spurs on his heels, a ring of gold on his finger, a sceptre in his hand, his sword by his side, and his face uncovered. But this regalia was of a strange nature, for the corpse of Henry, like that of the Conqueror, had been stripped and plundered; and when those who were charged with the funeral demanded the ornaments in which Henry was to lie in state, the treasurer, as a favor, sent a ring of little value and an old sceptre. As for the crown with which the warlike brow of Henry was encircled, it was but the gold fringe from a lady's petticoat, torn off for the occasion; and in this odd attire the greatest monarch in the world went down to his last abode. [J. P. Andrews.]

Thus he was conveyed to the abbey of Fontevraud, where he lay with his face uncovered, showing, by the contraction of his features, the violent rage in which he departed. When Richard entered the abbey he shuddered, and prayed some moments before the altar, when the nose and mouth of his father began to bleed so profusely that the monk in attendance kept incessantly wiping the blood from his face. Richard testified the most poignant remorse at this sight. He wept bitterly; and, prostrating himself, prayed earnestly, under the mingled stimulus of grief and superstition, and then rising, he departed, and looked on the face of his sire no more. [Count Thierry, from Norman chronicles.] Henry II. died July 6, 1189.

The first step taken by Richard I. on his accession to the English crown was to order his mother's release from her constrained retirement at Winchester palace. From a captive, queen Eleanora in one moment became a sovereign; for the reins of the English government were placed in her hands at the time of her release. She made a noble use of her authority, according to a manuscript cited by Tyrrell:—"Queen Eleanora, directly she was liberated from her restraint at Winchester, was invested with full powers as regent, which she most beneficially exercised, going in person from city to city, setting free all those confined under the Norman game-laws, which in the latter part of Henry's life were cruelly enforced. When she released prisoners, it was on condition that they prayed for the soul of her late husband. She likewise declared she took this measure for the benefit of his soul."

Her son had given her full power, but, to her great honor, Eleanora did not use it against those who had been her jailers or enemies. Her regency was entirely spent in acts of mercy and wisdom, and her discriminating acumen in the prisoners she liberated may be judged by the following list:—She liberated fully,—"all confined for breach of forest laws, who were accused of no further crime. All who were outlawed for the same she invited back to their homes and families. All who had been seized by the king's arbitrary commands, and were not accused by their hundred or county, she set free. But all malefactors accused on good and lawful evidence were to be kept in prison, without bail."

When we consider Eleanora going from city to city, examining thus into the wrongs of a government that had become arbitrary, and seeing justice done to the lowest, we are apt to think that her imprisonment had improved her disposition. The queen-regent next ordained that "every freeman of the whole kingdom should swear that he would bear faith to his lord, Richard, son of king Henry and queen Eleanora, for the preservation of life, limbs, and terrene honor, as his liege lord, against all living; and that he would be obedient to his laws, and assist him in the preservation of peace and justice." [This is the first oath of allegiance ever taken in England to an uncrowned king.]

Eleanora showed so little distaste to the Winchester palace, that she returned thither, after her justiciary progress, to await the arrival of her son from the coast of Normandy. It appears that king Richard, when he gave commands for his mother's release, ordered her castellan, the keeper of the treasure-vault at Winchester, Ranulph de Glanville, to be thrown into a dungeon in Winchester castle, and loaded with fetters weighing a thousand pounds. [Tyrrell, to whose most learned and indefatigable research the elucidation of many dark passages of Eleanora's life is owing.]

Our ancient chroniclers, when laboring to reconcile the prophecies of Merlin with the events of English history, while hunting after the impossible, very often start some particulars which would otherwise have slept shrouded in the dust of the grave. Thus, speaking of the liberation of Eleanora of Aquitaine by her son, Richard I., Matthew Paris says she is designated, by Merlin's sentence, Aquila rupti foederis tertia nidificatione gaudebit; the destructive eagle shall rejoice in her third nestling.—"Eleanora," pursues Matthew, "is the eagle, for she spreads her wings over two nations, England and Aquitaine; also, by reason of her excessive beauty, she destroyed or injured nations. She was separated from the king of France by reason of consanguinity, and from the king of England by divorce upon suspicion, and kept in close confinement. She rejoiced in her third nestling, since Richard, her third son, honored her with all reverence after releasing her from prison." If Matthew would imply that Henry confined Eleanora for impropriety of conduct, he is not supported by other authors.

King Richard I, landed at Portsmouth, August 12, 1189. Three days after, he arrived at his mother's court at Winchester, where his first care was directed to his father's treasure. After he had conferred with his mother, he ordered before him Ranulph de Glanville, who gave him so good an account of the secrets of the Winchester treasure-vault that he set him at liberty, and ever after treated him with confidence. Either Ranulph de Glanville had behaved to the queen, when his prisoner, with all possible respect, or Eleanora was of a very magnanimous disposition, and forbore prejudicing her son against her late castellan. Glanville gave up to the king the enormous sum of nine hundred thousand pounds, besides valuable jewels. At his first seizure, only 100,000 marks were found in the treasure-vault, which, it seems, possessed some intricacies only known to Glanville. [Hoveden. Brompton. Tyrrell. Paris, The singular employment of warlike barons as justiciaries, and the combination of the offices of general and of lawyer in one man, are strange features in the Norman and Angevin domination in England. This Ranulph de Glanville is an instance; he was Henry's great general, who defeated and took prisoner William the Lion of Scotland; but he is only known to our gentlemen of the bar as the author of "Glanville's Institutes,"—this steel-clad baron being the first who reduced the laws of England to a written code. To make the contrast with modern times still stronger, the great legalist died crusading, having, either to please Occur de Lion, or to atone for his sins both as lawyer and general, taken up the cross, for the purpose of battling "Mahoun and Termagaunt."] The king's next care was to settle the revenue of the mother he so passionately loved, and whose wrongs he had so fiercely resented. Her dower was rendered equal to those of the queens Matilda Atheling and Matilda of Boulogne.

Richard returned to England with the full intention of immediately joining the crusade, now warmly preached throughout Christendom. In furtherance of this cherished purpose, preparations were instantly made for his early coronation, which took place on the 3d of September, 1189, three weeks only after he reached the shores of his future kingdom. As the etiquette of the queen-mother's recent widowhood prevented her from sharing in this splendid festival, all women were forbidden to be present at its celebration. The chroniclers declare that Richard issued a proclamation the day before, debarring all women [Hoveden. Brompton. M. Paris. The last says, all women of bad character.] and Jews from entering the precincts of Westminster abbey at the time of his inauguration,—a classification of persons greatly impugning the gallantry of the lion-hearted king, when we remember the odium attached to the name of a Jew. The Provencal alliance had produced a prodigious influx of this usurious race into England. As they enjoyed high privileges in the hereditary dominions of queen Eleanora, they supposed they were secure under her son's government. Believing money would buy a place everywhere, they flocked to the abbey, bearing a rich present; but the populace set upon them and slaughtered them, being excited to a religious mania by the preaching of the crusade. The massacre of these unfortunate money-brokers was not perpetrated with the connivance of either king Richard or the queen-mother, since Brompton expressly declares that the ringleaders were, by the king's orders, tried and put to death. Alice, the long-betrothed bride of Richard, was neither married nor crowned. On the contrary, she was committed to the same species of restraint, by the orders of the queen, in which she herself had been so long captive. The princess Alice had been twenty-two years without leaving England; and as she was the only person on whom Eleanora retaliated any part of her wrongs, the inference must be drawn that she considered Alice as the cause of them.

Eleanora departed for Aquitaine as soon as her son had settled her English dower, and Richard embarked at Dover, for Calais, to join the crusade, taking with him but ten ships from the English ports. His troops were disembarked, and he marched across France to his mother's dominions, where he formally resigned to her the power he had exercised, during his father's lifetime, as her deputy. Richard appointed the rendezvous of the crusade at Messina, and directing his mother to meet him there, he set sail from Marseilles for Sicily; while Eleanora undertook a journey to Navarre, to claim for him the hand of Berengaria, the daughter of king Sancho.

Richard had much to effect at Messina before he commenced the crusade. Before he struck a blow for Christendom he was obliged to right the wrongs of his sister, Joanna, queen of Sicily, the youngest daughter of Eleanora and Henry II. William the Good, through the recommendations of Peter of Blois (who had formerly been his tutor), became the husband of Joanna Plantagenet. The Sicilian ambassador granted Joanna an immense dower; but when the aged bridegroom found that his young queen was still more beautiful and sweet-tempered than her father's chaplain Peter had set forth, he greatly augmented her jointure. The king of Sicily died childless, leaving his young widow immense riches in his will. King Tancred robbed her of these, and of her dower; and, to prevent her complaints, enclosed her in prison at Messina. It was this outrage Richard hastened there to redress. But the list of goods the fair widow directed her brother to claim of Tancred could surely have only existed in a catalogue of Aladdin's household furniture:—an arm chair of solid gold; [Hoveden and Vinisauf; likewise Piers of Langtoft; who mentions many other curious articles.] footstools of gold; a table twelve feet long, with trestles of gold; besides urns and vases of the same precious metal. These reasonable demands were enforced by the arm of the mighty Richard, who was as obstinate and wilful as Achilles himself.

Tancred deserves pity, when we consider the extraordinary nature of the bequests of his predecessor. However, he compounded for dower and legacy, at last, with the enormous payment of 40,000 ounces of gold. This treasure, with the royal widow herself, was consigned to Richard forthwith. Thus was a companion provided for Richard's expected bride, the elegant and refined Berengaria, who, under the conduct of Eleanora of Aquitaine, was daily expected. Richard was so well pleased with the restoration of his sister and her treasures, that he asked Tancred's daughter in marriage for his then acknowledged heir, Arthur of Bretagne. [The documents pertaining to this contract prove that Arthur was then considered by his uncle as the heir of England.—Foedera, vol. i.]

During this negotiation Eleanora arrived in Messina, [See the succeeding biography.] bringing with her the long-beloved Berengaria. Although years had elapsed since Eleanora had seen her daughter Joanna, she tarried but four days in her company, and then sailed for Rome. There is reason to suppose that her errand was to settle a dispute which had arisen between king Richard and his half-brother Geoffrey, the son of Rosamond, whom the king had appointed archbishop of York according to his father's dying request, but had required an enormous sum from the revenues of the archbishopric. [Rapin, vol. i. 248.] Queen Eleanora returned to England [Speed, 518.] with her friend the archbishop of Rouen; he was soon after appointed its governor, in place of Longchamp, who had convulsed the country by his follies.

We have seen Eleanora taken from captivity by her son Richard and invested with the high authority of queen-regent: there is no reason to suppose that that authority was revoked; for, in every emergency during the king's absence, she appears as the guiding power. For this purpose she absented herself from Aquitaine, whose government she placed in the hands of a deputy, her grandson Otho of Saxony; [Tyrrell.] and at the end of the reign of Coeur de Lion we find her, according to the words of Matthew Paris, "governing England with great wisdom and popularity," Queen Eleanora, when thus arduously engaged in watching over the interests of her best-beloved son, was approaching her seventieth year,—an age when rest is imperiously demanded by the human frame. But years of toil still remained before her ere death closed her weary pilgrimage in 1204; and these years were laden with sorrows, which drew from her that pathetic alteration of the regal style, preserved in one of her letters to the pope on occasion of the captivity of Coeur de Lion, where she declares herself—

"Eleanora, [Peter of Blois's Epistles.] by the wrath of God queen of England."

Not only in this instance, but in several others, traits of the subdued spirit of Eleanora are to be discovered; for the extreme nobility of her spirits diffused itself even over the cold records of state. When swayed by calmer feelings, she styles herself "AElienora, by the grace of God, humbly queen of England." [Rymer, vol. i.]

Eleanora of Aquitaine is among the very few women who have atoned for an ill-spent youth by a wise and benevolent old age. As a sovereign, she ranks among the greatest of female rulers. [To prevent repetition, the rest of her life is comprehended in the memoirs of her daughters-in-law, Berengaria and Isabella.]

Berengaria of Navarre.

Queen-Consort of Richard I.

Mutual attachment of Berengaria and Richard—Berengaria's descent—Berengaria demanded in marriage—Travels with queen Eleanora—Waits with her, at Brindisi—Is consigned to queen Joanna—Queen Eleanora's regency—Redeems, as her queen-gold, the cup of the monks of Bury—Embarks for Palestine—Berengaria lands in a storm at Cyprus—Nuptials at Cyprus—Costume of queen Berengaria—Crowned queen of England and Cyprus—Berengaria sails for Palestine—Received by king Philip at Acre—Her residence there—Berengaria embarks with Joanna—Richard shipwrecked—Imprisoned—Berengaria at Rome—The queens escorted by count Raymond St. Gilles—Queen Joanna married to him—Misfortunes of king Richard—Eleanora's regency—Her letter to the pope—She again redeems the gold cup of the monks of Bury—Berengaria resigns the captive Cypriot—Berengaria's brother—Queen-mother returns with Richard to England—She remits her queen-gold a third time to the monks of Bury—Berengaria forsaken—Richard's penitence—Berengaria's goodness—Follows Richard to war—Devoted love—King's death—Death of queen Joanna—Berengaria's dower—Her pecuniary troubles—Builds abbey of Espan—Resides there—Dies there—Buried—Effigy—Character.

Berengaria, the beautiful daughter of Sancho the Wise, king of Navarre, was first seen by Richard Coeur de Lion, when count of Poitou, [See the preceding biography.] at a grand tournament given by her gallant brother at Pampeluna, her native city. Richard was then captivated by the beauty of Berengaria, but his engagement to the fair and frail Alice of France prevented him from offering her his hand. Berengaria may be considered a Provencal princess by language and education, though she was Spanish by descent. Her mighty sire, Sancho the Wise, had for his immediate ancestor Sancho the Great, called the emperor of all Spain, although he inherited but the little kingdom of Navarre. He married Beatrice, daughter to Alphonso king of Castile, by whom he had three children,—Berengaria, Blanche, and one son, Sancho, surnamed 'the Strong,' a hero celebrated by the Provencal poets for his gallant exploits against the Moors; for he defeated the Miramolin, and broke with his battle-axe [Atlas Historique.] the chains that guarded the camp of the infidel, which chains were afterwards transferred to the armorial bearings of Navarre.

An ardent friendship had subsisted, from boyhood, between Richard and Sancho the Strong, the gallant brother of Berengaria. A similarity of pursuits strengthened the intimacy of Richard with the royal family of Navarre. The father and brother of Berengaria were celebrated for their skill and judgment in Provencal poetry. [Chronicle of Navarre.] Berengaria was herself a learned princess; and Richard, who was not only a troubadour poet, but, as acting sovereign of Aquitaine, was the prince and judge of all troubadours, became naturally drawn into close bonds of amity with a family whose tastes and pursuits were similar to his own.

No one can marvel that the love of the ardent Richard should be strengthened when he met the beautiful, the cultivated, and virtuous Berengaria in the familiar intercourse which sprang from his friendship with her gallant brother; [Richard and his nephew, the troubadour count of Champagne, who afterwards married Blanche, the younger sister of Berengaria, were, with Sancho the Strong, on the most intimate terms of friendship, being fratres jurati, or sworn brothers, according to a custom of the chivalric ages.] but a long and secret engagement, replete with "hope deferred," was the fate of Richard the Lion-hearted and the fair flower of Navarre.

Our early historians first mention the attachment of Richard and Berengaria about the year 1177. If we take that event for a datum, even allowing the princess to have been very young when she attracted the love of Richard, she must have been twenty-six, at least, before the death of his father placed him at liberty to demand her hand. Richard had another motive for his extreme desire for this alliance; he considered that his beloved mother, queen Eleanora, was deeply indebted to king Sancho, the father of Berengaria, because he had pleaded her cause with Henry II., and obtained some amelioration of her imprisonment.

Soon after Richard ascended the English throne, he sent his mother, queen Eleanora, to the court of her friend Sancho the Wise, to demand the princess Berengaria in marriage; "for," says Vinisauf, "he had long loved the elegant girl." Sancho the Wise not only received the proposition with joy, but intrusted Berengaria to the care of queen Eleanora. The royal ladies travelled from the court of Navarre together, across Italy to Naples, [Roger of Wendover, Dr. Giles's translation; vol. ii. p. 95. He says queen Eleanora crossed "Mount Janus and the plains of Italy with Berengaria."] where they found the ships belonging to Eleanora had arrived in the bay. But etiquette forbade Berengaria to approach her lover till he was free from the claims of Alice; therefore she sojourned with queen Eleanora at Brindisi, in the spring of 1191, waiting the message from king Richard, announcing that he was free to receive the hand of the princess of Navarre.

It was at Messina that the question of the engagement between the princess Alice and the king of England was debated with Philip Augustus, her brother; and more than once, the potentates assembled for the crusade expected that the forces of France and England would be called into action, to decide the right of king Richard to give his hand to another lady than the sister of the king of France. The rhymes of Piers of Langtoft recapitulate these events with brevity and quaintness:—

"Then spake king Philip, and in grief said,
'My sister Alice is now forsaken,

Since one, of more riches, of Navarre hast thou taken.'
When king Richard understood what king Philip had sworn,
Before clergy he stood, and proved on that morn,
That Alice to his father a child had borne,
Which his sire king Henry held for his own:
A maiden-child it was, and now dead it is.
'This was a great trespass, and against mine own witte
If I Alice take.'"

King Philip contended that Richard held in hand his sister's dower, the good city of Gisors. Upon this, the king of England brought the matter to a conclusion, in these words:

"'Now,' said king Richard, 'that menace may not be,
For thou shalt have ward of Gisors thy citee,
And treasure ilk a deal.'

Richard yielded him his right, his treasure and his town,
Before witness at sight (of clerk and eke baron).
His sister he might marry, wherever God might like,
And, to make certainty, Richard a quittance took."

The French contemporary chroniclers, who are exceedingly indignant at the repudiation of their princess, attribute it solely to Eleanora's influence. Bernard, the treasurer, says, "The old queen could not endure that Richard should espouse Alice, but demanded the sister of the king of Navarre for a wife for her son. At this the king; of Navarre was right joyful, and she travelled with queen Eleanora to Messina. When she arrived, Richard was absent; but queen Joanna was there, preparing herself to embark next day. The queen of England could not tarry, but said to Joanna,—'Fair daughter, take this damsel for me to the king your brother, and tell him I command him to espouse her speedily.'" [Bernard le Tresorier.] Piers of Langtoft resumes:—

"She beleft Berengere,
At Richard's costage,

Queen Joanne held her dear;
They lived as doves in cage."

Eleanora commenced her journey to Italy, where she had a conference with pope Celestine, at the castle of Radulphi. [Her letter to pope Celestine.—Epistles of Peter of Blois, cxlvi.] The aged queen took upon herself the cares of regency for her son Richard. She was in England very soon after his marriage with Berengaria was made public, for she there claimed her share of queen-gold in the fines or aid contributed by the feudal tenants of the crown on account of that marriage; which fact the following anecdote will authenticate. The monks of Bury contrived to dispense with their share of the payment.; for, pleading scarcity of coin, they sent in, to make up their aid to the king's marriage, a cup of gold, worth one hundred marks, which Henry II. had given to the shrine of Edmund, martyr and king. The queen-regent Eleanora recognized the cup, and taking it from the heap of treasure sent into the royal treasury, she said, "I claim this as my portion, being my queen-gold. It was given to the monks of Bury by Henry, my late lord; and I give it back to them, on condition that they pray for me and for his soul with increased fervency." [Chronicle of Josceline of Brakelonde, monk of Bury St. Edmunds.]

At the arrival of Berengaria in Sicily, king Richard and king Tancred were absent on a pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Agatha, at Catania, where Tancred must have devoutly prayed for the riddance of his guest. Richard here presented the Sicilian king with a famous sword, pretending it was Caliburn, the brand of king Arthur, lately found at Glastonbury during his father's antiquarian researches for the tomb of that king. Richard then embarked in his favorite galley, named by him
'Trenc-the-mere.' [Literally, meaning cut-the-sea. It is Piers of Langtoft who preserves the name of this vessel.] He had previously, in honor of his betrothment, instituted an order of twenty-four knights, who pledged themselves in a fraternity with the king to scale the walls of Acre; and that they might be known in the storming of that city, the king appointed them to wear a blue band of leather on the left leg, from which they were called 'knights of the Blue Thong.' [Hoveden. Sir Egerton Bridges names Roger St. John as one of these early knights of the Garter. St. George was the tutelary saint of Aquitaine; his name was the war-cry of the dukedom. King Richard had a vision of St. George when he undertook the crusade, and many indications throughout the chroniclers show that St. George was considered the patron-saint of the expedition.]

The season of Lent prevented the immediate marriage of Richard and his betrothed; and, as etiquette did not permit the unwedded maiden Berengaria to embark in the Trenc-the-mere under the immediate protection of her lover, she sailed, in company with queen Joanna, in one of the strongest ships, under the care of a brave knight, called Stephen de Turnham. After these arrangements, Richard led the van of the fleet in the Trenc-the-mere, bearing a huge lantern at her poop to rally the fleet in the darkness of night. Thus, with a hundred and fifty ships and fifty galleys, and accompanied by his bride and his sister, did lion-hearted Richard hoist sail for Palestine, where Philip Augustus had already indolently commenced the siege of Acre.

"Syrian virgins wail and weep,
English Richard ploughs the deep."

But we must turn a deaf ear to the bewitching metre of polished verse, and quote details taken by Piers of Langtoft from the Provencal comrade of Richard and Berengaria's crusade voyage:—

"Till king Richard be forward he may have no rest,
Acres then is his tryste upon Saracen fiends, (1)
To venge Jesu Christ hitherward he wends.
The king's sister Joanne, and lady Berengare,
Foremost sailed of ilk one; next them his chancellor,
Roger Mancel. The chancellor so hight,
His tide fell not well; a tempest on him light,
His ship was down borne, himself there to die;
The king's seal was lost, with other gallies tway.
Lady Joanna she the Lord Jesu besought,
In Cyprus she might be to haven quickly brought:
The maiden Berengare, she was sore afright,
That neither far nor near, her king rode in sight."

(1) [Fiend means 'enemy' in German, and doubtless in Anglo-Saxon.]

Queen Joanna was alarmed for herself, but the maiden Berengaria only thought of Richard's safety. Bernard, the treasurer, does not allow that Joanna was quite so much frightened. We translate his words:—"Queen Joanna's galley sheltered in the harbor of Limoussa, when Isaac, the lord of Cyprus, sent two boats, and demanded if the queen would land? She declined the offer, saying, 'All she wanted was to know whether the king of England had passed?' They replied, 'They did not know.' At that juncture Isaac approached with a great power; upon which the chevaliers who guarded the royal ladies got the galley in order, to be rowed out of the harbor at the first indication of hostility. Meantime Isaac, who saw Berengaria on board, demanded 'What damsel that was with them?' They declared, 'She was the sister of the king of Navarre, whom the king of England's mother had brought for him to espouse.' Isaac seemed so angry at this intelligence that Stephen do Turnham gave signal to heave up the anchor, and the queen's galley rowed with all speed into the offing." [Guizot's edition of Bernard le Tresorier.]

When the gale had somewhat abated, king Richard, after mustering his navy, found not only that the ship was missing wherein were drowned both the chancellor of England and the great seal, but the galley that bore the precious freight of his sister and his bride. He immediately sailed from a friendly Cretan harbor in search of his lost ships. When arrived off Cyprus, he entered the bay of Famagusta, and beheld the galley that contained his princesses laboring heavily and tossing in the offing. He became infuriated with the thought that some wrong had been offered to them, and leaped, armed as he was, into the first boat that could be prepared. His anger increased on learning that the queen's galley had put into the harbor in the storm, but had been driven inhospitably from shelter by the threats of the Greek despot. [Vinisauf and Piers Laugtuft. 'Despot' was a title given to the petty Greek potentates.]

At the time of Richard's landing, Isaac and all his islanders were busily employed in plundering the wreck of the chancellor's ship and two English transports, then stranded on the Cypriot shore. As this self-styled emperor, though in behavior worse than a pagan, professed to be a Christian, Richard, at his first landing, sent him a civil message, suggesting the propriety of leaving off plundering his wrecks. To this Isaac returned an impertinent answer, saying, "That whatever goods the sea threw on his island he should take, without asking leave of any one."

"They shall be bought full dear, by Jesu, heaven's king!"

With this saying, Richard, battle-axe in hand, led his crusaders so boldly to the rescue that the mock emperor and his Cypriots scampered into Limoussa, the capital of the island, much faster than they had left it. Freed from the presence of the inhospitable despot, king Richard made signals for Joanna's galley to enter the harbor. Berengaria, half dead with fatigue and terror, was welcomed on shore by the conquering king, when, says the chronicler, "there was joy and love enow."

As soon as Isaac Comnenus was safe behind the walls of his citadel, he sent a message to request a conference with king Richard, who expected that he had a little lowered the despot's pride; but when they met, Isaac was so full of vaporing and boasting, that he elicited from his illustrious auditor an aside in English; and as Coeur de Lion then uttered the only words in our language he ever was known to speak, it is well they have been recorded by chronicle:—"Ha, de debil!" exclaimed king Richard; "he speke like a fole Breton." [Piers of Langtoft. This speech implied no offence to the English, but was meant as a reproach to the Bretons, who are to this day proverbial in France for their wilfulness. Besides, Richard was bitter against the Bretons, who deprived him of the society of his then acknowledged heir, Arthur, their young duke.—Vinisauf.]

As Isaac and Richard could not come to any terms of pacification, the despot retreated to a stronghold in a neighboring mountain; while Richard, after making a speech to the Londoners (we hope in more choice English than the above), instigating them to the storm of the Cypriot capital with promise of plunder, led them on to the attack, axe in hand. The Londoners easily captured Limoussa.

Directly the coast was clear of Isaac and his myrmidons, magnificent preparations were made at Limoussa for the nuptials and coronation of king Richard and Berengaria. We are able to describe the appearance made by these royal personages at this high solemnity. King Richard's costume, we may suppose, varied little from that in which he gave audience to the despot Isaac a day after the marriage had taken place. [Vinisauf.] "A satin tunic of rose-color was belted round his waist; his mantle was of striped silver tissue, brocaded with silver half-moons; his sword, of fine Damascus steel, had a hilt of gold, and a silver-scaled sheath; on his head he wore a scarlet bonnet, brocaded in gold with figures of animals. He bore a truncheon in his hand. His Spanish steed was led before him, saddled and bitted with gold, and the saddle was inlaid with precious stones; two little golden lions were fixed on it, in the place of a crupper: they were figured with their paws raised, in act to strike each other. In this attire," Vinisauf adds, "Richard, who had yellow curls, a bright complexion, and a figure like Mars himself, appeared a perfect model of military and manly grace."

The effigy of queen Berengaria, at Espan, certainly presents her as a bride,—a circumstance which is ascertained by the flowing tresses, royal matrons always wearing their hair covered, or else closely braided. Her hair is parted, a la vierge, on the brow; a transparent veil, open on each side like the Spanish mantillas, hangs behind, and covers the rich tresses at their length: the veil is confined by a regal diadem, of peculiar splendor, studded with several bands of gems, and surmounted by fleurs-de-lis, to which so much foliage is added as to give it the appearance of a double crown,—perhaps because she was crowned queen of Cyprus as well as England. Our antiquaries affirm that the peculiar character of Berengaria's elegant but singular style of beauty brings conviction to every
one who looks on her effigy that it is a carefully finished portrait. [See portrait.]

At his marriage, king Richard proclaimed a grand feast.

"To Limoussa the lady was led, his feast the king did cry,
Berengere will be wed, and sojourn thereby,
The third day of the feast, bishop Bernard of Bayonne
Renewed oft the geste, to the queen he gave the crown."

[May 12th: Howe's Chronicle, p. 194.]

"And there, in the joyous month of May, 1191," says an ancient writer, "in the flourishing and spacious isle of Cyprus, celebrated as the very abode of the goddess of love, did king Richard solemnly take to wife his beloved lady Berengaria." By the consent of the Cypriots, wearied of Isaac's tyranny, and by the advice of the allied crusaders who came to assist at his nuptials, Richard was crowned king of Cyprus, and his bride, queen of England and Cyprus.

Soon after, the fair heiress of Cyprus, daughter to the despot Isaac, came and threw herself at the feet of Richard. "Lord king," she said, "have mercy on me!" when the king courteously put forth his hand to lift her from the ground, and sent her to his wife and his sister Joanna. As many historical scandals are afloat respecting the Cypriot princess, implying that Richard, captivated by the distressed beauty, from that moment forsook his queen, it is well to observe the words of an eye-witness, [The Provencal metrical historian, who is the guide of Piers of Langtoft.] who declares "that Richard sent the lady directly to his queen, from whom she never parted till after their return to Europe." The surrender of the Cypriot princess was followed by the capture of her father, whom the king of England bound in silver chains, richly gilt, and presented to queen Berengaria as her captive. [Isaac afterwards entered among the Templars, and died in their order. Richard presented his island to Guy de Lusignan, his friend, as a compensation for the loss of Jerusalem. This dethronement of Isaac and the captivity of his daughter was the origin of Richard's imprisonment in Germany, as we shall presently see.]

After the conclusion of the nuptials and coronation of Berengaria, her royal bridegroom once more hoisted his flag on his good galley Trenc-the-mere, and set sail, in beautiful summer weather, for Palestine. Berengaria and her sister-in-law again embarked under the protection of sir Stephen de Turnham, such escort being safer than companionship with the warlike Richard. [The king's arrival was delayed by a naval battle with a rich Saracen argosy, which he captured with great plunder. The manoeuvres of the Trenc-the-mere are thus described by the Provencal; likewise the casting of the Greek fire:—

"The king's own galley, he called it Trenc-the-mere;
It was first under weigh, and came that ship full near,
Who threw her buckets out. The galley to her drew,
The king stood full stout, and many of them slew,
Though wild fire they cast."]

Their galley made the port of Acre before the Trenc-the-mere. "On their arrival at Acre, though," says Bernard le Tresorier, "it was very grievous to the king of France to know that Richard was married to any other than his sister; yet he received Berengaria with great courtesy, taking her in his arms, and lifting her on shore himself from the boat to the beach." Richard appeared before Acre on the long bright day of St. Barnabas, when the whole allied army, elated by the naval victory he had won by the way, marched to the beach to welcome their champion. "The earth shook with footsteps of the Christians, and the sound of their shouts."

When Acre was taken, Richard established his queen and sister safely there. They remained at Acre with the Cypriot princess during the whole of the Syrian campaign, under the care of Richard's castellans, Bertrand de Verdun and Stephen de Munchenis. To the left of the mosque at Acre are the ruins of a palace, called to this day 'king Richard's palace:' [Dr. Clarke's Travels. The tradition is that Richard built the palace; but he had no time for any such work. The architecture is Saracenic, and it was doubtless a palace of the resident emir of Acre.] this was doubtless the abode of Berengaria. There is not a more pleasant spot in history than the tender friendship of Berengaria and Joanna, who formed an attachment amidst the perils and terrors of storm and siege, ending only with their lives. [Madame Cottin, in her celebrated but florid romance of Mathilde, has some faint idea that a sister of Richard's shared his crusade with Berengaria; but neither that lady nor sir Walter Scott seem aware which princess of England was the person.] How quaintly, yet expressively, is their gentle and feminine love for each other marked by the sweet simplicity of the words,—

"They held each other dear,
And lived as doves in cage!"

noting, at the same time, the harem-like seclusion in which the royal ladies dwelt while sharing the crusade campaign. It was from the citadel of Acre that Richard tore down the banner of Leopold archduke of Austria, who, by alliance with the family of the Comneni, was related to the Cypriot lady. Her captivity was the real matter of dispute, as the scandals which connected her name with that of king Richard seemed to touch the honor of the house of Austria.

We have little space to dwell on Richard's deeds of romantic valor in Palestine, on the capture of Ascalon, or the battle of Jaffa, before which city was killed Richard's good steed, named Fanuelle, whose feats in battle are nearly as much celebrated by the troubadours as those of his master. [By some called Favelle, probably Flavel, meaning yellow-colored. Vinisauf declares this peerless charger was taken among the spoils of Cyprus, with another named Lyard. The cavaliers in ancient times named their steeds from their color, as Bayard, bay-color; Lyard, gray; Fervaunt, black as iron; Flavel, yellow, or very light sorrel.]After the death of Fanuelle, Richard was obliged to fight on foot. The courteous Saladin, who saw him thus battling, was shocked that so accomplished a cavalier should be dismounted, and sent him, as a present, a magnificent Arab charger. Richard had the precaution to order one of his knights to mount the charger first. The headstrong beast no sooner found a stranger on his back, than he took the bit between his teeth, and, refusing all control, galloped back to his own quarters, carrying the Christian knight into the midst of Saladin's camp. If king Richard had ridden the wilful animal, he would, in like manner, have been at the mercy of the Saracens. Saladin was so much ashamed of the misbehavior of his present that he could scarcely look up while he apologized to the Christian knight, for it appeared as if he had laid a trap for the liberty of king Richard. He sent back the knight mounted on a more manageable steed, on which Richard rode to the end of the campaign. [Chronicle of Bernard Tresorier.]

King Richard, during his Syrian campaign, was once within sight of Jerusalem, but never took it. While his queen Berengaria sojourned at Acre, an incident befell him, of which De Joinville, the companion in arms of St. Louis, has thus preserved the memory:—In those times, when Hugh Duke of Burgundy [Philip Augustus and the duke of Austria decamped from the crusade at Cesarea. Hugh of Burgundy commanded the remnant of the French forces.] and king Richard of England were abiding at Acre, they received intelligence that they might take Jerusalem if they chose, for its garrison had gone to the assistance of Damascus. They accordingly marched towards the holy city, the English king's battalions leading the way, while Burgundy's force brought up the rear. But when Richard drew near to Jerusalem, intelligence was brought him that the duke of Burgundy had turned back with his division, out of pure envy, that it might not be said that the king of England had taken Jerusalem. As these tidings were being discussed, one of the English knights cried out,—'Sire, sire only come hither, and I will show you Jerusalem.' But the king, throwing down his weapons, said, with tears in his eyes and hands uplifted to heaven,—'Ah, Lord God! I pray thee that I may never see thy holy city Jerusalem since things thus happen, and since I cannot deliver it from the hands of thine enemies!' Richard could do nothing more than return to his queen and sister at Acre.

"You must know that this king Richard performed such deeds of prowess when he was in the Holy Land that the Saracens, on seeing their horses frightened at a shadow or a bush, cried out to them, 'What! dost think Melec-Ric is there?' This they were accustomed to say from the many times he had vanquished them. In like manner, when the children of Turks or Saracens cried, their mothers said to them, 'Hush, hush! or I will give you to king Richard;' and from the terror of these words the babes were instantly quiet." [Joinville's words are thus paraphrased by Dryden:—

"No more Sebastian's formidable name
Is longer used to still the crying babe."]

The final truce between Richard and Saladin was concluded in a fair flowery meadow [Piers Langtoft.] near Mount Tabor, where Richard was so much charmed with the gallant bearing of the 'prince of Miscreants,' as Saladin is civilly termed in the crusading treaties, that he declared he would rather be the friend of that brave and honest pagan than the ally of the crafty Philip or the brutal Leopold. It is a tradition, often cited in modern romance, but without historical foundation, that Richard offered the hand of his sister, queen Joanna, to Saladin's brother, Melee Adhel.

Richard I, Coeur de Lion
From an Ancient Painting in Westminster Hall.

The autumn of 1192 had commenced when king Richard concluded his peace with Saladin, and prepared to return, covered with fruitless glory, to his native dominions. A mysterious estrangement had, at this time, taken place between him and Berengaria; yet the chroniclers do not mention that any rival had supplanted the queen, but merely that accidents of war had divided him from her company. As for the Cypriot princess, if he were estranged from his queen, he must likewise have been separated from the fair captive, since she always remained with Berengaria. The king bade farewell to his queen and sister, and saw them embark the very evening of his own departure. The queens, accompanied by the Cypriot princess, sailed from Acre, under the care of Stephen de Turnham, September 29th. Richard meant to return by a different route across Europe. He travelled in the disguise of a Templar, and embarked in a ship belonging to the master of the Temple. This vessel was wrecked off the coast of Istria, which forced Richard to proceed homewards through the domains of his enemy, Leopold of Austria. To his ignorance of geography is attributed his near approach to Leopold's capital. After several narrow escapes, a page, sent by Richard to purchase provisions at a village near Vienna, was recognized by an officer who had made the late crusade with Leopold. The boy was seized, and, after enduring cruel torments, he confessed where he had left his master.

When Leopold received certain intelligence where Richard harbored, the inn was searched, but not a soul found there who bore any appearance of a king. "No," said the host, "there is no one here like him whom you seek, without he be the Templar in the kitchen, now turning the fowls which are roasting for dinner." The officers of Leopold took the hint and went into the kitchen, where, in fact, was seated a Templar very busy turning the spit. The Austrian chevalier, who had served in the crusade, knew him, and said quickly, "There he is: seize him!" Coeur de Lion started from the spit, and did battle for his liberty right valiantly, but was overborne by numbers. [Translated from Bernard le Tresorier.—Guizot's Chronicles.] The revengeful Leopold immediately imprisoned his gallant enemy, and immured him so closely in a Styrian castle called Tenebreuse, that for months no one knew whether the lion-hearted king was alive or dead. Richard, whose heroic name was the theme of admiration in Europe and the burden of every song, seemed vanished from the face of the earth.

Better fortune attended the vessel that bore the fair freight of the three royal ladies. Stephen de Turnham's galley arrived without accident at Naples, where Berengaria, Joanna, and the Cypriot princess landed safely, and, under the care of sir Stephen, journeyed to Rome. The Provencal traditions declare that here Berengaria first took the alarm that some disaster had happened to her lord, from seeing a belt of jewels offered for sale which she knew had been on his person when she parted from him. At Rome she likewise heard some vague reports of his shipwreck, and of the enmity of the emperor Henry VI. [Hoveden's Chronicle.]

Berengaria was detained at Rome, with the princesses her companions, by her fear of the emperor, for upwards of half a year. At length the pope, moved by her distress and earnest entreaties, sent them, under the care of messire Mellar, one of the cardinals, to Pisa, whence they proceeded to Genoa, where they took shipping to Marseilles. "At Marseilles Berengaria was met by her friend and kinsman the king of Arragon, who showed the royal ladies every mark of reverence, gave them safe-conduct through his Provencal domains, and sent them on, under the escort of the count de Sancto Egidio." This Egidio is doubtless the crusader Raymond count St. Gilles, who, travelling from Rome with a strong escort, offered his protection to the distressed queens of England and Sicily; and though his father, the count of Thoulouse, had during Richard's crusade invaded Guienne, and drawn on himself a severe chastisement from Berengaria's faithful brother, Sancho the Strong, yet the young count so well acquitted himself of his charge, that he won the affections of the fair widow, queen Joanna, on the journey. [Roger Hoveden, fol. 447.]The attachment of these lovers healed the enmity that had long subsisted between the house of Aquitaine and that of the counts of Thoulouse, on account of the superior claims of queen Eleanora on that great fief. When Eleanora found the love that subsisted between her youngest child and the heir of Thoulouse, she conciliated his father by giving up her rights to her daughter, and Berengaria had the satisfaction of seeing her two friends united after she arrived at Poitou. [Piers of Langtoft says that king Richard betrothed his sister to the heroic crusader St. Gilles in Palestine; an assertion contradicted by the enmity subsisting between the count, his father, and himself.]

Now queen Berengaria is left safely in her own dominions, it is time to return to her unfortunate lord, who seems to have been destined, by the malice of Leopold, to a life-long incarceration. The royal prisoner almost despaired of liberty when he wrote that pathetic passage in his well-known Provencal tenson, saying, "Now know I for a certainty that there exists for me neither friend nor parent; or, for the lack of gold and silver, I should not so long remain a prisoner." He scarcely did justice to his affectionate mother, who, directly she learned his captivity, never ceased exerting herself for his release. Without giving any credence to the ballad story of king Richard and the lion's heart, which solely seems to have arisen from a metaphorical epithet of the troubadour Peyrols, [In the beautiful crusade sirvente extant by Peyrols, he calls the king "lion-hearted Richard." Peyrols was his fellow-soldier.—Sismondi. The earliest chronicler who mentions the lion-legend is Rastall, the brother-in-law of sir Thomas More, who had no better means of knowing the truth than we have. Here are his quaint sayings on the subject: "It is said that a lyon was put to king Richard, being in prison, to have devoured him; and when the lyon was gaping, he put his arm in his mouth and pulled the lyon by the heart so hard that he slew the lyon, and therefore is called Coeur de Lyon; while others say he is culled Coeur de Lyon because of his boldness and hardy stomach."] and is not even alluded to by the most imaginative of contemporary chroniclers, it really appears that Richard was ill-treated during his German captivity. Matthew Paris declares he was thrown into a dungeon from whence no other man ever escaped with life, and was loaded with irons; yet his countenance was ever serene, and his conversation pleasant and facetious with the crowds of armed guards, who were stationed at his dungeon-door day and night. It was a long time before Richard's friends could with any certainty make out his locality. He was utterly lost for some months. Blondel, a troubadour knight and poet, who had been shipwrecked with him on the coast of Istria, and who had sought him through the cities of southern Germany, sang, beneath the tower Tenebreuse, in which he was confined, a tenson which Richard and he had composed together. Scarcely had he finished the first stanza, [Blondel's tenson is not preserved, but the poem Richard composed is still in the Bibliotheque Royale. There is no just reason for doubting this Provencal tradition of Blondel's agency in the discovery of Richard. Crescembini and most foreign historians authenticate it. The Penny Cyclopaedia (not very favorable to romance) looks on it as we do. In fact, it is consistent with the manners and customs of the era.] when Richard replied with the second. Blondel directly went to queen Eleanora, and gave her tidings of the existence of her son, and she took measures for his release.

The letters which Eleanora of Aquitaine addressed to pope Celestine on the subject of her son's captivity were penned by the royal secretary, Peter of Blois. [Letters of Peter of Blois, edited by Du Chesne.—Bib. du Roi, Paris.] Whether the composition emanated from Peter, or from his royal lady, is another question. There are many passages alluding with passionate penitence to her own former criminality, which no courtier dared to have indited; on the other hand, the numerous scriptural narratives and analogies indicate the ecclesiastic, while a tincture of pedantry, to say nothing of punning, speaks strongly of the professional scribe. The letters are written in Latin, but that language presented few difficulties to Eleanora, who could compose in Provencal, a dialect far more Latinized than French: likewise, she had been accustomed to the daily service of the church. The tenor of the epistles, the strain of self-condemnation, and the agonized maternity that runs through them, give the idea that they were written from her lips, or transcribed from passages which she had noted down. What scribe, for instance, would have presumed thus to express himself?—

"O Mother of mercy! look upon a wretched mother. If thy son, the fount of mercy, avenges the sins of the mother on the son, let him launch his vengeance on her who has sinned; let him punish me, the guilty, and not let his wrath diverge on my unoffending son. Me, miserable yet unpitied as I am! why have I, the queen of two kingdoms, survived to endure the wretchedness of calamitous old age? . . .

"The young king and the count of Bretagne sleep in the dust, while their hapless mother lives on, tortured with the remembrance of the dead. Two sons were left for my consolation, but now they only survive for my sorrow, condemned and miserable wretch that I am! Richard the king is in chains, while John wastes and devastates his cajDtive brother's realm with fire and sword. The Lord's hand is heavy upon me: truly his anger fights against me when my sons strive together, if that may be called a strife where one person languishes in prison, and his opponent, oh, grief of griefs! lawlessly usurps the unfortunate one's dominions."

The queen-mother here alludes to the strife raised by prince John. He had obtained his brother's leave to abide in England, on condition that he submitted to the government established there. Queen Eleanora had intended to fix her residence at Rouen, as a central situation between her own dominions and those of king Richard. But the confused state of affairs in England summoned her thither, February 11, 1192, She found John in open rebellion; for, stimulated by messages from Philip Augustus, offering him all Richard's continental provinces, and the hand of Alice, rejected by Richard, he aimed at nothing less than the English crown. The arrival of his mother curbed his turbulence: she told him to touch his brother's rights under peril of her curse; she forbade his disgraceful intention of allying himself with Alice; and, to render such mischievous project impossible, she left that princess in close confinement at Rouen, instead of delivering her to Philip Augustus, as king Richard had agreed,—so little truth is there in the common assertion that the worthless character of John might be attributed to the encouragement his vices received from his mother; but it was the doting affection of Henry II. for his youngest son that had this effect, as he was the child of his old age, and constantly near him, while the queen was kept in confinement at a distance from her family.

To proceed with Eleanora's letter. Her agonizing exclamations and self-reproaches are diversified by the scribe Peter with interpolations from Job and Jeremiah, and the penitential Psalms; yet an earnest vein of personality runs through the epistle, which is in many passages imbued with historical truth. Eleanora, when meditating on a journey to visit, or rather to search for, the prison of her son, thus expresses herself:—

"If I leave my son's dominions, invaded as they are on every side with enemies, they will, on my departure, lose all counsel and solace: if I remain, I shall not behold my son, whose face I long to see. There will be none to labor for his redemption, and, what I fear the most, he will be goaded for an exorbitant ransom; and unused as his generous youth is to such terrible calamities, he will not survive all he has to endure." [Letters of Peter of Blois, edited by Du Chesne.—Bib. du Roi, Paris.]

This remarkable letter then seems to enter into a strain of reproach against the pope, which has caused some surprise to those who are not imbued with the peculiar spirit of that age; but the object of Eleanora is clearly to excite the pope into asserting his spiritual power against the usurpations of the emperor and the house of Austria,—in short, the same quarrel which is as undecided in the nineteenth century as it was in 1192.

Eleanora invokes the thunders of the German pope Celestine against the German encroacher, and strives to pique him into becoming the advocate of her son:—

"Yet the prince of the apostles still fills the apostolic chair, and his judgment-seat is a place of resort; wherefore it remains that you, O holy father! draw against these injurious ones the sword of Peter, which is for this purpose set over people and kingdoms; for the cross of Christ excels the eagles of Caesar, the sword of Peter the weapon of Constantine, the apostolic see is above the imperial power. [Ibid. These are all axioms and sayings of the Guelphic party.] . . .

"Wherefore, then, do you leave my son in bonds, delaying negligently? or rather, is it that you dare not free him? . . . Woe for us when the shepherd dreads the wolf! leaving not only the lambs, but the elect leader [Richard, she thus reminds pope Celestine, was elected head of the crusade.] of the flock in the bloody fangs of the beast of prey."

After passionately reproaching Celestine for his abstinence from the thunders of excommunication, from interdicts, terrible sentences, and the whole arsenal of spiritual warfare, she reminds him of his promise "thrice to send legates, which never were sent,"—and here the genius of the age availed itself of a pun, which conceit must be attributed to Peter of Blois rather than to the agonized mother, for she was too much in earnest to play on the sound of Latin words, and say "that his messengers were tied, rather than speeded forward;" in short, that they were men in ligatures, rather than legates.

"If my son were prosperous, they would hasten at his summons, because they would expect bountiful largess from his generosity and the great revenues of his dominions. . . . Is this the promise you made me at the castle of Radulfi, [It will be remembered that Eleanora, on her voyage home from Messina, visited the pope, to adjust some disputes concerning the archbishopric of York.] with such protestations of aid and kindness? What availed it to feed my simplicity with mere words?"

The passionate penitence of Eleanora broke forth in the following exclamations, which, it will be allowed, were no flowers of her scribe's rhetoric:—

"Oh, Lord! to thee are the eyes of thy servant lifted up,—to thee: thou lookest on my grief. Lord of lords, and King of kings! consider the cause of thine Anointed; assert the empire of thine own. Son, and at the same time save the son of thine handmaid. Visit not on him the crimes of his father, or the iniquities of his mother!"

Again Eleanora struggles to awake the jealousy of the pope, whom she suspects of Ghibelline tendencies or German partiality, by representing the cruelty of the emperor Henry to churchmen. She acuses him of the assassination of the bishop of Liege, and of the imprisonment of several German and Italian prelates; also of taking possession of Sicily, which, since the time of Constantine, had ever been the patrimony of St. Peter:—

"Wo feel evil: we dread more," concludes the queen. "I am no prophetess, nor even a prophet's daughter; yet my sorrow foresees greater troubles for the future! That sorrow chokes the words I would utter: sobs impede my breath, and close up the vocal utterance which would further express the thoughts of my soul! Farewell."

By the abruptness of the conclusion, it is by no means improbable that the passion of grief, which had been excited by many passages in this letter, actually prevented the queen from further dictation to Peter of Blois, who availed himself of a circumstance, at once natural and interesting, for the conclusion of his transcript. Those who read the whole of the epistle will not wonder that a churchman, writing such an epistle to the head of his church, should shrink from adding one line, even the usual formula of conclusion, on his own responsibility.

Throughout the whole of this exordium historians can perceive that Eleanora, or her scribe, endeavors to put in strong antagonism the disputes then in their utmost virulence between the Guelphs and Ghibellines, or the party of the church, or Italy, against the emperor of Germany. She accuses the pope of politically temporizing with the might of Germany, and strives to pique him into the assertion of his spiritual power in behalf of her Richard, who was by alliance as well as principle an undoubted Guelphite, [The office of the princes of the house of Guelph, the most civilized and heroic among the German potentates, was to defend, by their occupation of southern Germany, Italy, and the city of the pontiff, against the incursions of the barbarian Germans. When the German empire became Christian, the warlike Guelphs did not lose their party; they defended the spiritual independence of the pope against the temporal power of the empire,—a quarrel, although carried on by other champions, not quite decided at the present day. The explanation of the party terms, Guelph and its antithesis Ghibelline, is thus very simple; but without such comprehension, Eleanora's reproaches of the popo seem without aim or meaning,—nay, common sense would lead the reader to suppose that the queen, by her scornful abuse, must have made an irreconcilable enemy of the pope. Eleanora, however, well knew her tactics: she knew that pope Celestinc dared not be identified with the Ghibelline or Germanic party against the freedom of the church.] or supporter of the church against all temporal despotism,—excepting his own. Queen Eleanora summoned her favorite grandson, Otho of Guelph, the representative of that heroic line, and withal her deputy in Aquitaine, to the aid of his uncle Richard; and he hastened, nothing loath, to the German congress, that he might give Coeur do Lion the aid of his formidable name, and the sanction of his great office as hereditary guardian of the liberties of the church.

When queen Eleanora and the chief justiciary ascertained the place in which Richard was detained, they sent two abbots to confer with him in Germany. They met him, with his guards, on the road to Worms, where a diet of the empire was soon to be held, and wore received by him with his usual spirit and animation. He inquired into the state of his friends, his subjects, and his dominions, and particularly after the health of the king of Scotland, on whose honor, he said, he entirely relied; and certainly he was not deceived in his judgment of the character of that hero. On hearing of the base conduct of his brother John, he was shocked and looked grave; but presently recovering his cheerfulness, he said, with a smile, "My brother John was never made for conquering kingdoms!" [Hoveden.] Richard defended himself before the diet with eloquence and pathos that drew tears from most of his hearers; and the mediation of the princes of the empire induced the emperor to accept, as ransom, one hundred thousand marks of silver.

Romsey Abbey.
Sometime the abode of Matilda, Queen of Henry I.

Meantime, the ransom was collected in England, Normandy, and Aquitaine, to which queen Eleanora largely contributed. She again received a tithe of queen-gold to a large amount. She had taken one hundred marks out of every thousand raised for her son's marriage, and now she claimed the tenth of his ransom, although she certainly gave it, with much more, as her contribution towards his freedom. The monks of Bury, having obtained the restoration of their gold cup through her generosity, resolved to act the same part again, for they were amerced in the enormous sum of a thousand marks as their quota for Richard's ransom. As they had no money, they sent in the whole of their church plate in payment. Again it is recorded that Eleanora, the queen-regent, was personally superintending the registration of the money and valuables that came into the treasury of her son. "Now," pursues the Bury chronicler, "it was queen Eleanora's right, by the law of the land, to receive a hundred marks whensoever the king is paid a thousand. So she took up this gold cup and gave it back to us once more, for the benefit of the soul of her dear lord, king Henry II." [Chronicle of Joceline de Brakelonde.] The adventures of this gold cup (which are not yet concluded) offer the most practical illustration of the nature of the claims of the queens of England on the aurum reginae; yet discovered.

When the first instalment of king Richard's ransom was ready, his affectionate mother and the chief justiciary set out for Germany, a little before Christmas. She was accompanied by her grand-daughter Eleanora, surnamed 'the Pearl of Brittany.' This young princess was promised, by the ransom-treaty, in marriage; to the heir of Leopold of Austria. [The marriage-contract was afterwards broken.] The Cypriot princess was likewise taken from the keeping of queen Berengaria, on the demand of the emperor, and escorted by queen Eleanora to the German congress, where she was surrendered to her Austrian relatives.

It was owing to the exertions of the gallant Guelphic princes, his relations, that the actual liberation of Coeur de Lion was at last effected. Henry the Lion, duke of Saxony, [Her majesty queen Victoria is the representative of this great and generous prince; and at the same time, from his wife Matilda, eldest daughter of Henry II., derives a second direct descent from the house of Plantagenet.] and his sons, appeared before the diet, and pleaded the cause of the English hero with the most passionate eloquence; they pledged their credit for the payment of the remainder of his ransom, and actually left William of Winchester, the youngest Guelphic prince, in pawn with the emperor for the rest of the ransom. After an absence of four years, three months, and nine days, king Richard landed at Sandwich, in April, the Sunday after St, George's day, in company with his royal mother, who had the pleasure of surrendering to him his dominions, both insular and continental, without diminution.

Eleanora's detention of the princess Alice in Normandy had drawn on that country a fierce invasion from Philip Augustus, the result of which would have been doubtful if the tears of Berengaria, then newly arrived in Aquitaine, had not prevailed on her noble brother, Sancho the Strong, to traverse France with two hundred choice knights. By the valor of this hero, and his chivalric reinforcement, Normandy was delivered from the king of France. [Tyrrell.] Berengaria, during the imprisonment of her royal husband, lost her father, Sancho the Wise, king of Navarre, who died in 1194, [History of Navarre.] after a glorious reign of forty-four years.

After a second coronation, Richard went in progress throughout England, with his royal mother, to sit in judgment on those castellans who had betrayed their fortresses to his brother John: by the advice of his mother they were treated with much lenity. At all these councils queen Eleanora assisted him, being regarded with the utmost reverence, and sitting in state at his right hand. Probably in the same progress king Richard sold the manor of Mildenhall to the monks of Bury St. Edmund's. Queen Eleanora made a claim of her aurum reginae, or queen-gold, on the sum paid to her son. Once more the wily ecclesiastics, knowing the good service the gold cup of Henry II, had done for them, sent it in as part of payment, protesting their utter inability otherwise to make up the price. Queen Eleanora was present, for the purpose of asserting her claim on the tenth of the gold; but when she saw, for the third time, her old acquaintance the gold cup, she was somewhat disturbed in spirit, deeming that her generosity was played upon. It is true she redeemed the gift of her husband, but she required from the monks of Bury a solemn promise "that, for the time to come, the gold cup of Henry II. should be held sacred, and never again be set for sale or laid in pledge." [Josceline de Brakelonde.]

When the king, in the course of his progress, arrived in Normandy, queen Eleanora introduced into his chamber prince John, who knelt at his royal brother's feet for pardon. Richard raised him, with this magnanimous expression:—"I forgive you, John; and I wish I could as easily forget your offence as you will my pardon."

King Richard finished his progress by residing some months in his Angevin territories. Although he was in the vicinity of the loving and faithful Berengaria, he did not return to her society. The reason of this estrangement was, that the king had renewed his connection with a number of profligate and worthless associates, the companions of his long bachelorhood in his father's lifetime. His conduct at this time scandalized all his subjects, as he abandoned himself to habitual inebriety and degrading vices; for which various virtuous churchmen reproved him boldly, to their credit be it spoken. "The spring of 1195, Richard was hunting in one of his Norman forests, [Tyrrell, from a chronicle by Rigord. Maitre Rigord was originally a medical man; he was the contemporary of king Richard and king John. His chronicle is, we think, among those edited by Guizot.] when he was met by a hermit, who recognized him, and preached him a very eloquent sermon on his irregular life, finishing by prophesying that, unless he repented, his end and punishment were close at hand. The king answered slightingly, and went his way; but the Easter following he was seized with a most severe illness, which threatened to be fatal, when he remembered the saying of the hermit-prophet, and, greatly alarmed, began to repent of his sins." Richard sent for all the monks within ten miles round, and made public confession of his iniquities, vowing, withal, that if queen Bcrengaria would forgive him, he would send for her, and never forsake her again. When he recovered, these good resolutions were strengthened by an interview he had with an English bishop.

When Richard first parted from the queen, he quarrelled with the virtuous St. Hugh, bishop of Lincoln, on the old ground of exacting a simoniacal tribute on the installation of the prelate into his see. Willing to evade the direct charge of selling the see, king Richard intimated that a present of a fur mantle, worth a thousand marks, might be the composition. St. Hugh said he was no judge of such gauds, and therefore sent the king a thousand marks, declaring, if he would devour the revenue devoted to the poor, he must have his wilful way. Richard pocketed the money, but some time after sent for the fur mantle. St. Hugh set out for Normandy, to remonstrate with the king on this double extortion. His friends anticipated that he would be killed; but St. Hugh said, "I fear him not," and boldly entered the chapel where Richard was at mass, when the following scene took place. "Give me the embrace of peace, my son," said St. Hugh. "That you have not deserved," replied the king. "Indeed I have," said St. Hugh, "for I have made a long journey on purpose to see my son." So saying, he took hold of the king's sleeve, and drew him on one side. Richard smiled, and embraced the old man. They withdrew to the recess behind the altar, and sat down. "In what state is your conscience?" asked the bishop. "Very easy," answered the king. "How can that be, my son," said the bishop, "when you live apart from your virtuous queen, and are faithless to her? when you devour the provision of the poor, and load your people with heavy exactions? Are these light transgressions, my son?" The king owned his faults, and promised amendment; and when he related this conversation to his courtiers, he added:—"Were all our prelates like Hugh of Lincoln, both king and barons must submit to their righteous rebukes!" [Benington.] Whether the interview with St. Hugh took place before or after the king's alarming illness, we have no data to declare; but as Richard was evidently in a tamer state when St. Hugh visited him than when he lawlessly demanded the fur mantle, we think the good bishop must have arrived opportunely, just as Richard was beginning to forget his sick-bed vows, without quite relapsing into his original recklessness.

The final restoration of Berengaria to the affections of her royal husband took place a few months after, when Richard proceeded to Poictiers, [Rigord, French Chron.] where he was reconciled to his queen, and kept Christmas and the new year of 1196 in that city with princely state and hospitality. It was a year of great scarcity and famine, and the beneficent queen exerted her restored influence over the heart of the king by persuading him to give all his superfluous money in bountiful alms to the poor, and through her goodness many were kept from perishing. From that time queen Berengaria and king Richard were never parted. She found it best to accompany him in all his campaigns, and we find her with him at the hour of his death. Higden, in the Poly-chronicon, gives this testimony to the love that Berengaria bore to Richard:—"The king took home to him his queen Berengaria, whose society he had for a long time neglected, though she were a royal, eloquent, and beauteous lady, and for his love had ventured with him through the world."

The same year the king, despairing of heirs by his consort, sent for young Arthur, duke of Bretagne, that the boy might be educated at his court as future king of England. His mother Constance, out of enmity to queen Eleanora, unwisely refused this request, and she finished her folly by declaring for the king of France, then waging a fierce war against Richard. This step cost her hapless child his inheritance, and finally his life. From this time Richard acknowledged his brother John as his heir. The remaining three years of Richard's life was spent in petty provincial wars with the king of France. In one of his treaties the princess Alice was at last surrendered to her brother, who gave her, with a tarnished reputation and the dowry of the county of Ponthieu, in marriage to the count of Aumerle, when she had arrived at her thirty-fifth year.

After the reconciliation between Richard and Berengaria, the royal revenues arising from the tin-mines in Cornwall [Rymer's Foedera.] and Devon, valued at two thousand marks per annum, were confirmed to the queen for her dower. Her continental dower was the whole county of Bigorre and the city of Mans.

It was the lively imagination of Richard, heated by the splendid fictions of Arabian romance, that hurried him to his end. A report was brought to him that a peasant, ploughing in the fields of Vidomar, lord of Chaluz, in Aquitaine, had struck upon a trap-door, which concealed an enchanted treasure; [Brompton. Newbury. Hemmingford, Wikes.]going down into a cave, he discovered several golden statues, with vases full of diamonds, all of which had been secured in the castle of Chaluz, for the private use of the sieur de Vidomar. Richard, when he heard this fine tale, sent to Vidomar, demanding, as sovereign of the country, his share of the golden statues. The poor castellan declared that no such treasure had been found; nothing but a pot of Roman coins had been discovered, and those he was welcome to have. As Richard had set his mind upon golden statues and vases of diamonds, and had thriven so well when he demanded the golden furniture from king Tancred, it was not probable he could lower his ideas to the reality stated by the unfortunate lord of Vidomar. Accordingly, he marched to besiege the castle, of Chaluz, sending word to Vidomar either to deliver the statues, or abide the storming of the castle. To this siege queen Berengaria certainly accompanied the king. Here Richard met his death, being pierced from the walls by an arrow from an arbalista, or cross-bow, aimed by the hand of Bertrand de Gordon. [We find the name of Gordon among the serventes of Bertrand de Born.] It was the unskilfulness of the surgeon, who mangled the king's shoulder in cutting out the arrow, joined to Richard's own wilfulness in neglecting the regimen of his physicians, that caused the mortification of a trifling wound and occasioned the death of a hero, who to many faults joined a redeeming generosity that showed itself in his last moments. After enduring great agony from his wound, as he drew near to death the castle of Chaluz was taken. He caused Bertrand de Gordon to be brought before him, and telling him he was dying, asked him whether he had discharged the fatal arrow with the intention of slaying him. "Yes, tyrant," replied Gordon; "for to you I owe the deaths of my father and my brother, and my first wish was to be revenged on you." Notwithstanding the boldness of this avowal, the dying king commanded Gordon to be set at liberty, and it was not his fault that his detestable mercenary general, the Fleming Marcade, caused him to be put to a cruel death.

Richard's death took place April 6, 1199. His queen unquestionably was with him when he died. [See Hemmingford.] She corroborated the testimony that he left his dominions, and two-thirds of his treasures, to his brother John. Richard appears to have borne some personal resemblance to his great-uncle, William Rufus. Like him, his hair and complexion were warm in color, and his eyes blue, and fiercely sparkling. Like Rufus, his strength was prodigious, but he had the advantage of a tall majestic figure. [Vinisauf.] There are some points of resemblance in character between Richard and his collateral ancestor, though Richard must be considered a more learned and elegant prince, and susceptible, withal, of more frequent impulses of generosity and penitence. They both seemed to have excelled in the same species of wit and lively repartee. At the time of king Richard's death, Matthew Paris declares queen Elcanora, his mother, was governing England, "where," adds that historian, "she was exceedingly respected and beloved."

Before the body of Coeur de Lion was committed to the grave, an additional load of anguish assailed the heart of his royal widow, through the calamities that befell Joanna, her friend, and Richard's favorite sister. The same species of persecution that afterwards visited Joanna's son, in the well-known war against the Albigenses, had already been incited against his father. Owing to the secret agitations of the Catholic clergy, the barons of Thoulouse were in arms against their sovereign Count Raymond. Queen Joanna, though in a state little consistent with such exertions, flew to arms for the relief of her adored lord. [Unfortunately, M. Micholet has given good historical proof, not only that queen Joanna was the fourth wife of count Raymond, but that all his other countesses were at that time alive. The low scale of morality on which Michelet places the potentates of the south of France need not be attributed to any of his prejudices against royalty, because he does better justice to the sovereigns of France at this era than any other modern French historian for two centuries.] We translate the following mournful passage from Guillaume de Puy-Laurens:—[Guizot's Chronicles, vol. xv. p. 219.]

"Queen Joanna was a woman of great courage, and was highly sensitive to the injuries of her husband. She laid siege to the castle of Casser, but, owing to the treachery of her attendants, her camp was fired; she escaped with difficulty from the burning tents, much scorched and hurt. Unsubdued by this accident, she hastened to lay her wrongs before her beloved brother, king Richard. She found he had just expired as she arrived. The pains of premature childbirth seized her as she heard the dire intelligence, and she sank under the double affliction of mental and corporeal agony. With her last breath she begged to be laid near her brother Richard." To Berengaria the request was made, and the cold remains of the royal brother and sister, the dearest objects of the sorrowing queen's affections, were laid, by her pious care, side by side, in the stately abbey of Fontevraud. [The description of Richard's statue has been given by Miss L. S. Costello in her charming work, entitled The Boccages and the Vines. It coincides well with the descriptions we have given of his person; from his contemporary Vinisauf.] The heart of Richard was bequeathed by him to be buried in the cathedral of Eouen, where it has lately been exhumed, in 1842. When the case was unclosed, the lion-heart was found entire, but withered to the consistency of a faded leaf. [This is from a most interesting description of the exhumation of Richard's heart by Mr. Albert Way, in vol. xxix. Archaeologia, p. 210; where may be found a copy of the inscription identifying it as the heart of Richard, and likewise an account of the discovery of a fine portrait-statue, raised by the men of Rouen to the memory of their beloved hero.]

The deaths of Richard and Joanna were immediately succeeded by that of Berengaria's only sister, Blanche. This princess had been given in marriage by Coeur de Lion to his nephew and friend, the troubadour prince Thibaut of Champagne. The princess Blanche died the day after the birth of a son, who afterwards was the heir both of Sancho and Berengaria, and finally king of Navarre. Thus, in the course of a few short weeks, was the queen of England bereft of all that were near and dear to her. The world had become a desert to Berengaria before she left it for a life of conventual seclusion.

Queen Berengaria fixed her residence at Mans, where she held a great part of her foreign dower. Here she founded the noble abbey of Espan. Once Berengaria left her widowed retirement, when she met her brother-in-law king John, and his fair young bride, at Chinon, her husband's treasure-city. Here she compounded with the English monarch for the dower she held in England, for two thousand marks per annum, to be paid half-yearly. After being entertained with royal magnificence, and receiving every mark of respect from the English court, the royal widow bade farewell to public splendor, and retired to conventual seclusion and the practice of constant charity. But no sooner was John firmly fixed on the English throne than he began to neglect the payment of the dower for which his sister-in-law had compounded; and, in 1206, there appears in the Foedera a passport for the queen-dowager to come to England for the purpose of conferring with king John. There exists no authority whereby we can prove that she arrived in this country; [Rymer's Foedera, vol. i. page 152. These passports, or safe-conducts, occur very frequently in this collection, for the benefit of persons who never used them.] but in 1207 the pope awarded her half the personal goods of her husband.

The records of 1209 present a most elaborate epistle from pope Innocent, setting forth the wrongs and wants of his dear daughter in Christ, Berengaria, who, he says, had appealed to him "with floods of tears streaming down her cheeks, and with audible cries,"—which we trust were flowers of rhetoric of the pope's secretary. As pope Innocent threatens John with an interdict, it is pretty certain that the wrongs of Berengaria formed a clause in the subsequent excommunication of the felon king. Bale, in his coarse comedy of king Jehan (of which king John is the very shabby hero), bestows a liberal portion of reviling on Bercngaria, because she was the cause of the papal interdict in that reign; but this abuse is levelled at her under the name of queen Juliana. What connection there was between the queen of Coeur de-Lion and the name of Juliana is difficult to ascertain, excepting that the cathedral of her city of Mans is dedicated to St. Julian, and when she retired from the world, she might have renounced her mundane appellation, and become the name-daughter of the patron saint of her city. However, Bale, who was an historical antiquary, is certainly correct in the cause of the interdict, which arose from the non-payment of Berengaria's dower. By the theological speeches he puts into the mouth of king John, he seems aware of his studies of Arian, and of the Mahometan tendencies of the princes and nobles of the south of France.

In 1214, when the excommunication was taken off, there exists a letter from John to "his dear sister, the illustrious Berengaria, praying that the pope's nuncio might arbitrate what was due to her." The next year brings a piteous letter from John, praying that his dearly beloved sister will excuse his delay of payment, seeing the "greatness of his adversity by reason of the wickedness of his magnates and barons," [Michelet, in his Hist. of France, has given the most luminous information relative to the cause of the civil wars which raged there for more than a century.] who had invited prince Louis of France to spoii her estates; "but when," says king John, "these clouds that have overcast our serenity shall disperse, and our kingdom be full of joyful tranquillity, then the pecuniary debt owed to our clear sister shall be paid joyfully and thankfully." This precious epistle was penned July 8, 1216, by John; but ho died the succeeding October, and Berengaria's debt was added to the vast sum of his other trespasses, for "joyful tranquillity" never came for him, nor of course her time of payment.

King John being deprived of the duchy of Normandy, Berengaria was forced to petition Philip Augustus, king of France, concerning her rights of dower there; as the widow of his late feudatory, she was given the county of Maine in compensation. A singular circumstance proves that Berengaria exercised sovereignty over this province. In the year 1216 she presided in person, as countess of Maine, August 23d, being the eve of St. Bartholomew, as judge of a duel which took place between two champions; one defending the honor of a demoiselle, the other, who was the brother of the poor girl, having assailed her reputation in order to claim her portion. [L'Art de Verifier les Dates, tome xiii. p. 102; from Courvoissier.] The result of this interesting appeal of battle we are unable to relate.

In the reign of Henry III. Berengaria had again to require the pope's assistance for the payment of her annuity. Her arrears at that time amounted to 4040l. sterling; but the Templars became guarantees and agents for her payments, and from that time the pecuniary troubles of Berengaria cease to form a feature in our national records. The letters of Berengaria, claiming her arrears of dower from Henry III., are probably from her own pen, as they are in a very different style from those of her ecclesiastical scribe, previously quoted. Contrary to the assumption of royalty perpetually insisted on by her arrogant sister-in-law Isabella, the dowager of John, Berengaria speaks of her exaltation as a matter passed by, and terms herself "the humble queen of England." Addressing herself to the bishop, Peter de Eoche, chancellor during Henry III's minority, Berengaria says:—

"To our venerable father in Christ, and most cordial Mend, Peter, by God's grace bishop of Winchester, Berengaria, by the same grace formerly the humble queen of England, wishes health and every good thing.

"We send to you our well-beloved friar Walter, of the Cistercian order, the bearer of these presents, beseeching you humbly and devotedly, with all the humility that we can, that in reference to this present feast of all Saints (as well as to other terms now past), you will cause us to be satisfied about the money due to us according to the composition of our dower, which by your mediation we made with our brother John, of happy memory, formerly king of England. Fare you well!"

The English regency had the jointures of two queen-dowagers to pay, and certainly too much trouble was not taken to satisfy either. Again friar Walter was despatched, in 1225, to receive the dues of his royal mistress, and was the bearer of another epistle, this time addressed to the young king from his aunt:—

"To her lord and dearest nephew, by God's grace the illustrious king of England, lord of Ireland, duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and earl of Anjou. Berengaria, by the same grace formerly the humble queen of England, wishes health and prosperous success to his utmost desires.

"We requested you by our letters-patent sent to you by friar Walter, de persona, our chaplain of the Cistercian order, that you would send to us by the said friar Walter and master Simon, our clerks, 1000 marks sterling, which you owe us at this feast of All Saints, [All-Saints'-day is the 1st of November, which it would have been before a letter dated at Mans, October 25th, could reach England.] according to the composition of our dowry solemnly drawn out between us and you. But since the said master Simon, being detained by sickness, cannot come over to you, we send in his stead our servant Martin, the bearer of these presents, earnestly requesting you to send us the thousand marks by the said friar Walter and by this Martin, or by one of them, if by any chance impediment both of them cannot come to you. In testimony of which we send you our present letters-patent.

"Given at Mans, the Sunday next before the feast of the apostles Simon and Jude, in the month of October, in the year of our Lord 1225." [Close Rolls.]

Henry III. ordered his treasurer and chamberlains to deliver from his treasury to friar Walter, chaplain to queen Berengaria, and to Martin her servant, one thousand marks, which he owed to her at the term of the Ascension of our Lord. [Ibid.] The date of Berengaria's death has generally been fixed about the year 1230, but that was only the year of the completion of her abbey of Espan, and of her final retirement from the world; as from that time she took up her abode within, its walls, and finished there her blameless life, at an advanced age, some years afterwards. In the High street of Mans is an antique and curious structure, embellished with bas-reliefs: the people of the city call it, to this day, queen Berengaria's house or palace. The name is older than the building itself, which is of the architecture of the fifteenth century. Berengaria's dower-palace assuredly stood on the site of this house.

Berengaria was interred in her own stately abbey. The following most interesting particulars of her monument we transcribe from the noble work of the late Mr. Stothard, edited by his accomplished widow, now Mrs. Bray. "When Mr. Stothard visited the abbey of Espan, near Mans, in search of the effigy of Berengaria, he found the church converted into a barn, and the object of his inquiry in a mutilated state, concealed under a quantity of wheat. It was in excellent preservation, with the exception of the left arm. By the effigy were lying the bones of the queen, the silent witnesses of the sacrilegious demolition of the tomb. After some search, a portion of the arm belonging to the statue was recovered." Three men, who had assisted in the work of destruction stated "that the monument, with the figure upon it, stood in the centre of the aisle, at the east end of the church; that there was no coffin within it, but a small square box, containing bones, pieces of linen, some stuff embroidered with gold, and a slate, on which was found an inscription." The slate was found in possession of a canon of the church of St. Julian, at Mans: upon it was engraven an inscription, of which the following is a translation;—"The tomb of the most serene Berengaria, queen of England, the noble founder of this monastery, was restored and removed to this more sacred place. In it were deposited the bones which were found in the ancient sepulchre, on the 27th May, in the year of our Lord 1672." The sides of the tomb are ornamented with deep quatrefoils. The efffigy which was upon it is in high relief. It represents the queen with her hair unconfined, but partly concealed by the cover-chief, over which is placed an elegant crown. Her mantle is fastened by a narrow band crossing her breast; a large fermail, or brooch, richly set with stones, confines her tunic at the neck. To an ornamental girdle, which encircles her waist, is attached a small aumoniere, or purse. This greatly resembles a modern reticule, with a chain and clasped top. "The queen holds in her hand a book, singular from the circumstance of its having embossed on the cover a second, representation of herself, as lying on a bier, with waxen torches burning in candlesticks on either side of her."

From early youth to her grave Berengaria manifested devoted love for Richard. Uncomplaining when deserted by him, forgiving when he returned, and faithful to his memory unto death, the royal Berengaria, queen of England, though never in England, little deserves to be forgotten by any admirer of feminine and conjugal virtue.




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