Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

I not only give you your life, but also my friendship for

Pray for me, that God may pardon me the sin of

ever.

my heart."

“ What does a traitorous servant merit, who has dared to gain the favour of my daughter ?” asked the angry Charlemagne to his assembled counsellors. All were silent as death. Then the young secretary, Eginhard, son of Ingilmer, an Austrasian lord, who had perished fighting for Charlemagne, whose widow, Alpaide, had presented her son, when five months old, to the emperor, stepped forward, weeping, and replied, “ The traitor has broken his faith ; away with him to the scaffold.” This was the culprit, and the vengeance of the magnanimous kind-hearted emperor was disarmed.

“ Bold man,” said he, "a tyrant would have sent you to the scaffold, zum Rabenstein ; but you shall be the husband of my daughter.”] The same spirit was evinced by his unhappy son on his sorrowful bed of death, when he had for a long time refused all food but the blessed Eucharist : “Alas !" said he, speaking of his undutiful son, “he makes my

old
age

descend with sorrow to the grave; but for all that, I forgive him. Say to him, however, that God punishes ungrateful children.”

At the siege of Sainte Suzanne, as the Normans were about to attack the enemy, a young man, who was concealed in a thicket, let fly an arrow which mortally wounded Richer de l'Aigle, son of Engenoul. His companions rushed forward, seized the youth, were going to kill him, but Richer dying protected him, and cried out as loud as he was able, “For the love of God, let him

go;

it is in this way that I ought to die for the expiation of my sins.” The murderer was allowed to escape; the knight confessed his sins to his companions, and died before they had reached the city. His body was carried to a certain convent of monks, built by his father, Engenoul, on his estates, and there, to the great sorrow of his relations and

· The story of Emma carrying Eginhard across the snow rests on the authority of the Chronique de Saint Vaudrille, in the twelfth century. It was by making a particular kind of cake which Charlemagne loved, that Emma discovered herself to him, when he came to her cabin, where she lived in banishment; and the name of Seligenstadt was given to the place in consequence. Eginhard takes no notice of Emma in his Life of Charlemagne ; but the annals of the convents of Seligenstadt and Lorsch give this account.

was

friends, he was buried by the venerable Gilbert, Bishop of Evreux. What a contrast to witness the death of the amiable Germanicus, calling upon his friends to remember his injuries, and they swearing,

dextram morientis contingentes, spiritum antequam ultionem amissuros !"2

But knights were not content with forgiving their own enemies. It was their duty also to reconcile other men, and to promote peace between those who were at enmity. Thus the Emperor Otho IV. reconciled Eccelino II. da Romano and Azzo VI. Marquis of Este, the chiefs of the two factions of Guelph and Ghibelline, whose mutual enmity had been lately exasperated by an unsuccessful attempt of the marquis to assassinate his rival. The emperor laboured in person to restore the ancient friendship of these two nobles, and he succeeded. King Louis IX. continually labouring to promote peace between his subjects. His personal exertion prevented a combat between Hugue Comte de la Marche and the Vicomte de Limoges. He sent the most able of his ministers into Burgundy, to reconcile the Comte de Chalons and the Comte de Bourgogne, who were at war. He had the happiness of succeeding. He also reconciled them to Thibaut V., King of Navarre. The Comte Thibaut de Bar had taken prisoner the Comte de Luxembourg, in a combat near Pigney ; Louis despatched his chamberlain Perron, in whom he chiefly confided, who contrived completely to reconcile these two enemies. A cruel division had long subsisted between the Dampierres and the Avenés, children of Marguerite, Countess of Flanders. Louis had laboured with all imaginable diligence to put an end to this, and he at length succeeded. The religious monarch had the happiness also of reconciling the Comte d'Anjou with the Comtesse dowager of Provence. The ministers of the pacific king "le reprenoient aucune fois,” says Joinville, “de ce qu'il prenoit si grande peine à appaiser les étrangers. C'étoit, à leur avis, tres-mal faire que de ne pas les laisser guerroyer, parce que les appointemens s'en feroient

;'

” but Louis, always guided by the maxims of the Gospel, replied with Jesus Christ, “Blessed are the peace-makers." King Richard I., when in Palestine, had

mieux apres

1 Orderic. Vital. viii.

2 Tacitus, Ann, ii. 71.

reconciled, by his personal exertions, the Genoese and the Pisans. That chivalrous king, Louis le Gros, as a religious duty, not only was reconciled to Thibaud, Count of Blois and Champagne, but he also succeeded in reconciling Thibaud with Raoul, Count of Vermandois. When the quarrel between Humbert, Seigneur de Rougemont, and John de Blaisy, who had imprisoned him, which had divided all Burgundy, was left to the arbitration of Philip le Hardi, Duc de Bourgogne, the duke decided that Jean de Blaisy should go to prison for one day in the house of the Seigneur Leray, the friend of Humbert, and that then the two knights should drink together in his presence and be friends. Richard Duke of Normandy reconciled Arnoul of Flanders with Hugues Capet. William of Jumiège says, that whenever Richard heard of men living at variance, he re-established peace between them, according to the words of Scripture, “ Blessed are the feet of those who bring peace.” Louis XII., when Duke of Orleans, playing at tennis, Anne de Beaujeu decided a disputed point against him ; which so enraged him, that he said “qu'elle en avoit menti.” “Ha ! mon cousin,” said the princess to René, Duke of Lorraine,“ do you suffer me to be thus insulted ?” René made no reply, but gave the Duke of Orleans a blow. The other princes separated and appeased them. There is not a single example in all the records of chivalry of any instigators and exciters of combat till we reach the period when men had abandoned the faith, without being able to return to the feelings and magnanimity of nature. In 1063, William, Duke of Normandy, passing into Bretagne, reconciled two princes, brothers, Alain and Yves, who contended for the cities of Dol and Saint Malo. « Comme ils étoient pres de combattre, le Duc Guillaume se trouva au lieu où les armées étoient assemblées, et séparant leurs gens, comme un pasteur ses brebis, mit en accord ses deux cousins sans effusion de sang.” Geoffroy de Ville-hardouin, mareschal of Champagne, who wrote the History of the Conquest of Constantinople, together with Manasses de l'Isle, one of the most valiant knights of the French army, succeeded in reconciling the Marquis de Montferrat and the Emperor Baldwin, after they had proceeded to an

I Lib. iv. c. 19.

open breach, and this with great difficulty; for Geoffroy says that he had to reprove the marquis “mult durement." Thus, again, Joinville reconciled two of his squires, declaring that he would not disembark till he had made them friends. The Duke of Burgundy ran up to the King of France just as the Sire de la Tremoille and the Sire de Courtenay were running at each other, and by his entreaties the duel was stopped. When Canute met Magnus in the forest, and asked him why he was armed, -for, in embracing him, he felt the iron under his dress of a minstrel, -he replied, “ To destroy the goods of a man who has injured me." It was while poor Canute was condemning such an intention, and also representing the additional crime of harbouring it at such a holy time, for it was the feast of the Three Kings, that Magnus fell upon him, and thrust a weapon through his body. In the sixteenth century, the Marquis Fabio Albergati of Bologna wrote a treatise on the manner of appeasing private enmities, which had great reputation. Let it be remembered, that even the heroes of heathen chivalry often endeavoured to reconcile enemies. Scipio did all he could to prevent the duel between Corbis and Orsua. Æneas reconciles Dares and Entellus ;and with what affecting eloquence does Nestor address himself for this purpose to Achilles and Agamemnon!

'Ατρείδη, συ δε παύε τεόν μένος" αυτάρ έγωγε

λίσσομ' 'Αχιλλήϊ μεθέμεν χόλον. And how well might a Christian warrior adopt the resolution and even the

very words of Patroclus, when he said σπεύσομαι δ' εις 'Αχιλλήα, τίς δ' οίδ' ει κεν οί, συν δαίμονι, θυμόν έρίνω

παρειπών; αγαθή δε παραίφασίς έστιν εταίρου. XII. The humble hope which chivalry reposed in divine protection, and the disposition to look upon all happiness and power as the gift of God, must not be passed

Raymon Muntaner, who was a rough and ignorant warrior of Valencia, begins his Chronicle by declaring, that, of all the men in the world, he is most bound to render so

over.

| Trattato del Modo di ridurre a Pace le Inimicizie private. Roma, 1583; Bergamo, 1587.

2 Æneid. v. 461.

lemn thanks to God, and to the whole heavenly court, for the wonderful protection he has experienced in the thirtytwo battles by land and sea which he has fought, and amidst the imprisonments and labours which he has undergone. The heroes of Romance have the same sentiments. “There is no kynght lyvinge now, that ought to kenne God soo grete thanke as ye,” said the friend of Sir Launcelot, "for he hath geven yow beaute, semelynes, and grete strengthe above all other knyghtes, and therfor ye are the more beholdyng unto God than any other man to love hym and drede hym; for your strength and manhode wille lytel avaylle yow, and God be ageynste yow." Thenne Sir Launcelot sayd, “Now I knowe wel ye saye me sothe;" and his usual cry was, “ Jhesu, be thou

my

sheld and myn armour.” Froissart relates of the English after the battle of Cressy, “this night they thanked God for their good adventure, and made no boast thereof; for the kynge wolde that no man shulde be proude, or make boost, but every man humbly to thanke God:” and the brave knight who writes the history, remarks upon the delivery of Ghent, “ that it was by the grace of God, but that the captains were so proude thereof that God was displeased with theym, and that was well sene ere the yere passed, as ye shall her after in this storie, to gyve ensample to all people.” The same lesson is inculcated in that beautiful romance of Sir Isambras, which is familiar to the reader of Ellis's Specimens of Early English Metrical Romances, work which would be read with unmixed pleasure, if it were not for the too sarcastic vein which pervades the commentary of the author. Memorable are the words which Alphonso, King of Arragon and Sicily, addressed to his son, who was to march against the Florentines at the head of a great army. “The principal advice which I give you is, that you must reckon less upon your courage

and the intrepidity of your soldiers, than on the assistance of Almighty God. Believe me, my son, it is not the ability of a general, nor the docility of his troops, but it is the will of God which gives victory.” This was similar to the speech of the Black Prince before the battle of Poitiers.

Now, sirs, though we be but a small company as in regard to the puissance of our enemyes, let us not be abashed therefor; for the vyctorie lyeth not in the multitude of

« PoprzedniaDalej »