Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

terram ? Defecit caro mea et cor meum: Deus cordis mei, et pars mea Deus in æternum.” “ Thenne,” said Bors," hit is more than

yere and an half that I ne lay ten tymes where men dwelled, but in wylde forestes and in mountains, but God was ever my comforte *.' Saint Louis having been baptized in the castle at Poissy would bear that name, and be called Louis of Poissy, and thus he signed his letters and dispatches, esteeming this title more glorious than that of King of France; and St. Augustin speaking of the Emperor Theodosius says,

66 that he accounted himself more happy in being a member of the Church than emperor of the world.” Observe the exact and perfect loyalty with which God was served. After the captivity of the King Saint Louis, when the treaty was concluded by which he was to be delivered, the Sarassins prescribed an oath, which the King was to use in swearing to fulfil the conditions. The form was as follows : “ qu'au cas qu'il ne tint pas les choses promises, il fut reputé parjure, comme le Chrétien qui a renie Dieu, son bapteme et sa loi, et qui en dépit de Dieu, crache sur la croix et l'escache à ses pieds.” When the King, says Joinville, heard this oath,

il dit qui ja ne le feroit-il.” In vain did his friends and enemies unite against this resolution. He was reminded that it would cause not only his own death, but also that of all his friends. “ Je vous aime," said he to the lords and prelates who remonstrated with him, “ Je vous aime comme mes freres; je m'aime aussi ; MAIS A DIEU NE PLAISE, QUOI QU'IL EN PUISSE ARRIVER, QUE DE TELLES PAROLES SORTENT JAMAIS DE LA BOUCHE D’un ROI DE FRANCE." “ Pour vous," he added, in addressing the Sarassin Minister, "allez dire à vos maitres qu'ils en peuvent faire à leurs volontés; que j'aime trop mieux mourir bon Chrétien, que de vivre aux courroux de Dieu de sa mere et ses saints.” The Emirs, distracted with rage and disappointment, rushed into his tent with their naked swords, crying out, “ You are our prisoner, and yet you treat us as if we were in irons; there is no medium, eit death or the oath as we have drawn it."

“ Dieu vous a rendus maitres de mon corps,” replied the invincible Louis, “ mais mon ame est entre ses mains ; vous ne pouvez rien

* Morte d'Arthur, lib. xvii. c. 19.

sur elle.” The King prevailed, and the infidels relinquished their resolution of requiring the oath on those terms.

Gauthier de Brienne, being made prisoner by the infidels, at the battle of Gaza, was led by them before Jaffa, which they hoped to enter by a cruel stratagem; he was fastened to a cross and exposed to the view of the garrison, and threatened with death if resistance continued ; but he exhorted the garrison to hold out to the last. “ It is your duty,” he cried, “ to defend a Christian city; it is mine to die for you and for Jesus Christ *.” After the fatal battle in Hungary when the Turks had defeated the Christian army and had taken prisoners the valiant troop of French knights led by the Mareschal de Boucicaut and the Comte de Nevers, those brave and noble gentlemen were brought before Bajazet, who received them in his tent. “La estoit grand pitié,” says the old historian, “ à veoir ces nobles seigneurs, jeunes jouvenceaux, de si hault sang commi de la noble lignée royale de France amener liez de cordes estroitement tous desarmez en leurs petits pourpoints par ces chiens Sarrasins, laids et horribles, qui les tenoient durement devant ce tyran ennemy de la foy qui la seoit.” All but the Comte de Nevers and the Mareschal de Boucicaut were led out to martyrdom ; they were horribly cut with great knives on the head, and breast, and shoulders, and so were all butchered in cold blood. To be thus faithful to God was the constant lesson impressed upon youth.“ Sit tibi quoque Jesus semper in corde et nunquam imago crucifixi ab animo tuo recedat t.” Guilhem des Amatries, a gentle. man of Provence, begins one of his poems with a prayer, “God of my hope, my strength and only virtue, grant that I may never be opposed to thy pure and holy law, especially in times of danger, when a tempting enemy shall counsel me to forsake virtue." Gilles de Rome says in his Miroir, that the Knight and Prince “ doibt considerer toutes ses cuvres ou actions, et toutes ses affections, intentions, et meditations affin qu'il ne ayt rien latent qui offense la divine majeste ne courouce.” And King Perce. forest says to his knights, that he learned from Pergamon the ancient hermit, that God deserves our love," pour l'amour qu'il a en nous et non pas pour necessité qu'il ayt de nous.” It appeared on the trial of the Duc d'Alençon in the reign of Charles VII, that this Prince had sent a servant to Italy, to ask a certain celebrated hermit how he should act to gain the good graces of the king. The holy man returned answer, “ Let the Duc d'Alençon first of all gain the good grace of God and then he will have that of all the world.” Adam Davy had reason therefore to say,

* Michaud Hist. des Crociades, iv. 37. † S. Bernard. formula honestæ vitæ.

How gode men in olde tyme
Loveden God almight
That weren riche, of grete valoure
Kynges sonnes and Emperoure

Of bodies strong and light. This was the first precept of chivalrous education. The "Instruction d'un jeune Prince," by the celebrated George Chatelain, counsellor of Philip le Bon and Charles le Hardi of Burgundy, is divided into eight books. The first inculcates the love of God; the second, the love of his people; the third, the love of justice; the fourth, the good choice of ministers; the fifth, the punishment of the guilty ; the sixth, the folly of unjust wars; the seventh is on finance and economy; the eighth on chivalry. “ The fear of God,” says Busching, " and love were the main pillars of noble chivalry *.” In the “ Wise King," Maximilian is placed by his father under“ a highly-learned master of virtuous spiritual life, who instructs him in Latin, from whom he learns the discipline and fear of God.” “ The true point of honour,” says La Colombiere in his “ Theatre d'Honneur et de Chevalerie,"

on which our renown must depend, is the being a good man; and that is the true natural honour; and as for that which is acquired, it consists, like the first, in loving and fearing God, and in not imagining any honour which is not in His honour, which is the commencement of all wisdom, to serve his king faithfully, to obey the laws, and to fight bravely for him and for his country; to follow truth, reason, justice, and equity; to love and assist his neighbour; to protect widows and orphans; to succour the poor

and oppressed ; to obey rulers, whether ecclesiastical, or mili

* Ritterzeit and Ritterwesen.

tary, or civil; and in all his actions to evince that probity, that generosity, that virtue, the price and recompense of which is true honour, and it is useless to seek its identical point any where else. And if we wish to rise still higher above these precepts, we must imitate Jesus Christ our Saviour in forgiving our enemies, and then we shall possess not only the true temporal honour, but also that which is heavenly and eternal.” Such is the doctrine also of that great work, “La Toison d'Or," composed by the Bishop of Tournay, Chancellor of the Order of the Golden Fleece, dedicated to the high and mighty Prince, Charles Duke of Burgundy, containing a vast multitude of examples of chivalrous virtue, of magnanimity, confidence in other men, justice, innocence, friendship, pity, humility, obedience, discretion, hospitality, alms, liberality, truth, and faith : this great work was drawn up for the instruction of the knights of that illustrious order. The Bishop, indeed, speaks too much of Jason and of the virtue of the “jeunes princes et nobles, chevaliers de Grece, lesquels Stacius le poëthe pour la vertu de la proesse, et vaillance appelle demy Dieux," since Philip the Good declared that the “ Toison d'Or” was suggested to him by Gideon, and not by Jason, " who had broken his faith.” In a similar spirit, the great Alcuin composed his " Treatise on Virtue and Vice" for the instruction of Count Gui, a noble warrior, and the Abbot Smaragde, in the tenth century, his Via Regia” teaching the truths of salvation to princes. Another book, written with this view, is the “ Songe du Vieux Pelerin,” by Philip de Maizieres, who, after being Secretary to Pope Gregory XI. then Chancellor to the King of Cyprus, and intimate counsellor of King Charles V. of France, retired to the monastery of the Celestines at Paris, where he died at the end of the fourteenth century.

The Livre du Chevalier de la Tour, abounding with religious instruction, was written by the Seigneur de la Tour Laudry, of an ancient and illustrious house in Anjou and Maine. A conceited critic of the court of Louis XIV. says, " that this book is a proof that country gentlemen, four hundred years ago, were of most exact probity, and scrupulously attached to good old principles, but that their books did more honour to their hearts than to their knowledge and ability.” “ The royal and noble

dignity," says Gilles de Rome, in his Mirror of Chivalrous Virtue, “ arises from the fear of God.” He even goes so far as to say, “ L'honneur mondain n'est moult a desirer ains est a despriser—mais honneur qui est a garder est honneur deu a l'ame, par lequel chascun bon homme est en grant soing de garder son ame attendant en icelle l'ymage de Dieu par dignite specialle et le pris de sa redemption, le loyer de retribution. Et a grant instance en oraisons, en soupirs, gemissements, et en larmes, et sans cesser de crier à Dieu, que nous puissons parvenir a icelluy merite." Children, he says, should be taught “ les sacramens de l'Eglise, de Dieu aymer et de toutes choses qui appartiennent a la foy.--Et avant ce qu'ils avant prins autre impression de la mondanite en leurs pensees." To instruct youths in these principles, there was also a book “ De Nobilitate Christiana,” by the Portuguese Bishop of Sylves, in the Algarves, a treatise “ De Ingenuis Moribus,” by Peter Paul Vergerio, who flourished at Padua in the eleventh century, which became so famous that it was publicly lectured upon in the schools, and the Dialogue on Nobility, by Tasso. All these will shew, that the fear and love of God were the basis of chivalry. Indeed, the distinction which Joinville has recorded between the preuhomme and the preudhomme, will prove in a striking manner the opinion of the chivalrous age, that a deep sense of religion was essential to a true knight. He is describing the character of Hugues, duc de Bourgoigne : “ Il fut moult bon chevalier de sa main, et chevallereux. Mais il ne fut oncques tenu à saige, ne à Dieu, ne au monde. Et bien y apparut en ses faitz devant dictz. Et de lui dist le grant Roy Philippe, quant il scent que le Conte Jehan de Chalons avoit eu ung filz qui avoit nom Hugues : Dieu le vueille faire preuhomme, et preudomme. Car grant difference disoit estre entre preuhomme et preudomme, et que maint chevalier y avoit entre les Chrestiens et entre les Sarrazins, qui estoient assez preux, maiz ilz n'estoient pas preudommes. Car ilz ne craignoient ne amoient Dieu aucunement. Et disoit, que grant grace faisoit Dieu à ung chevalier, quant il avoit ce bien, que par ses faitz il estoit appellé preuhomme et preudomme. Mais celui, dont nous avons dit cy-devant, povoit bien estre appellé preuhomme, par ce qu'il estoit

« PoprzedniaDalej »