Page images

As soon as he was gone, Pembroke put himself at the head of his forces, and marched to Cashel, in order to attack Cork. A large body of his troops, however, was surprised at Ossory, on its march to join him, and was nearly cut to pieces by the enemy; and about the same time tidings reached the Earl that armies were gathering to oppose him in every quarter. Pembroke was enabled to effect a hasty retreat to Waterford; but, almost the whole of Ireland had already risen in arms against the English power. Chieftain after chieftain marched to attack him in the place where he had sought refuge ; and Roderick, King of Connaught, raising a large force, entered Meath, which had been left unprotected. Hugh de Lacy having gone over to England to support the party of his own sovereign against the rebels, by whom he was at this time assailed, the situation of the Earl of Pembroke was most lamentable. Dublin itself was menaced ; the inhabitants of Waterford waited but an opportunity to rise against the English, and join their fellow-countrymen without; and Strongbow had no resource but to call Raymond Fitzgerald back to his aid, promising him the hand of the lady that he loved. To a knight of those days, such an inducement was irresistible. Raymond waited not to collect a large force in Wales; but taking one-and-thirty knights who were with him, a body of one hundred menat-arms, and three hundred Welsh foot, he cast


himself into the first vessels that he could find, and sailed at once for Waterford. The wind was favorable and strong,—the banners of England were displayed on the masts of the adventurer,-and his little fleet entering the port of Waterford in full sail, appeared just in time to overawe the citizens, and save the English garrison from destruction. The grateful Earl and his old companion-in-arms marched out in triumph to Wexford, and there Pembroke immediately bestowed upon Fitzgerald the promised hand of his sister Basile. Their marriage was such as might well befit chivalrous times; for on the morrow of his wedding-day, Fitzgerald led forth his troops to attack the King of Connaught, and with extraordinary rapidity recovered the whole county of Meath. He then turned towards the strong city of Limerick; and though it was defended by massy walls, by a powerful force, and by the river Shannon, he determined to attack it with one hundred and twenty knights, three hundred light-armed horsemen, and four hundred archers. The deep river was forded, —the town assailed; the Irish, astonished at such inconceivable boldness, abandoned the defence, scarcely striking a blow,—and Limerick was taken with a terrible slaughter of the citizens.

Representations had been made in the meantime to Henry against the character of Fitzgerald, which were in some degree just, and the English monarch sent over envoys to bring that leader into Normandy;


but just as he was on the eve of setting sail, fresh efforts were made by the Irish, the troops of the Earl of Pembroke refused to act without the presence of Raymond, and the messengers of Henry unwillingly consented that he should remain. Once more Fitzgerald led forth his troops to conquer; with a handful of men he attacked O‘Brien Prince of Limerick, strongly entrenched in a pass not far from Cashel, forced the barriers which had been raised against him, routed the troops of the enemy, and relieved Limerick, which had been attacked. Struck with these successes and some others which fol. lowed, the Irish princes declared their inclination to submit; and the embassy of Roderick King of Connaught, in the autumn of 1175, was one of the principal results of Raymond Fitzgerald's victorious career.

Thus were the two neighbouring kingdoms o Scotland and Ireland rendered fiefs of the crown o England; so that the whole extent of these islands was now more or less under the dominion of one man, Wales having long been subjected to the same sway. In that country, indeed, some disturbances had taken place, though but very slight. All had remained at peace so long as Rees ap Gryffyth, to whom Henry confided the powers of Grand Justiciary in South Wales, continued on the spot, for he had executed the trust reposed in him with zeal and fidelity ; but the moment that he was summoned to attack the fortress of Tutbury, on behalf of Henry, an inferior lord named Jorwarth (to whom, as I have before shown, deep offence had been given at the time that Henry was called from Ireland into France) broke out into rebellion again, and captured the strong town and castle of Caerleon upon Usk, which had formerly belonged to him. Previous, however, to receiving the homage of the King of Scotland at York, Henry and his son had held a parliament at Gloucester, for the purpose of securing the tranquillity of the adjacent parts of Wales, and to this assembly Rees ap Gryffyth persuaded Jorwarth and all those persons who had joined with him in his rebellion, to go voluntarily, in the hope of obtaining pardon and favour as a result of their submission. Henry fulfilled to the utmost the promises which Rees ap Gryffyth had made. He left Caerleon in the hands of Jorwarth, received the homage of the rest, and in order to insure peace to the country as far as oaths would go, he caused all the chieftains of Wales there present to confederate by a solemn vow, engaging mutually to defend each other in case of attack by any of the other Welsh princes.

Thus throughout the whole of his dominions Henry's power seemed secure,-and yet, strange to say, at this period he displayed apprehensions for his personal safety which he manifested at no other time. During his whole life hitherto he had gone from place to place but scantily attended, and all persons could gain admission to his person at reasonable hours ; but a change now came over his feelings. It is true that confidence lost can never be recovered,—that when we find we have been deceived in those we have trusted,—that neither the bonds of gratitude, nor of honor, nor of kindred, have power to bind the passions of men, we never can feel that full reliance again upon any human being which we once entertained in the days of happy inexperience, and our shaken trust leaves us uncertain and doubtful of where to find faith on earth, or truth amongst the children of men.

Whether it was this loss of confidence alone that made the King apprehensive of danger, or whether any private intimations were given to him that the peace which seemed fully restored, was in reality hollow, and that the rebels whom he had forgiven wanted but opportunity to renew their insurrection; or whether the murmurs reached his ear which were either unjustly excited by the demolition of some of those fortresses which had been used only to resist himself, or were called forth with better cause on account of the severities he exercised on all who had violated his severe forest laws, cannot be told ; but it is certain that he caused proclamation to be made, forbidding such persons to come to his court as had taken part in the late insurrection, unless summoned by himself; that he established regulations in regard to strangers and visitors lingering about the precincts of the palace at unusual hours; and that



« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »