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of their own signal defeat; and the King's army in England remained inactive during the rest of the winter, Framlingham being too strong and too well prepared to admit a hope of reducing it at so advanced a period of the year.
During this time Henry himself had not been unemployed. Britanny, it is true, was perfectly tranquil; Normandy was secured for the time by the success of the royal arms; and the insurrection had not made any very great progress in Aquitaine, where the Count of Toulouse remained strictly faithful to his engagements with the King of England, and maintained his cause with zeal and activity. In Maine and Touraine, however, much evil had been done by the pernicious instigations of the rebels, and in Anjou a number of the principal nobles were in arms against the King. The Count of Vendome, who adhered to the cause of Henry, had been expelled from that city by his son-in-law, Richard de Lavardin ;* and Henry's honor was engaged to restore to his faithful friend the territories of which he had been unjustly dispossessed. It was towards Anjou, in the first place, that the English monarch turned his steps, accompanied by a considerable force. His late successes, however, had so far intimidated the minds of the insurgents that very little resistance was made. Two castles belonging to revolted barons were immediately surren
* Hoveden calls him Bucard of Lavardin, and says, that he was the son of the Count of Vendome."
THE LIFE OF RICHARD CEUR-DE-LION.
dered; and a third fortress, the castle of Champigné. le-sec, was taken with all whom it contained, comprising nearly fifty gentlemen of noble families. The revolt of Anjou was thus terminated, and Henry immediately marched from the neighbourhood of Saumur, up the course of the Loire, towards Vendome. Here also he was successful, and before Christmas he had restored the Count to his territories.*
Thus ended the campaigns of the year 1173; but in the course of that year an event took place in the life of Richard, Duke of Aquitaine, or as he is more generally called at this time, Count of Poitou, which, according to all the feelings and opinions of those days, formed the most important epoch in the existence of a young noble, and on it I must consequently pause.
* By most authors it is left doubtful whether Vendome surrendered without resistance, or was taken after a siege. Hoveden, however, distinctly says, “Rex Angliæ pater vim cepit Vendomiam."
The institution of chivalry or knighthood—the twin sister in fact of the feudal system—was one of the most powerful of those engines which, produced by the circumstances and necessities of the times, tend, under the guidance of Almighty Wisdom, to elevate society from the depth of barbarism to the height of civilisation. How this institution first arose, whether it sprung up at once, as some writers have supposed, or whether it gradually, and indeed slowly, assumed regular forms, claimed for itself certain privileges, and undertook the performance of certain duties, as other authors have asserted, would require much space to examine, and might here produce no satisfactory result. The rude germs of chivalry have been traced by persons whose imagination is fond of travelling in barren and very arid paths, to what they conceive the first seeds amongst the early tribes of the north; but others, amongst whom is ranked M. de Ste. Palaye, whose authority is of the highest kind, do not admit it as an institution previous to the year of our Lord 900. Whether his judgment upon the subject be correct or not, there is to be found in the introduction to a late edition of his “ Memoirs on Chivalry," so beautiful an account of the origin of knighthood, that I cannot refrain from translating it in this place, expressing, at the same time, my full persuasion that there is as much philosophical truth as eloquent simplicity in his general statements.
“ Towards the middle of the tenth century,” the introduction says, “some poor nobles, united by the need of lawful defence, and alarmed by the excesses brought on by the multiplicity of sovereign powers, took pity on the wretchedness and tears of the people. They grasped each other's hands, calling upon God and St. George ; and, devoting themselves to the defence of the oppressed, they placed the weak under the defence of their sword. Simple in their dress, severe in their morals, humble after victory, firm and stoical in adversity, they speedily created for themselves an immense renown. Popular gratitude, in its simple and credulous joy, fed upon the marvellous narrative of their high deeds of arms, exaggerated their valour, and united in prayer the generous deliverers of the people with the powers of Heaven. So natural is it for misfortune to deify those that bring it relief. .
56 In those old times, as strength was a law, it
was very necessary that courage should be a virtue; these men, to whom was afterwards given the name of knights, carried it to the very highest degree. Cowardice was punished by them as an unpardonable crime; and surely it is such, to refuse support to the oppressed. They held a lie in horror, and branded with disgrace all perfidy and breach of faith ; nor have the most celebrated legislators of antiquity produced anything comparable to their statutes.
66 This league of warriors, retained during more than a century, all its original simplicity,–because the circumstances amidst which it was brought forth, changed but slowly ; but when a great political and religious movement announced the revolutions that were about to take place, in the human mind, then chivalry took a legal form, and a rank amongst the institutions of society.”
Such is the account given by the introduction to the Memoirs of Ste. Palaye; and without entering into all the minute points of disquisition which such
urally suggests, we may well receive this statement in regard to the origin of chivalry as generally correct; and proceed to notice the changes in spirit, as well as in external forms, which that institution had undergone previous to the time at which knighthood was conferred on Richard Plantagenet, by the hand of the King of France. It has been supposed that William Rufus introduced into England what has been called knight-errantry.