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enemy with missile weapons and with stones. Nor, indeed, were our foes at all remiss; but trusting their whole security to their valour, they poured down grease and burning oil upon the tower, and slung stones on the soldiers, rejoicing in the completion of their desires by the destruction of multitudes. During the whole of that day the battle was such that neither party seemed to think they had been worsted; on the following, which was the 15th of July, the business was decided, for the Franks, becoming more experienced from the event of the attack of the preceding day, threw faggots flaming with oil on a tower adjoining the wall, and on the party who defended it, which, blazing by the action of the wind, first seized the timber and then the stones, and drove off the garrison. Moreover, the beams which the Turks had left hanging down from the walls in order that, being forcibly drawn back they might, by their recoil, batter the tower in pieces in case it should advance too near, were by the Franks dragged to them, by cutting away the ropes; and being placed from the engine to the wall, and covered with hurdles, they formed a bridge of communication from the ramparts to the tower. Thus, what the infidels had contrived for their defence became the means of their destruction ; for then the enemy, dismayed by the smoking masses of flame, and by the courage of our soldiers, began to give way. These advancing on the wall, and thence into the city, manifested their excess of joy by the strenuousness of their exertions. There was no place of refuge for the Turks, so indiscriminately did the insatiable rage of the victors sweep away both the suppliant and the resisting. Ten thousand were slain in the Temple of Solomon ; more were thrown from the tops of the churches, and of the citadel.* After this, the dead bodies were heaped and dissolved into the airy fluid by means of fire; lest, putrifying in the open air, they should pour contagion on the heavy atmosphere. The city being thus expiated by the slaughter of the infidels, they proceeded with hearts contrite and bodies prostrate to the sepulchre of the Lord, which they had so long earnestly sought after, and for which they had undergone so many labours.
Malmsbury, p. 387. BUILDING OF WESTMINSTER HALL. Besides a great scarcity occasioned by bad weather, which lasted several months, the king laid heavy taxes upon the people, so much the more grievous as the money was to be expended on works that were unnecessary, or, at least, might have been deferred to some other time. He not only rebuilt London Bridge, which had been carried away by an unusual flood, but chose this time of scarcity for other works which required vast sums of money. He raised a new wall round the Tower, and built a great hall at Westminster, two hundred and seventy feet long, and seventy broad. Howsoever spacious this hall was, William, on his return from Normandy,
* Rapin says 40,000 Saracens were put to the sword.
thought it too little, and said it hardly deserved to be called a bed. chamber in comparison of the extent he designed it.*
Rapin, p. 188. THE GOODWIN SANDS. On the 11th November, 1100, the sea rising to an extraordinary height, overflowed the coast of Kent, and swept away abundance of people and cattle. This inundation covered the lands that belonged formerly to Earl Goodwin, in the reign of Edward the Confessor. This place, called to this day Goodwin's Sands, is famous for shipwrecks innumerable.t
Rapin, p. 109. DEATH OF WILLIAM RUFUS. The day before the king died, he dreamed that he was let blood by a surgeon, and that the stream, reaching to heaven, clouded the light and intercepted the day. Calling on St. Mary for protection, he suddenly awoke, commanded a light to be brought, and forbade his attendants to leave him. They then watched with him several hours until daylight. Shortly after, just as the day began to dawn, a certain foreign monk told Robert Fitzhamon, one of the principal nobility, that he had that night dreamed a strange and fearful dream about the king : “ That he had come into a certain church with menacing and insolent gesture, as was his custom, looking contemptuously on the standers-by; then violently seizing the crucifix, he gnawed the arms, and almost tore away the legs; that the image endured this for a long time, but at length struck the king with its foot in such a manner that he fell backwards; from his mouth, as he lay prostrate, issued so copious a flame that volumes of the smoke touched the very stars.” Robert, thinking that this dream ought not to be neglected, as he was intimate with him, immediately related it to the king. William repeatedly laughing, exclaimed, “He is a monk, and dreams for money like a monk; give him a hundred shillings.” Nevertheless, being greatly moved, he hesitated a long while whether he should go out to hunt, as he had designed, his friends persuading him not to suffer the truth of the dreams to be tried at his personal risk. In consequence he abstained from the chase before dinner, dispelling the uneasiness of his unregulated mind by some business. They relate that, having plentifully regaled that day, he soothed his cares with a more than usual quantity of wine. After dinner he went into the forest attended by few persons; of whom the most intimate with him was Walter, surnamed Tyrell, who had been induced to come from France by the liberality of the king. This man alone remained
* It was originally intended as a place for the entertainment of the king's guests and dependants. Richard II. (who rebuilt it in 1397) once feasted 10,000 within its walls; and it is still used for coronation banquets. Parliaments hare frequently been held beneath its roof; and it was the court of justice when the king presided in person. In this hall Charles the First was tried and condemned.
+ This calamity was caused by the Abbot of Canterbury, who then owned the land, neglecting to keep up the wall that defended it froin the sea.
with him, while the others, employed in the chase, were dispersed as chance directed. The sun was now declining, when the king, drawing his bow and letting fly an arrow, slightly wounded a stag which passed before him ; and keenly gazing, still running a long time with his eyes, followed it, holding up his hand to keep off the power of the sun's rays. At this instant Walter, conceiving a noble exploit, which was, while the king's attention was otherwise occcupied, to transfix another stag which by chance came near him, unknowingly, and without power to prevent, oh gracious God! pierced his breast with a fatal arrow. On receiving the wound the king uttered not a word, but breaking off the shaft of the weapon where it projected from his body, fell upon the wound, by which he accelerated his death. Walter immediately ran up, but as he found him senseless, and speechless, he leaped swiftly upon his horse, and escaped by spurring him to his utmost speed. Indeed, there was none to pursue him; some connived at his flight, others pitied him, and all were intent on other matters. Some began to fortify their dwellings; others to plunder; the rest to look out for a new king. A few countrymen conveyed the body, placed in a cart, to the cathedral at Winchester, the blood dripping from it all the way. Here it was committed to the ground within the tower, attended by many of the nobility, though lamented by few. Next year the tower fell; though I forbear to mention the different opinions on this subject, lest I should seem to assent too readily to unsupported trifles, more especially as the building might have fallen through imperfect construction, even though he had never been buried there. *
Malmsbury, p. 345. PERSON AND CHARACTER. This prince was of middle stature, but being very fat, looked shorter than he was. His hair a deep yellow, inclined to red; his eyes of two different colours, speckled with small black spots. He was generally of a very ruddy complexion. Though he was far from eloquent, he talked a good deal, especially when angry. His countenance was severe, and his voice strong, which he would exalt sometimes on purpose to frighten those he was speaking to. He is said, however, to converse affably enough with his courtiers, who easily found a way to soften his fierce temper.
Malmsbury, p. 342.
CHRONICLE, In 1088, an earthquake in London, and a great scarcity ; corn not ripe until the end of November. Among the remarkable occurrences of this reign, we may notice the violent quarrel betwixt the clergy and laity relative to long-toed shoes. It was the fashion in that age, both among men and women, throughout Europe, to give an enormous length to the shoes, to draw the toe to a sharp point, and to fix to it a bird's bill, or some such ornament turned upwards, and which was often sustained by gold or silver chains tied to the knee. The ecclesiastics took exception to the long toe, which they said was an impious attempt to parody the scripture, where it is affirmed that no man can add a cubit to his stature; and they declaimed against it with great vehemence, and assembled councils and synods, who actually condemned the long toe as a profane and wicked device to bring the word of God into disrepute. But such, says Hume, are the strange contradictions of human nature, that though the clergy, at that time, could overturn thrones, and had authority to send above a million of men on their errand to the deserts of Asia, they could never prevail against long-toed shoes !
* His tomb, of grey marble, may still be seen in the middle of the choir of Win. chester Cathedral. During the civil wars in the reign of Charles I., the parliamentarians broke open this monument, but they found only the dust of the king, some relics of cloth of gold, a large gold ring, and a chalice of silver.
On the spot where William fell in the forest is a stone (in an iron case) with an inscription recording the event ; and in Lyndhurst Hall is preserved a stirrup which tradition asserts was attached to the saddle from which the Red King fell when struck by Tyrell.
REIGN OF HENRY I.
FROM 1100 to 1135–35 YEARS, 4 MONTHS.
HENRY'S SEIZURE OF THE CROWN. Prince Henry was hunting with Rufus in the New Forest, when intelligence of that monarch's death was brought him, and being sensible of the advantage attending the conjuncture, he hurried to Winchester, in order to secure the royal treasure, which he knew would be a necessary implement for facilitating his designs on the crown. He had scarcely reached the place when William de Bretüil, keeper of the treasure, arrived and opposed himself to Henry's pretentions. This nobleman, who had been engaged in the same hunting party, had no sooner heard of his master's death than he hastened to take care of his charge ; and he told the prince that this treasure, as well as the crown, belonged to his elder brother, who was now his sovereign; and that he himself, for his part, was determined, in spite of all other pretensions, to maintain his allegiance to him. But Henry, drawing his sword, threatened him with instant death if he dared to disobey him; and as other of the late king's retinue — who came every moment to Winchester -- joined the prince's party, Bretüil was obliged to withdraw his opposition, and to acquiesce in his taking possession of the royal treasure and the regalia.
Hume, vol. SHIPWRECK OF PRINCE WILLIAM. At the beginning of the winter of 1120, King Henry, his legitimate son William, several of his natural children, and the Norman Barons of England (who had been to France to attend the marriage of Prince William with Alice, the daughter of the Earl of Anjou) made preparation for crossing the channel into England. The
fleet was assembled in the month of December in the port of Bar. fleur; and at the moment of its departure, one Thomas, son of Etienne, came to the King of England, and, offering him a mark of gold, addressed him thus—“Etienne, son of Erard, my father all his life served thy father by sea. It was he who steered the vessel in which thy father embarked for the conquest of England. My lord the king, I supplicate thee to grant me the same office. I have a ship, called La Blanche Nef, which is well rigged and manned.” The king answered that he had made choice of a ship for his passage, but that, in consideration of the request of the son of Etienne, he would entrust to his safe conduct his two sons, his daughter, and all their attendants. The vessel which carried the king was the first to set sail, with a south wind, when the night was coming on, and Henry landed in safety on the English coast the next morning. The other ship sailed a little later in the evening; the crew, at the moment of weighing anchor, had demanded some wine, and the young passengers had treated them to it too abundantly. The vessel was manœuvred by fifty skilful rowers; Thomas, son of Etienne, was at the helm; and they held on their rapid course by a fine moonlight, steering along the coast in the vicinity of Barfleur. The mariners, stimulated by the wine, gave way, and pulled strongly at the oar, so as to come up with the king's ship; and, being too eager to accomplish their purpose, they incautiously entangled
themselves among some rocks just under the surface, which are situate in a place then called the Ras de Catte, and now Ras de Catteville. The Blanche Nef struck against a rock with all the velocity of her course, and her left side was stove in. The crew uttered a cry of distress which was heard in the king's vessels already far at sea; but no one suspected the cause. The water poured in, and the ship soon went down with all on board, to the number of three hundred persons, among whom were eighteen women. Two men alone clung to the great yard, which was left floating in the water : these were a butcher of Rouen, named Bérauld, and a young man of more elevated birth, named Godefroy, son of Gilbert de l'Aigle. Thomas, the master of the Blanche Nef, after sinking once, rose to the surface of the water, and, perceiving the heads of the two men who held by the spar, said to them, “And the king's son—what has become of him?" “ We have seen no more of him" was the answer. “ Nor of his brother, nor of his sister, nor any of their companions. “ Woe is me,
exclaimed the son of Etienne, and voluntarily sunk to rise no more. That December night was extremely cold, so that the weakest of the two survivors being exhausted, lost his
* The boat having been launched the young prince was received into it, and might certainly have been saved by reaching the shore had not his illegitimate sister, the Countess of Perche, now struggling with death in the larger vessel, implored her brother's assistance, shreiking out that he should not abandon her so barbarously. Touched with pity, he ordered the boat to return to the ship that he might rescue his sister, and thus the unhappy youth met his death through excess of affection; for the skiff, overcharged by the multitudes who leaped into her sank, and buried ali indiscriminately in the deep.
Malmsbury, p. 456.