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character of Robin Hood stands high in the pages both of history and poetry.
Fordan, a priest, extols his piety; Maijor pronounces him the most humane of robbers; and Camden, a more judicious authority, calls him the “ gentlest of thieves ;" while in the early pages of the drama he is drawn at heroic length, with many of the best attributes of human nature. His life and deeds have not only supplied materials for the drama and the ballad, but proverbs have sprung from them. He stands the demigod of English archery ; men used to swear both by his bow and his clemency. Festivals were once annually held, and games of a sylvan kind celebrated in his honour in Scotland as well as in England. The grave where he lies has still its pilgrims; the well
out of which he drank still retains his name ; and his bow, and one of his broad arrows, were within this century to be seen in Fountain Abbey, a place immortalised by his adventure with the curtal friar.
sllan Cunningham, in the Penny Magazine, 1838, p. 170.
ROBIN HOOD'S DEATH AND BURIAL. Showing how he was taken ill, and how he went tɔ his cousin at Kirkley Hall, who let him blood, which was the cause of his death When Robin Hood and Little John, She blooded him in the vein of the arm, Down a down, a down a down,
And lock'd him up in the room, Went o'er yon bank of broom,
There did he bleed all the live-long day, Said Robin Hood to Little John
Uutil the next day at noon. “We have shot for many a pound, Hey down, a down, a down.
He then bethought him of a casement
door, “But I am not able to shoot one shot more, Thiriking for to be gone, My arrows will not flee,
He was so weak he could not leap, But I have a cousin lives down below, Nor he could not get down. • Please God, she will bleed me.”
He then bethought him of his bugle-horn, * Now Robin is to fair Kirkley gone,
Which hung low down to his knee, As fast as he can wen,
He set his horn unto his mouth, But before he came there, as we do hear,
And blew out weak blasts three. He was taken very ill.
Then Little John, when hearing him,
As he sat under a tree,
He knock'd all at the ring,
He blows so wearily."
Then Little John to fair Kirkley is gone, • Will you please to sit down, cousin But when he came to Kirkley Hall,
As fast as he can diee,
He broke locks two or three,
Then he fell on his knec,
"A boon, a boon," cries Little John, “Well, I have a room, cousin Robin," she said,
“Master, I beg of thee." " Which you did never see,
“What is that boon,” quoth Robin Hood, And if you will please to walk therein, “Little John thou bege of me?" You blonded by me shall be.”
“It is to buru fair Kirkley Hall,
And all their nunnery." She took him by the lily-white hand,
And led him to a private room, “Now, nay-now, nay," quoth Robin And there she blooded bold Robin Hood,
I never hurt woman in all my life, And make my grave of gravel and green, Nor man in womnau's company.
Which is most right and meet. "I never hurt fair maid in all my time, “Let me have length and breadth enough Nor at my end shall it be ;
With a green sod under my head, But give me my bent bow in my hand, That they may say, when I am dead And a broad arrow l'll let flee;
Here lies bold Robin Hood." And where this arrow is taken up,
These words they readily promised him, There shall my grave digg'd be.
Which did bold Robin please, “Lay me a green sod under my head, And there they buried bold Robin Hood, And another at my feet,
Near to the fair Kirkleys.
The Robin Hood Garlands and Ballads, vol. i., p. 313. * Little John, it is said, survived but to see his master buried : his grave is claimed by Scotland as well as England, but tradition inclines to the grave in the churchyard of Hathersage. The bond of mind which had held his men so long together was now broken; some made their peace with the Government, others fled to foreign parts, and nothing remained of Robin Hood but a name, which is to be found in our history, in our drama, in our ballads, in our songs, in our sayings, and in our proverbs. Allan Cunningham, in the Penny Magazine, 1838, p. 372.
DEATH OF RICHARD. Having laid siege to the Castle of Chalus, in order to compel Vidomar, Viscount de Limoges, one of the vassals, to deliver him a. considerable treasure which that nobleman had found in his grounds, but which Richard claimed as superior lord of the country; he one day, attended by Marcadee, in reconnoitering the place, ventured too near, when Bertram de Gourdon, an archer, took aim at him from the wall of the castle, and pierced him in the shoulder with an arrow, close to the neck. An unskilful surgeon, endeavouring to extract the weapon, mangled the flesh so desperately that the wound gangrened, of which he died eleven days after. A short time before his death the Castle of Chalus was taken by storm, and all the garrison hanged except Bertram de Gourdon, who being brought into the king's presence, he cried, “Wretch! what have I ever done, what injury have you received from me, that you should seek my life?" “What have you done to me?" the prisoner coolly replied with an air of bravery; "why, you killed with your own hands my father and my two brothers, and you intended to have hanged me: I am now in your power, satisfy** your revenge, I am prepared to suffer every torment you can inflict, I shall endure them all, and die with pleasure, since I have been the instrument to deliver the world from such a tyrant, who has filled it with blood and carnage.' This spirited reply had a great effect on the mind of Richard, and humbled by the near approach of death, he ordered Gourdon to be set at liberty, and to be presented with a hundred shillings; but Marcadee, like a true ruffian, ordered the unhappy man to be flayed alive, and afterwards hung
Spencer, p. 108.
In his last will he ordered his body to be interred at Fontevraud, at the feet of his father, to testify his sorrow for the many uneasi. nesses he had created him during his life ; his heart to be carried to Rouen, for a testimony of his affection to the Normans ; but his entrails, brains, and blood he ordered to be sent to Poictou, designing to show by that his little esteem for the Poictevins, with whom he was displeased.*
Rupin, vol. i., p. 257. PERSON AND CHARACTER. He was tall, comely, fair, and well proportioned, with prodigious bodily strength. His eyes were blue, and full of vivacity; he had light hair, inclining to red, and a majestic manner; and it has been remarked that his arms were unusually long. He was possessed of a good understanding, an uncommon penetration, and a fund of manly eloquence; but the most dazzling part of his cha racter was his military talent. No man, even in that romantic age, carried personal courage and intrepidity to a greater height, and from this quality he gained the appellation of lion's heart;" he was rather a knight-errant than a king, and his life was more like a romance of knight-errantry than a history.
CHRONICLE. August 18, 1191, Richard beheaded near 5,000 of his Turkish prisoners for Saladin's not observing the articles of the truce, and Saladin followed his example at the expense of the lives of some thousands of Christians. 1192, grain so scarce in England that wheat sold for 20s. per quarter, equal to £6 of the present money. A fever raged, which lasted five months, and carried off innumerable multitudes of people. The government of the City of London began to assume a regular form; it was divided into several corporations, societies, guilds, or companies. The citizens also obtained the privilege to be governed by two bailiffs or sheriffs ; and to have a mayor to be their principal governor, who was chosen for life. Among the minor events of the reign may be mentioned the first manufacture of linen and silk, and the restoration of the use of the cross-bow, from which Richard received his death. Coatsof-arms were first introduced into England about this time. The knights cased up in armour had no way of making themselves known and distinguished in battle but by the devices on their shields; these were adopted by their posterity, who were proud of the virtues and military enterprises of their ancestors. Many of the mottoes were excellent, and are still borne by our ancient nobility. Richard was the first King of England who bore on his shield thrce lions passant.
* Cn the 30th July, 1838, the pavement around the marble-slab which marked the site of Richard's monument, in the Cathedral of Rouen, was, by the consent of the archbishop, raised by the prefect of the department, when was discovered, at no great depth, a very fine statue of Richard Cæur de Lion buried amid the rubbish ; and, after further search, a leaden box was found, 18 inches long, 15 broad, and 6 high; and within it another leaden box covered with silver leaf, 6 inches in breadth and length, and 5 inches in height. This inner box contained what had all the appearance of a reddish coloured leaf, dry, and bent round at the ends; within the lid is the following inscription :
"HIC JACET COR.
OBIIT MCXCIX.” The "llon heart," and the statue were claimed by the vicar-general of the cathedral, by virtue of Richard's will. still extant in the archives of Rouen. The boxes have been sealed up and deposited in the vestry until a proper spot has been determined on for crecting a monument.
Penny Magazine, 1838, p. 413.
REIGN OF JOHN.
MURDER OF PRINCE ARTHUR. The circumstances which attended this deed of darkness were, no doubt, carefully concealed by the actors, and are variously re·lated by historians; but the most probable account is as follows:
The king, it is said, first proposed to William de Bray, one of his servants, to dispatch Arthur; but William replied that he was a gentleman, not a hangman, and he positively refused compliance. Another instrument of murder was found, and was dispatched with proper orders to Falaise ; but Hubert de Burgh, chamberlain to the king and constable of the castle, feigning that he would himself execute the king's mandate, sent back the assassin, spread the report that the young prince was dead, and publicly performed all the ceremonies of his interment. But, finding that the Bretons vowed revenge for the murder, and that all the revolted barons persevered more obstinately in their rebellion, he thought it prudent to reveal the secret, and to inform the world that the prince + was still alive, and in his custody. This discovery proved fatal to the young prince. John rst removed him to the Castle of Rouen, and coming in a boat, during the night-time, to that place, commanded Arthur to be brought before him. The young prince, aware of his danger, and now more subdued by the continuance of his misfortunes, and by the approach of death, threw himself on his knees, before his uncle, and begged for mercy ; but the barbarous tyrant, making no reply, stabbed him with his own hands, and, fastening a stone to the dead body, threw it into the Seine. *
Hume, vol. ii., p. 48.
* D'Argentre gives this account of Arthur's death :--John, leading his nephew after him, like a lamb to the slanghter, brought him from Rouen to Cherbourg, for more privacy, and better opportunities to despatch him. There, late in the evening, followed only by a few, he got on horseback, making the prince ride belore him. Then, leaving his attendants behind, he went along the coast till he had found a place fit for his purpose, which was a high cliff hanging over the sea.
Being got there with the prince, he spurred his horse up to him, and with his sword ran him through the body, the poor prince crying in vain for mercy.' That aone, he pulled him to the ground, dragging hiin by the teet to the brink of the precipice, flung Him into the sea, not being yet quite dead, nor was the body ever seen afterwards.
THE CROWN RESIGNED TO THE POPE, John, terrified by the thunders launched on him from the Vatican, and driven to desperation by the prospect of an invasion by the King of France, completed his ignominy by signing a charter, in which he agreed to resign his crown, and become the vassal of the pope. In consequence of this dastardly compromise, on the 15th of May, 1212, the king repaired to Dover Church, attended by the legate (Cardinal Pandulph) with a numerous train of lords and officers of the army, where, in the presence of them all, he took off his crown, and laid it, with the other ensigns of royalty, at Pandulph's feet, who was seated on a throne, and did homage to him as the pope's representative, with all the submissive rites which the feudal-law required of vassals to their liege lord. He threw himself upon his knees before the legate, and, lifting up his joined hands, put them within those of Pandulph, then swore fcalty to the pope, and paid part of the tribute which he owed for his kingdom as the patrimony of St. Peter. Pandulph, elevated by this triumph of the sacerdotal over the regal power, discovered extravagant symptoms of joyful exultation, he even trampled on the money that was laid at his feet, as a mark of the kingdom's subjection; an insolence which, though all present beheld with glowing indignation, the Bishop of Dublin alone had spirit to notice, who exclaimed aloud against the legate's pride and intolerable insolence. Pandulph, not satisfied with these mortifying acts of superiority, kept the crown and sceptre five days, and then restored them as a special favour of the holy see; but, notwithstanding a king of England submitted to such base indignities, he refused to take off the interdict and excommunication till the losses of the ecclesiastics could be estimated, for whom he insisted upon having a full restitution and compensation. Spencer, p. 115.
LEAGUE OF THE BARONS. In the month of September, 1214, a private meeting of the barons was held in London, when the Archbishop of Canterbury (Langton) laid before them a charter of Henry I., which, he said, he had happily found in a monastery, and exhorted them to insist on its being renewed; whereupon the barons swore that they would lose their lives rather than not comply with so reasonable, so honour. able, and so just a demand. The confederacy soon spread, and "comprehended most of the barons of England; and a more numerous assembly was summoned by Langton, at St. Edmunds Bury, under the colour of devotion, where he again produced the charter, renewed his exhortations to proceed with unanimity and vigour, and represented in the strongest light the tyranny to which they had been so long subject, and from which they were to free them.
Rapin, vol. i., p. 265.