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established between them that led to such disastrous consequences to both, and to so much disgrace to the nation at large.

" Gavestone had,” says Speed, " a sharp wit in a comely shape, and briefly was such an one as we used to call very fine;" he possessed also great courage and skill in arms, as he had proved in the Scottish war and in the tournaments, where he had overthrown the most distinguished of our baronial chivalry. On the other hand, he was luxurious to the last degree, proud as regards himself, insolent to others, and oppressive and capricious to those in any way subjected to his control. He was fond of nick names. Thomas, Prince of Lancaster, the king's cousin, was a great hog” and “ a stage-player;" the Earl of Pembroke was Joseph the Jew;" Guy, Earl of Warwick, the “ black dog of Ardenne.” These were dangerous men to jest with in this fashion, even if there had been nothing in the favourite's public conduct to lay hold of.

But while they thus saw themselves treated with contempt, they also saw all the great enterprises neglected, upon which they, as devoted followers of Edward I., had set their hearts, more especially the Scottish wars. They saw the king's court given up to sensuality and riot ; they knew, also, that the riches of the kingdom were being converted to Gavestone's private use; that Edward, besides conferring on him the earldom of Cornwall, a dignity hitherto reserved for princes of the blood, and marrying him to his sister's daughter, gave him the funds collected for the Scottish war, and for the crusades (£32,000 sterling of which, by his father's dying command, ought to have been applied to the restoration and maintenance of the holy sepulchre), as well as his ancestor's jewels and treasures, even to the very crown worn by his father, which the barons not unnaturally looked upon as a symbol of the result that Edward possibly dreamed of the declaration of Piers Gavestone for his successor. The young queen added her voice to the general complaint. Through Gavestone, the king had been drawn on to injure her in the highest respects. Her appeal to her father, the French king, was followed by the Gascon knight's third banishment, in June, 1309, which, however, was merely to Ireland, and as governor. But he would not take warning; in October he returned in defiance of a known decree " that if at any time afterwards he were taken in England, he should suffer death.”_An angel from heaven could not have been more welcomed by Edward, who evidently would rather lose crown, kingdom, queen, and all, than Piers Gavestone. The lords, with the “ great hog,” Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, at their head, looking upon the return with diiferent eyes, met, and agreed to send respectfully to Edward, to desire that Gavestone should be delivered into their hands, or driven out of England. The king vacillated, knowing peace must be kept with the lords, yet unwilling to sacrifice his own foolish, or worse than foolish desires. Gavestone endeavoured to defend himself in Scarborough Castle (of which the crumbling ruins now only remain), while the king went to York to seek for an army for his relief. But before any


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force could be collected for such a purpose, Piers Gavestone, on the 19th May, 1312, capitulated to the Earls Pembroke and Percy, who pledged their faith, it is said, that he should be kept unharmed in the Castle of Wallingford. At Deddington, a village between Oxford and Warwick, the Earl of Pembroke, who escorted him, left him for a night, under the pretext of visiting the Countess of Pembroke, who was in the neighbourhood. Gavestone seems to have remained full of confidence, as usual, until he was roused from his sleep by the startling order to “ dress himself speedily.” He obeyed, descended to the court-yard, and found himself in the presence of the black dog of Ardenne." He must then have repented his wretched wit, for he knew the stern Warwick had sworn terrible vow that he would make the minion feel the“ black dog's teeth.” A deeper darkness than that of night must have overshadowed the wretched Gavestone. No help was at hand. Amid the triumphant shouts of the large armed force that attended Warwick, he was set on a mule, and hurried thirty miles through the night to Warwick Castle, where his entrance was announced by a crash of martial music. He stood trembling and dismayed before the dais, whereon sate, in terrible array, his self-constituted judges, the chief barons. During their hurried consultation, a oposal was made, or a hint offered, that no blood should be shed; but a voice rang through the hall, “ you have caught the fox; if you let him go, you will have to hunt him again." Let Gavestone's deserts be what they might, the faith pledged at the capitulation at Scarborough ought to have been adhered to, but it was otherwise determined by the barons. He had been taken once more on English ground, and he must die. As Gavestone had been insolent in his prosperity, so now he lost all manly spirit under the fear of death. The “old hog” was now

gentle lord," and the unhappy man kneeled and prayed to him and the rest for mercy, but found none. There is a little black knoll (Blacklow Hill, now Gaversike), about two miles from the Castle, on the edge of the road that leads from Warwick Castle to Coventry, and on it yet exists a stone bearing the following ancient inscription:-P. Gavestone, Earl of Cornwall, beheaded here, 1312.

Old England, vol. i., p. 238. BATTLE OF BANNOCKBURN. Bruce's army, consisting of thirty thousand picked men, stretched from the burn of Bannock on the right to the neighbourhood of the castle on the left; and was protected in front by narrow pits dug in the ground, and concealed by hurdles covered with sods, sufficienly strong to bear a man on foot, and sufficiently weak to sink under the weight of an armed knight on horseback. Douglas and Stewart commanded the centre; Edward Bruce took charge of the right ; and Randolf of the left wing. The men of Argyle, of Carrick, and of the isles, composed a body of reserve; and at a distance in the valley lay fifteen thousand followers of the army, whom the king


dared not bring into the field, but whom he instructed to show themselves in the heat of the conflict, as a new army hastening to the aid of their countrymen.* On the eve of the battle a warm action occurred between the advanced parties of the two armies, and terminated in favour of the Scots. Bruce with his battle-axe clove the skull of Henry de Bohan, a distinguished knight, and his followers hailed the prowess of their sovereign as an omen of victory. At day break (on the 24th June, 1314) they gathered round an eminence, on which Maurice, abbot of Inchaffray, celebrated mass, and harangued his hearers on the duty of fighting for the liberty of their country. At the close of his discourse they answered with a loud shout; and the abbot, barefoot, with a crucifix in his hand, marched before them to the field of battle. As soon as they were formed, he again addressed them, and as he prayed, they all fell on their knees. “They kneel, they kneel,” exclaimed some of the English; “ they beg for mercy.” “Do not deceive yourselves,” replied Ingelram de Umfraville; they beg for mercy; but it is only from God.” From the discordant accounts of the Scottish and English writers, it is difficult to collect the particulars of the battle. The Scots with very few exceptions fought on foot, armed with battle-axes and spears, the king appeared in their front, and bore the same weapons as his subjects; the attack was made by the infantry and archers of the English army; and so fierce was the shock, so obstinate the resistance, that the result long remained doubtful. Bruce was compelled to call his reserve into the line, and as a last resource to order a small body of men-at-arms to attack the archers in the flank. This movement decided the fate of the English infantry; they fled in confusion, and the knights, with the Earl of Gloucester at their head, rushed forward to renew the conflict, but their horses were entangled in the pits, the riders were thrown, and the timely appearance of the Scots (the wagoners and camp-followers), who had been stationed in the valley, and seemed to be a new army advancing to surround them, scattered dismay through the ranks of the English. Edward, who was not deficient in personal bravery, spured on his charger to partake in the battle, but the Earl of Pembroke wisely interposed, and led him to a distance. Giles d'Argentye, a renowned knight, had hitherto been charged with the defence of the royal person ; now seeing the king out of danger, he bade him farewell, and turning his horse, rode back to the enemy. He cried, an Argentye,” rushed into the hottest part of the fight, and soon met that death which he sought. It was in full confidence of victory that Edward had hastened to Bannockburn : he fled from it with a party of Scottish cavalry at his heels ; nor did he dare to halt till the Earl of March admitted him within the walls of Dunbar, whence he proceeded by sea to


* This force consisted of all the waggoners, sumpter-boys, and camp-followers; and being supplied with military standards, had the appearance at a distance of being a formidable body.

Ilume, rol. ii., p. 341.

England. His privy seal and treasures, with the military engines, and provisions for the army, fell into the hands of the conquerors. The number of those who were slain in the battle was not great; but the fugitives, without a leader, or a place of retreat, wandered over the country; and if the lives of the knights and esquires were preserved for the sake of ransom, the less precious blood of the footmen was shed without mercy. Bruce behaved to his prisoners with kindness; and in exchange for the Earl of Hereford obtained the release of his wife, sister, and daughter, and the Bishop of Gloucester and the Earl of Mar. Among the prisoners was Baston, a Carmelite friar, and a professed poet. Edward compelled him to attend the battle, that he might celebrate his victory. Bruce compelled him, now that he was a captive, to sing the defeat. His poem, and a most singular poem it is, may be seen in Fordun xii., 22.

Lingard, vol. iii., p. 299. QUEEN ISABELLA AND MORTIMER. The queen, on her arrival in Paris (whither she had gone to arrange the treaty with her brother, Charles the Fair, regarding Edward's doing him homage for Guienne) had there found a great number of English fugitives, the remains of the Lancastrian faction, and their common hatred of Le Despenser soon begat a secret friendship and correspondence between them and that princess. Among the rest was young Roger Mortimer, a potent baron in the Welsh marches, who had been obliged with others to make his submission to the king; had been condemned for high treason; but having received a pardon for his life, was afterwards detained in the tower, with an intention of rendering his confinement perpetual. He was so fortunate as to make his escape into France, and being one of the most considerable persons now remaining of the party, as well as distinguished by his violent animosity against Le Despenser, he was easily admitted to pay his court to Queen Isabella. The graces of his person and address advanced him quickly in her affections : he became her confidant and councillor in all her measures ; and gaining ground daily upon her heart, he engaged her to sacrifice at last to her passion all the sentiments of honour and of fidelity to her husband. Hating now the man whom she had injured, and whom she never valued, she entered ardently into all Mortimer's conspiracies, and having artfully gotten into her hands her son, the young prince, and heir of the monarchy, she resolved on the utter ruin of the king, as well as

* By this battle Bruce achieved the final independence of the Scottish nation, and the permanent settlement of his own family on the throne, which he had so well and hardly earned. He lived to see peace concluded between the two nations, by the recognition of that independence in the English parliament, and died in 1329, after some two years of pious solitude in a castle at Cardross, on the northern shore of the Frith of Clyde, and was buried in the magnificent abbey church of a Dunfermline, founded by King Malcolm Canmore, and, after the celebrated Iona. the common burial-place of the kings Scotland. About twenty-six years ago the skeleton of the royal warrior was disinterred, and found to measure above six feet; a cast was at the time taken of the skull. Old England, vol. i., p. 238.

his favourite. She engaged her brother to take part in the same criminal purpose. Her court was daily filled with exiled barons. Mortimer lived in the most declared intimacy with her. A correspondence was secretly carried on with the malcontent party in England ; and when Edward, informed of these alarming circumstances, required her speedily to return with the prince, she publicly replied that she would never set foot in the kingdom tiĩl Le Despenser was for ever removed from his presence and his councils ; a declaration which procured her great popularity in England, and threw a decent veil over all her treasonable enterprises.

Hume, vol. ii., p. 352. HUGH LE DESPENSER. The king's chief favourite, after the death of Gaveston, was Hugh le Despenser, or Spenser, a young man of English birth, of high rank, and of noble family ; he possessed all the exterior accomplishments of person and address, which were fitted to engage the weak mind of Edward, but was destitute of that moderation and prudence which might have qualified him to mitigate the envy of the great, and conduct him through all the perils of that dangerous station to which he was advanced. Like Gavestone, he abused his influence over the king, and sought by every means to estrange him from his queen and his people, and so secure his own fortunes. “ When,” says Froissart, he saw that he had the King of England so much in his power, that he objected to nothing he said or did, he caused many noblemen and others to be put to death without law or justice, but merely because he suspected them of being ill inclined to him ; his pride was also become so intolerable, that the barons who remained alone in England neither could nor would suffer it any longer. They required and entreated that all private quarrels should be made up and sent secretly to the queen (who had at this time remained in Paris three years) that if she could collect about a thousand menat-arms, and would come at the head of them herself, with her son, into England, they would immediately treat with her, and obey him as their lawful sovereign.' In obedience to the summons, Queen Isabella went into Germany, and with the assistance of Sir John de Hainault (her brother, Charles the Fair, King of France, having by the influence of Le Despenser, who had received information of the barons conspiracy, refused to permit, on pain of banishment, any of his subjects to interfere in her cause) collected a small force, consisting of scarcely more than three hundred men-at-arms and very few common soldiers, and, crossing the sea, besieged the king at Bristol, which city she boon took, and, making herself mistress of the person of the elder Le Despenser, who was the governor, sent him immediately to execution.*

* Not the least respect was paid to this venerable nobleman-all his former services with his virtues were forgotten, and though nearly ninety years of age, ho was condemned without trial, and hanged on a gibbet, after which his body was cat to pieces, and thrown to the dogs.

Spencer, p. 169.

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