Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. A list of changes is found at the end of the book. Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation have been maintained. A list of those words is found at the end of the book. Oe ligatures have been expanded. The original book used both numerical and symbolic footnote markers. This version follows the original usage.
Journeys Through Bookland
A NEW AND ORIGINAL PLAN FOR READING APPLIED TO THE WORLD'S BEST LITERATURE FOR CHILDREN
BY CHARLES H. SYLVESTER Author of English and American Literature
VOLUME SIX New Edition
Chicago BELLOWS-REEVE COMPANY PUBLISHERS
Copyright, 1922 BELLOWS-REEVE COMPANY
PAGE HORATIUS Lord Macaulay 1 LORD ULLIN'S DAUGHTER Thomas Campbell 23 SIR WALTER SCOTT Grace E. Sellon 26 THE TOURNAMENT Sir Walter Scott 38 THE RAINBOW Thomas Campbell 91 THE LION AND THE MISSIONARY David Livingstone 93 THE MOSS ROSE Translated from Krummacher 98 FOUR DUCKS ON A POND William Allingham 98 RAB AND HIS FRIENDS John Brown, M.D. 99 ANNIE LAURIE William Douglas 119 THE BLIND LASSIE T. C. Latto 120 BOYHOOD Washington Allston 122 SWEET AND LOW Alfred Tennyson 122 CHILDHOOD Donald G. Mitchell 124 THE BUGLE SONG Alfred Tennyson 133 THE IMITATION OF CHRIST Thomas a Kempis 134 THE DESTRUCTION OF SENNACHERIB Lord Byron 141 RUTH 143 THE VISION OF BELSHAZZAR Lord Byron 153 SOHRAB AND RUSTEM 157 SOHRAB AND RUSTUM Matthew Arnold 173 THE POET AND THE PEASANT Emile Souvestre 206 JOHN HOWARD PAYNE AND Home, Sweet Home 221 AULD LANG SYNE Robert Burns 228 HOME THEY BROUGHT HER WARRIOR DEAD Alfred Tennyson 231 CHARLES DICKENS 232 A CHRISTMAS CAROL Charles Dickens 244 CHRISTMAS IN OLD TIME Sir Walter Scott 356 ELEGY WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCHYARD Thomas Gray 360 THE SHIPWRECK Robert Louis Stevenson 371 ELEPHANT HUNTING Roualeyn Gordon Cumming 385 SOME CLEVER MONKEYS Thomas Belt 402 POOR RICHARD'S ALMANAC Benjamin Franklin 407 GEORGE ROGERS CLARK 422 THE CAPTURE OF VINCENNES George Rogers Clark 428 THREE SUNDAYS IN A WEEK Edgar Allan Poe 453 THE MODERN BELLE Stark 463 WIDOW MACHREE Samuel Lover 464 LIMESTONE BROTH Gerald Griffin 467 THE KNOCK-OUT Davy Crockett 471 THE COUNTRY SQUIRE Thomas Yriarte 474 TO MY INFANT SON Thomas Hood 478
PRONUNCIATION OF PROPER NAMES 481
For Classification of Selections, see General Index, at end of Volume X
PAGE THE TOURNAMENT (Color Plate) Donn P. Crane FRONTISPIECE THE LONG ARRAY OF HELMETS BRIGHT Herbert N. Rudeen 5 "LIE THERE," HE CRIED, "FELL PIRATE" Herbert N. Rudeen 13 HORATIO IN HIS HARNESS, HALTING UPON ONE KNEE Herbert N. Rudeen 21 "BOATMAN, DO NOT TARRY" Herbert N. Rudeen 24 SIR WALTER SCOTT (Halftone) 26 ABBOTSFORD (Color Plate) 30 THRONG GOING TO THE LISTS R. F. Babcock 41 THE DISINHERITED KNIGHT UNHORSES BRYAN R. F. Babcock 59 THE ARMOUR MAKERS R. F. Babcock 69 PRINCE JOHN THROWS DOWN THE TRUNCHEON R. F. Babcock 85 ROWENA CROWNING DISINHERITED KNIGHT R. F. Babcock 89 "RAB, YE THIEF!" Herbert N. Rudeen 103 JAMES BURIED HIS WIFE Herbert N. Rudeen 117 SHE REACHES DOWN TO DIP HER TOE Herbert N. Rudeen 125 POOR TRAY IS DEAD Herbert N. Rudeen 132 "WHITHER THOU GOEST, I WILL GO" R. F. Babcock 145 RUTH GLEANING R. F. Babcock 147 THE WRITING ON THE WALL Louis Grell 155 SOHRAB AND PERAN-WISA (Color Plate) Louis Grell 174 PERAN-WISA GIVES SOHRAB'S CHALLENGE R. F. Babcock 179 THE SPEAR RENT THE TOUGH PLATES R. F. Babcock 191 RUSTUM SORROWS OVER SOHRAB R. F. Babcock 203 MATTHEW ARNOLD (Halftone) 204 JOHN HOWARD PAYNE (Halftone) 222 THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE HOME Iris Weddell White 225 FOR AULD LANG SYNE Herbert N. Rudeen 230 CHARLES DICKENS (Halftone) 232 THE CLERK SMILED FAINTLY Iris Weddell White 255 "IN LIFE I WAS YOUR PARTNER, JACOB MARLEY" Iris Weddell White 263 IN THE BEST PARLOR Iris Weddell White 281 THE FIDDLER STRUCK UP "SIR ROGER DE COVERLEY" Iris Weddell White 285 UPON THE COUCH THERE SAT A JOLLY GIANT Iris Weddell White 297 BOB AND TINY TIM (Color Plate) Hazel Frazee 304 THERE NEVER WAS SUCH A GOOSE Iris Weddell White 307 "SO I AM TOLD," RETURNED THE SECOND Iris Weddell White 329 HE READ HIS OWN NAME Iris Weddell White 344 HE STOOD BY THE WINDOW—GLORIOUS! Iris Weddell White 348 "A MERRY CHRISTMAS, BOB!" Iris Weddell White 355 HOMEWARD PLODS HIS WEARY WAY R. F. Babcock 361 THE COUNTRY CHURCHYARD R. F. Babcock 369 I FOUND I WAS HOLDING TO A SPAR Herbert N. Rudeen 372 WITH BEATING HEART I APPROACHED A VIEW R. F. Babcock 397 A CEBUS MONKEY Herbert N. Rudeen 405 THE SLEEPING FOX CATCHES NO POULTRY Herbert N. Rudeen 411 CLARK TOOK THE LEAD R. F. Babcock 433 WE MET AT THE CHURCH R. F. Babcock 449 "WELL, THEN, BOBBY, MY BOY" Herbert N. Rudeen 455 IN KATE, HOWEVER, I HAD A FIRM FRIEND Herbert N. Rudeen 458 "FAITH, I WISH YOU'D TAKE ME!" Herbert N. Rudeen 465 HE SOON SEES A FARMHOUSE AT A LITTLE DISTANCE Herbert N. Rudeen 468 THE SQUIRE'S LIBRARY Iris Weddell White 475 "THERE GOES MY INK!" Lucille Enders 479
By LORD MACAULAY
NOTE.—This spirited poem by Lord Macaulay is founded on one of the most popular Roman legends. While the story is based on facts, we can by no means be certain that all of the details are historical.
According to Roman legendary history, the Tarquins, Lucius Tarquinius Priscus and Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, were among the early kings of Rome. The reign of the former was glorious, but that of the latter was most unjust and tyrannical. Finally the unscrupulousness of the king and his son reached such a point that it became unendurable to the people, who in 509 B. C. rose in rebellion and drove the entire family from Rome. Tarquinius Superbus appealed to Lars Porsena, the powerful king of Clusium for aid and the story of the expedition against Rome is told in this poem.
Lars Porsena of Clusium[1-1] By the Nine Gods[1-2] he swore That the great house of Tarquin Should suffer wrong no more. By the Nine Gods he swore it, And named a trysting day, And bade his messengers ride forth East and west and south and north, To summon his array.
East and west and south and north The messengers ride fast, And tower and town and cottage Have heard the trumpet's blast. Shame on the false Etruscan Who lingers in his home, When Porsena of Clusium Is on the march for Rome.
The horsemen and the footmen Are pouring in amain From many a stately market-place; From many a fruitful plain. From many a lonely hamlet, Which, hid by beech and pine, Like an eagle's nest, hangs on the crest Of purple Apennine;
* * * * *
There be thirty chosen prophets, The wisest of the land, Who alway by Lars Porsena Both morn and evening stand: Evening and morn the Thirty Have turned the verses o'er, Traced from the right on linen white[2-3] By mighty seers of yore.
And with one voice the Thirty Have their glad answer given: "Go forth, go forth, Lars Porsena; Go forth, beloved of Heaven: Go, and return in glory To Clusium's royal dome; And hang round Nurscia's[3-4] altars The golden shields of Rome."
And now hath every city Sent up her tale[3-5] of men: The foot are fourscore thousand, The horse are thousand ten. Before the gates of Sutrium[3-6] Is met the great array. A proud man was Lars Porsena Upon the trysting day.
For all the Etruscan armies Were ranged beneath his eye, And many a banished Roman, And many a stout ally; And with a mighty following To join the muster came The Tusculan Mamilius, Prince of the Latian[3-7] name.
But by the yellow Tiber Was tumult and affright: From all the spacious champaign[3-8] To Rome men took their flight. A mile around the city, The throng stopped up the ways; A fearful sight it was to see Through two long nights and days.
For aged folks on crutches, And women great with child, And mothers sobbing over babes That clung to them and smiled, And sick men borne in litters High on the necks of slaves, And troops of sunburnt husbandmen With reaping-hooks and staves,
And droves of mules and asses Laden with skins of wine, And endless flocks of goats and sheep, And endless herds of kine, And endless trains of wagons That creaked beneath the weight Of corn-sacks and of household goods, Choked every roaring gate.
Now, from the rock Tarpeian[4-9] Could the wan burghers spy The line of blazing villages Red in the midnight sky. The Fathers of the City,[5-10] They sat all night and day, For every hour some horseman came With tidings of dismay.
To eastward and to westward Have spread the Tuscan bands; Nor house nor fence nor dovecote In Crustumerium stands. Verbenna down to Ostia[5-11] Hath wasted all the plain; Astur hath stormed Janiculum,[5-12] And the stout guards are slain.
Iwis,[5-13] in all the Senate, There was no heart so bold, But sore it ached, and fast it beat, When that ill news was told. Forthwith up rose the Consul,[5-14] Uprose the Fathers all; In haste they girded up their gowns, And hied them to the wall.
They held a council standing Before the River-Gate; Short time was there, ye well may guess, For musing or debate. Out spake the Consul roundly: "The bridge must straight go down; For since Janiculum is lost, Naught else can save the town."
Just then a scout came flying, All wild with haste and fear; "To arms! to arms! Sir Consul: Lars Porsena is here." On the low hills to westward The Consul fixed his eye, And saw the swarthy storm of dust Rise fast along the sky.
And nearer fast and nearer Doth the red whirlwind come; And louder still and still more loud, From underneath that rolling cloud, Is heard the trumpet's war-note proud, The trampling, and the hum. And plainly and more plainly Now through the gloom appears, Far to left and far to right, In broken gleams of dark-blue light, The long array of helmets bright, The long array of spears.
And plainly, and more plainly Above that glimmering line, Now might ye see the banners Of twelve fair cities shine; But the banner of proud Clusium Was highest of them all, The terror of the Umbrian, The terror of the Gaul.
Fast by the royal standard, O'erlooking all the war, Lars Porsena of Clusium Sat in his ivory car. By the right wheel rode Mamilius, Prince of the Latian name, And by the left false Sextus,[7-15] That wrought the deed of shame.
But when the face of Sextus Was seen among the foes, A yell that bent the firmament From all the town arose. On the house-tops was no woman But spat toward him and hissed, No child but screamed out curses, And shook its little fist.
But the Consul's brow was sad, And the Consul's speech was low, And darkly looked he at the wall, And darkly at the foe. "Their van will be upon us Before the bridge goes down; And if they once may win the bridge, What hope to save the town?"
Then out spake brave Horatius, The Captain of the Gate: "To every man upon this earth Death cometh soon or late. And how can man die better Than facing fearful odds, For the ashes of his fathers, And the temples of his gods,
"And for the tender mother Who dandled him to rest, And for the wife who nurses His baby at her breast, And for the holy maidens Who feed the eternal flame,[8-16] To save them from false Sextus That wrought the deed of shame?
"Hew down the bridge, Sir Consul, With all the speed ye may; I, with two more to help me, Will hold the foe in play. In yon strait path a thousand May well be stopped by three. Now who will stand on either hand, And keep the bridge with me?"
Then out spake Spurius Lartius; A Ramnian proud was he: "Lo, I will stand at thy right hand, And keep the bridge with thee." And out spake strong Herminius; Of Titian blood was he: "I will abide on thy left side, And keep the bridge with thee."
"Horatius," quoth the Consul, "As thou sayest, so let it be." And straight against that great array Forth went the dauntless Three. For Romans in Rome's quarrel Spared neither land nor gold, Nor son nor wife, nor limb nor life, In the brave days of old.
Then none was for a party; Then all were for the state; Then the great man helped the poor, And the poor man loved the great: Then lands were fairly portioned; Then spoils were fairly sold: The Romans were like brothers In the brave days of old.
Now while the Three were tightening Their harness on their backs, The Consul was the foremost man To take in hand an axe: And Fathers mixed with Commons[10-17] Seized hatchet, bar, and crow, And smote upon the planks above, And loosed the props below.
Meanwhile the Tuscan army, Right glorious to behold, Came flashing back the noonday light, Rank behind rank, like surges bright Of a broad sea of gold. Four hundred trumpets sounded A peal of warlike glee, As that great host, with measured tread, And spears advanced, and ensigns spread, Rolled slowly towards the bridge's head, Where stood the dauntless Three.
The Three stood calm and silent, And looked upon the foes, And a great shout of laughter From all the vanguard rose; And forth three chiefs came spurring Before that deep array; To earth they sprang, their swords they drew, And lifted high their shields, and flew To win the narrow way;
Aunus from green Tifernum,[11-18] Lord of the Hill of Vines; And Seius, whose eight hundred slaves Sicken in Ilva's mines; And Picus, long to Clusium Vassal in peace and war, Who led to fight his Umbrian powers From that gray crag where, girt with towers, The fortress of Nequinum lowers O'er the pale waves of Nar.
Stout Lartius hurled down Aunus Into the stream beneath: Herminius struck at Seius, And clove him to the teeth: At Picus brave Horatius Darted one fiery thrust; And the proud Umbrian's gilded arms Clashed in the bloody dust.
Then Ocnus of Falerii Rushed on the Roman Three: And Lausulus of Urgo, The rover of the sea; And Aruns of Volsinium, Who slew the great wild boar, The great wild boar that had his den Amidst the reeds of Cosa's fen, And wasted fields, and slaughtered men, Along Albinia's shore.
Herminius smote down Aruns: Lartius laid Ocnus low: Right to the heart of Lausulus Horatius sent a blow. "Lie there," he cried, "fell pirate! No more, aghast and pale, From Ostia's walls the crowd shall mark The track of thy destroying bark. No more Campania's[12-19] hinds[12-20] shall fly To woods and caverns when they spy Thy thrice accursed sail."
But now no sound of laughter Was heard among the foes. A wild and wrathful clamor From all the vanguard rose. Six spears' lengths from the entrance Halted that deep array, And for a space no man came forth To win the narrow way.
But hark! the cry is Astur: And lo! the ranks divide; And the great Lord of Luna Comes with his stately stride. Upon his ample shoulders Clangs loud the fourfold shield, And in his hand he shakes the brand Which none but he can wield.
He smiled on those bold Romans A smile serene and high; He eyed the flinching Tuscans, And scorn was in his eye. Quoth he, "The she-wolf's litter[14-21] Stand savagely at bay: But will ye dare to follow, If Astur clears the way?"
Then, whirling up his broadsword With both hands to the height, He rushed against Horatius, And smote with all his might. With shield and blade Horatius Right deftly turned the blow. The blow, though turned, came yet too nigh; It missed his helm, but gashed his thigh: The Tuscans raised a joyful cry To see the red blood flow.
He reeled, and on Herminius He leaned one breathing-space; Then, like a wild-cat mad with wounds, Sprang right at Astur's face. Through teeth, and skull, and helmet, So fierce a thrust he sped, The good sword stood a handbreadth out Behind the Tuscan's head.
And the great Lord of Luna Fell at that deadly stroke, As falls on Mount Alvernus A thunder-smitten oak. Far o'er the crashing forest The giant arms lie spread; And the pale augurs, muttering low, Gaze on the blasted head.
On Astur's throat Horatius Right firmly pressed his heel, And thrice and four times tugged amain, Ere he wrenched out the steel. "And see," he cried, "the welcome, Fair guests, that waits you here! What noble Lucumo comes next To taste our Roman cheer?"
But at his haughty challenge A sullen murmur ran, Mingled of wrath and shame and dread, Along that glittering van. There lacked not men of prowess, Nor men of lordly race; For all Etruria's noblest Were round the fatal place.
But all Etruria's noblest Felt their hearts sink to see On the earth the bloody corpses, In the path the dauntless Three: And, from the ghastly entrance Where those bold Romans stood, All shrank, like boys who unaware, Ranging the woods to start a hare, Come to the mouth of the dark lair Where, growling low, a fierce old bear Lies amidst bones and blood.
Was none who would be foremost To lead such dire attack: But those behind cried "Forward!" And those before cried "Back!" And backward now and forward Wavers the deep array; And on the tossing sea of steel, To and fro the standards reel; And the victorious trumpet-peal Dies fitfully away.
Yet one man for one moment Stood out before the crowd; Well known was he to all the Three, And they gave him greeting loud. "Now welcome, welcome, Sextus! Now welcome to thy home! Why dost thou stay, and turn away? Here lies the road to Rome."
Thrice looked he at the city; Thrice looked he at the dead; And thrice came on in fury, And thrice turned back in dread; And, white with fear and hatred, Scowled at the narrow way Where, wallowing in a pool of blood, The bravest Tuscans lay.
But meanwhile axe and lever Have manfully been plied; And now the bridge hangs tottering Above the boiling tide. "Come back, come back, Horatius!" Loud cried the Fathers all. "Back, Lartius! back, Herminius! Back, ere the ruin fall!"
Back darted Spurius Lartius; Herminius darted back: And, as they passed, beneath their feet They felt the timbers crack. But when they turned their faces, And on the farther shore Saw brave Horatius stand alone, They would have crossed once more.
But with a crash like thunder Fell every loosened beam, And, like a dam, the mighty wreck Lay right athwart the stream; And a long shout of triumph Rose from the walls of Rome, As to the highest turret-tops Was splashed the yellow foam.
And, like a horse unbroken When first he feels the rein, The furious river struggled hard, And tossed his tawny mane, And burst the curb, and bounded, Rejoicing to be free, And whirling down, in fierce career, Battlement, and plank, and pier, Rushed headlong to the sea.
Alone stood brave Horatius, But constant still in mind; Thrice thirty thousand foes before, And the broad flood behind. "Down with him!" cried false Sextus, With a smile on his pale face. "Now yield thee," cried Lars Porsena, "Now yield thee to our grace."
Round turned he, as not deigning Those craven ranks to see; Naught spake he to Lars Porsena, To Sextus naught spake he; But he saw on Palatinus[18-22] The white porch of his home; And he spake to the noble river That rolls by the towers of Rome.
"O Tiber! father Tiber![18-23] To whom the Romans pray, A Roman's life, a Roman's arms, Take thou in charge this day!" So he spake, and speaking sheathed The good sword by his side, And with his harness on his back Plunged headlong in the tide.
No sound of joy or sorrow Was heard from either bank; But friends and foes in dumb surprise, With parted lips and straining eyes, Stood gazing where he sank; And when above the surges They saw his crest appear, All Rome sent forth a rapturous cry, And even the ranks of Tuscany Could scarce forbear to cheer.
But fiercely ran the current, Swollen high by months of rain: And fast his blood was flowing, And he was sore in pain, And heavy with his armor, And spent with changing blows: And oft they thought him sinking, But still again he rose.
Never, I ween, did swimmer, In such an evil case, Struggle through such a raging flood Safe to the landing-place: But his limbs were borne up bravely By the brave heart within, And our good father Tiber Bore bravely up his chin.
"Curse on him!" quoth false Sextus; "Will not the villain drown? But for this stay, ere close of day We should have sacked the town!" "Heaven help him!" quoth Lars Porsena, "And bring him safe to shore; For such a gallant feat of arms Was never seen before."
And now he feels the bottom; Now on dry earth he stands; Now round him throng the Fathers To press his gory hands; And now, with shouts and clapping, And noise of weeping loud, He enters through the River-Gate, Borne by the joyous crowd.
They gave him of the corn-land, That was of public right, As much as two strong oxen Could plow from morn till night; And they made a molten image, And set it up on high, And there it stands unto this day To witness if I lie.
It stands in the Comitium,[20-24] Plain for all folk to see; Horatius in his harness, Halting upon one knee: And underneath is written, In letters all of gold, How valiantly he kept the bridge In the brave days of old.
And still his name sounds stirring Unto the men of Rome, As the trumpet-blast that cries to them To charge the Volscian[20-25] home; And wives still pray to Juno[20-26] For boys with hearts as bold As his who kept the bridge so well In the brave days of old.
And in the nights of winter, When the cold north-winds blow, And the long howling of the wolves Is heard amidst the snow; When round the lonely cottage Roars loud the tempest's din, And the good logs of Algidus Roar louder yet within:
When the oldest cask is opened, And the largest lamp is lit; When the chestnuts glow in the embers, And the kid turns on the spit; When young and old in circle Around the firebrands close; And the girls are weaving baskets, And the lads are shaping bows;
When the goodman mends his armor, And trims his helmet's plume; When the goodwife's shuttle merrily Goes flashing through the loom,— With weeping and with laughter Still is the story told, How well Horatius kept the bridge In the brave days of old.[22-27]
[1-1] Clusium was a powerful town in Etruria.
[1-2] According to the religion of the Etruscans there were nine great gods. An oath by them was considered the most binding oath that a man could take.
[2-3] This line shows us that the writing of the Etruscans was done backwards, as we should consider it; that is, they wrote from right to left instead of from left to right.
[3-4] Nurscia was a city of the Sabines.
[3-5] Tale here means number.
[3-6] Sutrium was an Etruscan town twenty-nine miles from Rome.
[3-7] The Latins were an Italian race who, even before the dawn of history, dwelt on the plains south of the Tiber. Rome was supposed to be a colony of Alba Longa, the chief Latin city, but the Latin peoples were in the fourth century brought into complete subjection to Rome.
[3-8] Champaign, or campagna, means any open, level tract of country. The name is specifically applied to the extensive plains about Rome.
[4-9] A part of the Capitoline, one of the seven hills on which Rome is built, was called the Tarpeian Rock, after Tarpeia, daughter of an early governor of the citadel on the Capitoline. According to the popular legend, when the Sabines came against Rome, Tarpeia promised to open the gate of the fortress to them if they would give her what they wore on their left arms. It was their jewelry which she coveted, but she was punished for her greed and treachery, for when the soldiers had entered the fortress they hurled their shields upon her, crushing her to death.
[5-10] Fathers of the City was the name given to the members of the Roman Senate.
[5-11] Ostia was the port of Rome, situated at the mouth of the Tiber.
[5-12] Janiculum is a hill on the west bank of the Tiber at Rome. It was strongly fortified, and commanded the approach to Rome.
[5-13] Iwis is an obsolete word meaning truly.
[5-14] When the kings were banished from Rome the people vowed that never again should one man hold the supreme power. Two chief rulers were therefore chosen, and were given the name of consuls.
[7-15] Sextus was the son of the last king of Rome. It was a shameful deed of his which finally roused the people against the Tarquin family.
[8-16] In the temple of the goddess Vesta a sacred flame was kept burning constantly, and it was thought that the consequences to the city would be most dire if the fire were allowed to go out. The Vestal virgins, priestesses who tended the flame, were held in the highest honor.
[10-17] The Roman people were divided into two classes, the patricians, to whom belonged all the privileges of citizenship, and the plebeians, who were not allowed to hold office or even to own property. Macaulay gives the English name Commons to the plebeians.
[11-18] A discussion as to who these chiefs were, or as to where the places mentioned were located, would be profitless. The notes attempt to give only such information as will aid in understanding the story.
[12-19] Campania is another name for the campagna.
[12-20] Hinds here means peasants.
[14-21] Romulus, the founder of Rome, and Remus, his brother, were, according to the legend, rescued and brought up by a she-wolf, after they had been cast into the Tiber to die.
[18-22] The Palatine is one of the seven hills of Rome.
[18-23] The Romans personified the Tiber River, and even offered prayers to it.
[20-24] The Comitium was the old Roman polling-place, a square situated between the Forum and the Senate House.
[20-25] The Volscians were among the most determined of the Italian enemies of Rome.
[20-26] Juno was the goddess who was thought of as presiding over marriage and the birth of children.
[22-27] You can tell from these last three stanzas, that Macaulay is writing his poem, not as an Englishman of the nineteenth century, but as if he were a Roman in the days when Rome, though powerful, had not yet become the luxurious city which it afterward was. That is, he thought of himself as writing in the days of the Republic, not in the days of the Empire.
LORD ULLIN'S DAUGHTER
By THOMAS CAMPBELL
A chieftain, to the Highlands bound, Cries, "Boatman, do not tarry! And I'll give thee a silver pound, To row us o'er the ferry."
"Now who be ye, would cross Lochgyle, This dark and stormy water?" "O, I'm the chief of Ulva's isle, And this Lord Ullin's daughter.
"And fast before her father's men Three days we've fled together, For should he find us in the glen, My blood would stain the heather.
"His horsemen hard behind us ride; Should they our steps discover, Then who will cheer my bonny bride When they have slain her lover?"
Out spoke the hardy Highland wight, "I'll go, my chief—I'm ready; It is not for your silver bright, But for your winsome lady:
"And by my word! the bonny bird In danger shall not tarry; So though the waves are raging white, I'll row you o'er the ferry."
By this the storm grew loud apace, The water-wraith was shrieking; And in the scowl of heaven each face Grew dark as they were speaking.
But still as wilder blew the wind, And as the night grew drearer, Adown the glen rode armed men, Their trampling sounded nearer.
"O haste thee, haste!" the lady cries, "Though tempests round us gather; I'll meet the raging of the skies, But not an angry father."
The boat had left a stormy land, A stormy sea before her,— When, oh! too strong for human hand, The tempest gather'd o'er her.
And still they row'd amidst the roar Of waters fast prevailing: Lord Ullin reach'd that fatal shore, His wrath was changed to wailing.
For sore dismay'd, through storm and shade, His child he did discover:— One lovely hand she stretch'd for aid, And one was round her lover.
"Come back! come back!" he cried in grief, "Across this stormy water: And I'll forgive your Highland chief, My daughter!—oh my daughter!"
'Twas vain: the loud waves lashed the shore, Return or aid preventing; The waters wild went o'er his child, And he was left lamenting.
SIR WALTER SCOTT
By GRACE E. SELLON
Of the old and honorable families of Scotland there are perhaps none more worthy than those from which were descended the parents of Sir Walter Scott. In the long line of ancestors on either side were fearless knights and bold chiefs of the Scottish Border whose adventures became a delightful heritage to the little boy born into the Edinburgh family of Scott in 1771. Perhaps his natural liking for strange and exciting events would have made him even more eager than other children to be told fairy stories and tales of real heroes of his own land. But even had this not been so, the way in which he was forced to spend his early childhood was such that entertainment of this kind was about all that he could enjoy. He was not two years old when, after a brief illness, he lost the use of one of his legs and thus became unable to run about as before, or even to stand. Soon afterward he was sent to his grandfather's farm at Sandy-Knowe, where it was thought that the country life would help him. There he spent his days in listening to lively stories of Scotsmen who had lived in the brave and rollicking fashion of Robin Hood, in being read to by his aunt or in lying out among the rocks, cared for by his grandfather's old shepherd. When thus out of doors he found so much of interest about him that he could not lie still and would try so hard to move himself about that at length he became able to rise to his feet and even to walk and run.
Except for his lameness, he grew so well and strong that when he was about eight years old he was placed with his brothers in the upper class of the Edinburgh grammar school, known as the High School. Though he had had some lessons in Latin with a private tutor, he was behind his class in this subject, and being a high-spirited and sensitive boy, he felt rather keenly this disadvantage. Perhaps the fact that he could not be one of the leaders of his class made him careless; at any rate, he could never be depended upon to prepare his lesson, and at no time did he make a consistently good record. However, he found not a little comfort for his failure as a student in his popularity as a storyteller and kind-hearted comrade. Among the boys of his own rank in the school he won great admiration for his never-ending supply of exciting narratives and his willingness to give help upon lessons that he would otherwise have left undone.
At the end of three years his class was promoted, and he found the new teacher much more to his liking. Indeed, his ability to appreciate the meaning and beauty of the Latin works studied became recognized: he began to make translations in verse that won praise, and, with a new feeling of distinction, he was thus urged on to earnest efforts. After leaving this school, he continued his excellent progress in the study of Latin for a short time under a teacher in the village of Kelso, where he had gone to visit an aunt.
Meanwhile his hours out of school were spent in ways most pleasing to his lively imagination. His lameness did not debar him from the most active sports, nor even from the vigorous encounters in which, either with a single opponent or with company set against company, the Scotch schoolboys defended their reputation as hard fighters. One of these skirmishes that made a lasting impression upon Walter Scott he himself tells us of, and his biographer, Lockhart, has quoted it in describing the hardy boyhood days of the great writer. It frequently happened that bands of children from different parts of Edinburgh would wage war with each other, fighting with stones and clubs and other like weapons. Perhaps the city authorities thought that these miniature battles afforded good training: at least the police seem not to have interfered. The boys in the neighborhood where Walter lived had formed a company that had been given a beautiful standard by a young noblewoman. This company fought every week with a band composed of boys of the poorer classes. The leader of the latter was a fine-looking young fellow who bore himself as bravely as any chieftain. In the midst of a hotly fought contest, this boy had all but captured the enemy's proudly erected standard when he was struck severely to the ground with a cruelly heavy weapon. The dismayed companies fled in all directions, and the lad was taken to the hospital. In a few days, however, he recovered; and then it was that through a friendly baker Walter Scott and his brothers were able to get word to their mistreated opponent and to offer a sum of money in token of their regret. But Green-breeks, as the young leader had been dubbed, refused to accept this, and said besides that they might be sure of his not telling what he knew of the affair in which he had been hurt, for he felt it a disgrace to be a talebearer. This generous conduct so impressed young Scott and his companions that always afterward the fighting was fair.
It must have been with not a little difficulty that this warlike spirit was subdued and made obedient to the strict rules observed in the Presbyterian home on Sunday. To a boy whose mind was filled with stirring deeds of adventure and all sorts of vivid legends and romances, the long, gloomy services seemed a tiresome burden. Monday, however, brought new opportunities for reading favorite poets and works of history and travel, and many were the spare moments through the week that were spent thus. The marvelous characters and incidents in Spenser's Faerie Queene were a never-ending source of enjoyment, and later Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry was discovered by the young reader with a gladness that made him forget everything else in the world. "I remember well," he has written, "the spot where I read these volumes for the first time. It was beneath a huge platanus tree, in the ruins of what had been intended for an old-fashioned arbor in the garden I have mentioned. The summer day sped onward so fast that, notwithstanding the sharp appetite of thirteen, I forgot the hour of dinner, was sought for with anxiety, and was found still entranced in my intellectual banquet. To read and to remember was in this instance the same thing, and henceforth I overwhelmed my schoolfellows, and all who would hearken to me, with tragical recitations from the ballads of Bishop Percy. The first time, too, I could scrape a few shillings together, which were not common occurrences with me, I bought unto myself a copy of these beloved volumes; nor do I believe I ever read a book half so frequently, or with half the enthusiasm."
After his return from Kelso, Walter was sent to college, but with no better results than in the early years at the High School. The Latin teacher was so mild in his requirements that it was easy to neglect the lessons, and in beginning the study of Greek the boy was again at a disadvantage, for nearly all his classmates, unlike himself, knew a little of the language. He was scarcely more successful in a private course in mathematics, but did well in his classes in moral philosophy. History and civil and municipal law completed his list of studies. So meager did this education seem that in later years Scott wrote in a brief autobiography, "If, however, it should ever fall to the lot of youth to peruse these pages—let such a reader remember that it is with the deepest regret that I recollect in my manhood the opportunities of learning which I neglected in my youth: that through every part of my literary career I have felt pinched and hampered by my own ignorance: and that I would at this moment give half the reputation I have had the good fortune to acquire, if by doing so I could rest the remaining part upon a sound foundation of learning and science."
It had been decided that Walter should follow his father's profession, that of the law, and accordingly he entered his father's office, to serve a five years' apprenticeship. Though it may seem surprising, in view of his former indolence, it is true that he gave himself to his work with great industry. At the same time, however, he continued to read stories of adventure and history and other similar works with as much zest as ever, and entered into an agreement with a friend whereby each was to entertain the other with original romances. The monotony of office duties was also relieved by many trips about the country, in which the keenest delight was felt in natural beauties and in the historical associations of old ruins and battlefields and other places of like interest. Then, too, there were literary societies that advanced the young law-apprentice both intellectually and socially. Thus the years with his father passed. Then, as he was to prepare himself for admission to the bar, he entered law classes in the University of Edinburgh, with the result that in 1792 he was admitted into the Faculty of Advocates.
The first years of his practice, though not without profit, might have seemed dull and irksome to the young lawyer, had not his summers been spent in journeys about Scotland in which he came into possession of a wealth of popular legends and ballads. It was during one of these excursions, made in 1797, that he met the attractive young French woman, Charlotte Carpenter, who a few months later became his wife. A previous and unfortunate love affair had considerably sobered Scott's ardent nature, but his friendship and marriage with Miss Carpenter brought him much of the happiness of which he had believed himself to have been deprived.
The young couple spent their winters in Edinburgh and their summers at the suburb Lasswade. During the resting time passed in the country cottage, Scott found enjoyment in composing poems based upon some of the legends and superstitions with which he had become familiar in his jaunts among ruined castles and scenes in the Highlands. Some of these verses, shown in an offhand manner to James Ballantyne, who was the head of a printing establishment in Kelso, met with such favorable recognition that Scott was encouraged to lay bare to his friend a plan that had been forming in his mind for publishing a great collection of Scotch ballads. As a result Scott entered upon the work of editing them and by 1803 had published the three volumes of his Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. So successful was this venture that shortly afterward he began the Lay of the Last Minstrel, a lengthy poem in which his keen interest in the thrilling history of the Scottish Border found full expression. This poem, published in 1805, was heartily welcomed, and opened to its author the career for which he was best fitted.
The popularity of the Lay, together with the fact that the young poet had won no honors as an advocate, doubtless accounts for his retiring from the bar in 1806. He had been made sheriff of Selkirkshire in 1799, and to the income thus received was added that of a clerk of the Court of Sessions, an office to which he was appointed in 1806. More than this, he had in the preceding year become a partner in the Ballantyne printing establishment, which had moved to Edinburgh, and his growing fame as a writer seemed to promise that his association with this firm would bring considerable profit.
With a good income thus assured, Scott was able within the following four years to produce besides minor works, two other great poems, Marmion, a Tale of Flodden Field, and The Lady of the Lake. These rank with the most stirring and richly colored narrative poems in our language. So vivid, indeed, are the pictures of Scottish scenery found in The Lady of the Lake, that, according to a writer who was living when it was published, "The whole country rang with the praises of the poet—crowds set off to view the scenery of Loch Katrine, till then comparatively unknown; and as the book came out just before the season for excursions, every house and inn in that neighborhood was crammed with a constant succession of visitors."
This lively and pleasing story, with its graceful verse form, has become such a favorite for children's reading, that it seems very amusing to be told of the answer given by one of Scott's little daughters to a family friend who had asked her how she liked the poem: "Oh, I have not read it; papa says there's nothing so bad for young people as reading bad poetry." The biographer Lockhart recounts also a little incident in which young Walter Scott, returning from school with the marks of battle showing plainly on his face, was asked why he had been fighting, and replied, looking down in shame, that he had been called a lassie. Never having heard of even the title of his father's poem, the boy had fiercely resented being named, by some of his playmates, The Lady of the Lake.
In order to fulfil his duties as sheriff, Scott had in 1804 leased the estate of Ashestiel, and in this wild and beautiful stretch of country on the Tweed River had spent his summers. When his lease expired in 1811, he bought a farm of one hundred acres extending along the same river, and in the following year removed with his family to the cottage on this new property. This was the simple beginning of the magnificent Abbotsford home. Year after year changes were made, and land was added to the estate until by the close of 1824 a great castle had been erected. The building and furnishing of this mansion were of the keenest interest to its owner, an interest that was expressed probably with most delight in the two wonderful armories containing weapons borne by many heroes of history, and in the library with its carved oak ceiling, its bookcases filled with from fifteen to twenty thousand volumes, among which are some of unusual value, and its handsome portrait of the eldest of Scott's sons.
The building of this splendid dwelling place shows Scott to have been exceptionally prosperous as a writer. Yet his way was by no means always smooth. In 1808 he had formed with the Ballantynes a publishing house that, as a result of poor management, failed completely in 1813. Scott bore the trouble with admirable coolness, and by means of good management averted further disaster and made arrangements for the continued publication of his works.
By this time he had found through the marked success of his novel Waverley, published in 1814, that a new and promising field lay before him. He decided then to give up poetry and devote himself especially to writing romances, in which his love of the picturesque and thrilling in history and of the noble and chivalrous in human character could find the widest range of expression. With marvelous industry he added one after another to the long series of his famous Waverley Novels. Perhaps the height of his power was reached in 1819 in the production of Ivanhoe, though Waverley, Guy Mannering and The Heart of Midlothian, previously written, as well as Kenilworth and Quentin Durward, published later, must also be given first rank. In the intervals of his work on these novels, Scott also wrote reviews and essays and miscellaneous articles. He became recognized as the most gifted prose writer of his age, and his works, it is said, became "the daily food, not only of his countrymen, but of all educated Europe." He was sought after with eager homage by the wealthy and notable, and was given the title of baronet, yet remained as simple and sincere at heart as in the early days of his career.
With the sales of his books amounting to $50,000 or more a year, it is not strange that he should have felt his fortune assured. But again, and this time with the most serious results, he was deceived by the mismanagement of others. The printing firm of James Ballantyne and Company, in which he had remained a partner, became bankrupt in 1826. Had it not been for a high sense of honor, he would have withdrawn with the others of the firm; but the sense of his great debt pressed upon him so sorely that he agreed to pay all that he owed, at whatever cost to himself. For the remaining six years of his life he worked as hard as failing health would allow, and the strain of his labor told on him severely.
At length he consented to a trip to southern Europe, but the change did not bring back his health. Not long after his return to Abbotsford, in 1832, he called his son-in-law to his bedside early one morning, and speaking in calm tones, said: "Lockhart, I may have but a minute to speak to you. My dear, be a good man—be virtuous—be religious—be a good man. Nothing else will give you any comfort when you come to lie here." After a few words more he asked God's blessing on all in the household and then fell into a quiet sleep from which he did not awake on earth.
Had Scott lived but a few years longer he would undoubtedly have paid off all his voluntarily assumed obligations. As it was, all his debts were liquidated in 1847 by the sale of copyrights.
Many years have passed since the death of Sir Walter Scott, and to the young readers of to-day the time in which he lived may seem far away and indistinct. But every boy and girl can share with him the pleasure that he felt, all his life, in stories of battle on sea and land, in love tales of knights and ladies, in mysterious superstitions and in everything else that spurs one on at the liveliest speed through the pages of a book. These interests and delights of his boyhood he never outgrew. They kept him always young at heart and gave to his works a freshness and brightness that few writers have been able to retain throughout their lives.
When he became laird of Abbotsford, the same sunny nature and kindly feeling for others that had drawn about him many comrades in his schoolboy days, attracted to him crowds of visitors who, though they intruded on his time, were received with generous courtesy. His tall, strongly built figure was often the center of admiring groups of guests who explored with him the wonders and beauties of Abbotsford, listening meanwhile to his humorous stories. At such times, with his clear, wide-open blue eyes, and his pleasant smile lighting his somewhat heavy features, he would have been called a handsome man. Of all who came to the home at Abbotsford, none were more gladly received than the children of the tenants who lived in the little homes on the estate. Each year, on the last morning in December, it was customary for them to pay a visit of respect to the laird, and though they may not have known it, he found more pleasure in this simple ceremony than in all the others of the Christmas season.
To these gentler qualities of his nature was joined not a little of the hardihood of the Scotch heroes whose lives he has celebrated. The same "high spirit with which, in younger days," he has written, "I used to enjoy a Tam-o'-Shanter ride through darkness, wind and rain, the boughs groaning and cracking over my head, the good horse free to the road and impatient for home, and feeling the weather as little as I did," was that which bore him bravely through misfortune and gave him the splendid courage with which in his last years he faced the ruin of his fortune. With an influence as strong and wholesome as that of his works as a writer, remains the example of his loyal, industrious life.
By SIR WALTER SCOTT
NOTE.—Scott's Ivanhoe, from which this account of The Tournament is taken, belongs to the class of books known as historical novels. Such a book does not necessarily have as the center of its plot an historical incident, nor does it necessarily have an historical character as hero or heroine; it does, however, introduce historic scenes or historic people, or both. In Ivanhoe, the events of which take place in England in the twelfth century, during the reign of Richard I, both the king and his brother John appear, though they are by no means the chief characters. The great movements known as the Crusades, while they are frequently mentioned and give a sort of an atmosphere to the book, do not influence the plot directly.
Ivanhoe does much more, however, than introduce us casually to Richard and John; it gives us a striking picture of customs and manners in the twelfth century. The story is not made to halt for long descriptions, but the events themselves and their settings are so brought before us that we have much clearer pictures of them than hours of reading in histories and encyclopedias could give us. This account of a tournament, for instance, while it lets us see all the gorgeousness that was a part of such pageants, does not fail to give us also the cruel, brutal side.
The poor as well as the rich, the vulgar as well as the noble, in the event of a tournament, which was the grand spectacle of that age, felt as much interested as the half-starved citizen of Madrid, who has not a real left to buy provisions for his family, feels in the issue of a bull-fight. Neither duty nor infirmity could keep youth or age from such exhibitions. The passage of arms, as it was called, which was to take place at Ashby, in the county of Leicester, as champions of the first renown were to take the field in the presence of Prince John himself, who was expected to grace the lists, had attracted universal attention, and an immense confluence of persons of all ranks hastened upon the appointed morning to the place of combat.
The scene was singularly romantic. On the verge of a wood near Ashby, was an extensive meadow of the finest and most beautiful green turf, surrounded on one side by the forest, and fringed on the other by straggling oak trees, some of which had grown to an immense size. The ground, as if fashioned on purpose for the martial display which was intended, sloped gradually down on all sides to a level bottom, which was enclosed for the lists with strong palisades, forming a space of a quarter of a mile in length, and about half as broad. The form of the enclosure was an oblong square, save that the corners were considerably rounded off, in order to afford more convenience for the spectators. The openings for the entry of the combatants were at the northern and southern extremities of the lists, accessible by strong wooden gates, each wide enough to admit two horsemen riding abreast. At each of these portals were stationed two heralds, attended by six trumpets, as many pursuivants,[39-1] and a strong body of men-at-arms, for maintaining order, and ascertaining the quality of the knights who proposed to engage in this martial game.
On a platform beyond the southern entrance, formed by a natural elevation of the ground, were pitched five magnificent pavilions, adorned with pennons of russet and black, the chosen colors of the five knights challengers. The cords of the tents were of the same color. Before each pavilion was suspended the shield of the knight by whom it was occupied, and beside it stood his squire, quaintly disguised as a salvage[40-2] or silvan man, or in some other fantastic dress, according to the taste of his master and the character he was pleased to assume during the game. The central pavilion, as the place of honor, had been assigned to Brian de Bois-Guilbert, whose renown in all games of chivalry, no less than his connection with the knights who had undertaken this passage of arms, had occasioned him to be eagerly received into the company of challengers, and even adopted as their chief and leader, though he had so recently joined them. On one side of his tent were pitched those of Reginald Front-de-Boeuf and Richard (Philip) de Malvoisin, and on the other was the pavilion of Hugh de Grantmesnil, a noble baron in the vicinity, whose ancestor had been Lord High Steward of England in the time of the Conqueror and his son William Rufus. Ralph de Vipont, a knight of Saint John of Jerusalem, who had some ancient possessions at a place called Heather, near Ashby-de-la-Zouche, occupied the fifth pavilion.
From the entrance into the lists a gently sloping passage, ten yards in breadth, led up to the platform on which the tents were pitched. It was strongly secured by a palisade on each side, as was the esplanade in front of the pavilions, and the whole was guarded by men-at-arms.
The northern access to the lists terminated in a similar entrance of thirty feet in breadth, at the extremity of which was a large enclosed space for such knights as might be disposed to enter the lists with the challengers, behind which were placed tents containing refreshments of every kind for their accommodation, with armorers, farriers, and other attendants, in readiness to give their services wherever they might be necessary.
The exterior of the lists was in part occupied by temporary galleries, spread with tapestries and carpets, and accommodated with cushions for the convenience of those ladies and nobles who were expected to attend the tournament. A narrow space between these galleries and the lists gave accommodation for yeomanry and spectators of a better degree than the mere vulgar, and might be compared to the pit of a theatre. The promiscuous multitude arranged themselves upon large banks of turf prepared for the purpose, which, aided by the natural elevation of the ground, enabled them to overlook the galleries, and obtain a fair view into the lists. Besides the accommodation which these stations afforded, many hundred had perched themselves on the branches of the trees which surrounded the meadow; and even the steeple of a country church, at some distance, was crowded with spectators.
It only remains to notice respecting the general arrangement, that one gallery in the very centre of the eastern side of the lists, and consequently exactly opposite to the spot where the shock of the combat was to take place, was raised higher than the others, more richly decorated, and graced by a sort of throne and canopy, on which the royal arms were emblazoned. Squires, pages, and yeomen in rich liveries waited around this place of honor, which was designed for Prince John and his attendants. Opposite to this royal gallery was another, elevated to the same height, on the western side of the lists; and more gayly, if less sumptuously, decorated than that destined for the Prince himself. A train of pages and of young maidens, the most beautiful who could be selected, gayly dressed in fancy habits of green and pink, surrounded a throne decorated in the same colors; Among pennons and flags, bearing wounded hearts, burning hearts, bleeding hearts, bows and quivers, and all the commonplace emblems of the triumphs of Cupid, a blazoned inscription informed the spectators that this seat of honor was designed for La Royne de la Beaute et des Amours. But who was to represent the Queen of Beauty and of Love on the present occasion no one was prepared to guess.
Meanwhile, spectators of every description thronged forward to occupy their respective stations, and not without many quarrels concerning those which they were entitled to hold. Some of these were settled by the men-at-arms with brief ceremony; the shafts of their battle-axes and pummels of their swords being readily employed as arguments to convince the more refractory. Others, which involved the rival claims of more elevated persons, were determined by the heralds, or by the two marshals of the field, William de Wyvil and Stephen de Martival, who, armed at all points, rode up and down the lists to enforce and preserve good order among the spectators.
Gradually the galleries became filled with knights and nobles, in their robes of peace, whose long and rich-tinted mantles were contrasted with the gayer and more splendid habits of the ladies, who, in a greater proportion than even the men themselves, thronged to witness a sport which one would have thought too bloody and dangerous to afford their sex much pleasure. The lower and interior space was soon filled by substantial yeomen and burghers, and such of the lesser gentry as, from modesty, poverty, or dubious title, durst not assume any higher place. It was of course amongst these that the most frequent disputes for precedence occurred.
Suddenly the attention of every one was called to the entrance of Prince John, who at that moment entered the lists, attended by a numerous and gay train, consisting partly of laymen, partly of church-men, as light in their dress, and as gay in their demeanor, as their companions. Among the latter was the Prior of Jorvaulx, in the most gallant trim which a dignitary of the church could venture to exhibit. Fur and gold were not spared in his garments; and the points of his boots turned up so very far as to be attached not to his knees merely, but to his very girdle, and effectually prevented him from putting his foot into the stirrup. This, however, was a slight inconvenience to the gallant Abbot, who, perhaps even rejoicing in the opportunity to display his accomplished horsemanship before so many spectators, especially of the fair sex, dispensed with the use of these supports to a timid rider. The rest of Prince John's retinue consisted of the favorite leaders of his mercenary troops, some marauding barons and profligate attendants upon the court, with several Knights Templars and Knights of Saint John.
Attended by this gallant equipage, himself well mounted, and splendidly dressed in crimson and in gold, bearing upon his hand a falcon, and having his head covered by a rich fur bonnet, adorned with a circle of precious stones, from which his long curled hair escaped and overspread his shoulders, Prince John, upon a gray and high-mettled palfrey, caracoled within the lists at the head of his jovial party, laughing loud with his train, and eyeing with all the boldness of royal criticism the beauties who adorned the lofty galleries.
In the midst of Prince John's cavalcade, he suddenly stopped, and, appealing to the Prior of Jorvaulx, declared the principal business of the day had been forgotten.
"By my halidom," said he, "we have neglected, Sir Prior, to name the fair Sovereign of Love and of Beauty, by whose white hand the palm is to be distributed. For my part, I am liberal in my ideas, and I care not if I give my vote for the black-eyed Rebecca."
"Holy Virgin," answered the Prior, turning up his eyes in horror, "a Jewess! We should deserve to be stoned out of the lists; and I am not yet old enough to be a martyr. Besides, I swear by my patron saint that she is far inferior to the lovely Saxon, Rowena."
From the tone in which this was spoken, John saw the necessity of acquiescence. "I did but jest," he said; "and you turn upon me like an adder! Name whom you will, in the fiend's name, and please yourselves."
"Nay, nay," said De Bracy, "let the fair sovereign's throne remain unoccupied until the conqueror shall be named, and then let him choose the lady by whom it shall be filled. It will add another grace to his triumph, and teach fair ladies to prize the love of valiant knights, who can exalt them to such distinction."
"If Brian de Bois-Guilbert gain the prize," said the Prior, "I will gage my rosary that I name the Sovereign of Love and Beauty."
"Bois-Guilbert," answered De Bracy, "is a good lance; but there are others around these lists, Sir Prior, who will not fear to encounter him."
"Silence, sirs," said Waldemar, "and let the Prince assume his seat. The knights and spectators are alike impatient, the time advances, and highly fit it is that the sports should commence."
Prince John, though not yet a monarch, had in Waldemar Fitzurse all the inconveniences of a favorite minister, who, in serving his sovereign, must always do so in his own way. The Prince acquiesced, however, although his disposition was precisely of that kind which is apt to be obstinate upon trifles, and, assuming his throne, and being surrounded by his followers, gave signal to the heralds to proclaim the laws of the tournament, which were briefly as follows:
First, the five challengers were to undertake all comers.
Secondly, any knight proposing to combat might, if he pleased, select a special antagonist from among the challengers, by touching his shield. If he did so with the reverse of his lance, the trial of skill was made with what were called the arms of courtesy, that is, with lances at whose extremity a piece of round flat board was fixed, so that no danger was encountered, save from the shock of the horses and riders. But if the shield was touched with the sharp end of the lance, the combat was understood to be at outrance,[46-3] that is, the knights were to fight with sharp weapons, as in actual battle.
Thirdly, when the knights present had accomplished their vow, by each of them breaking five lances, the Prince was to declare the victor in the first day's tourney, who should receive as prize a war-horse of exquisite beauty and matchless strength; and in addition to this reward of valor, it was now declared, he should have the peculiar honor of naming the Queen of Love and Beauty, by whom the prize should be given on the ensuing day.
Fourthly, it was announced that, on the second day, there should be a general tournament, in which all the knights present, who were desirous to win praise, might take part; and being divided into two bands, of equal numbers, might fight it out manfully until the signal was given by Prince John to cease the combat. The elected Queen of Love and Beauty was then to crown the knight, whom the Prince should adjudge to have borne himself best in this second day, with a coronet composed of thin gold plate, cut into the shape of a laurel crown. On this second day the knightly games ceased. But on that which was to follow, feats of archery, of bull-baiting, and other popular amusements were to be practiced, for the more immediate amusement of the populace. In this manner did Prince John endeavor to lay the foundation of a popularity which he was perpetually throwing down by some inconsiderate act of wanton aggression upon the feelings and prejudices of the people.
The lists now presented a most splendid spectacle. The sloping galleries were crowded with all that was noble, great, wealthy, and beautiful in the northern and midland parts of England; and the contrast of the various dresses of these dignified spectators rendered the view as gay as it was rich, while the interior and lower space, filled with the substantial burgesses and yeomen of merry England, formed, in their more plain attire, a dark fringe, or border, around this circle of brilliant embroidery, relieving, and at the same time setting off, its splendor.
The heralds finished their proclamation with their usual cry of "Largesse,[48-4] largesse, gallant knights!" and gold and silver pieces were showered on them from the galleries, it being a high point of chivalry to exhibit liberality toward those whom the age accounted at once the secretaries and historians of honor. The bounty of the spectators was acknowledged by the customary shouts of "Love of ladies—Death of champions—Honor to the generous—Glory to the brave!" To which the more humble spectators added their acclamations, and a numerous band of trumpeters the flourish of their martial instruments. When these sounds had ceased, the heralds withdrew from the lists in gay and glittering procession, and none remained within them save the marshals of the field, who, armed cap-a-pie, sat on horseback, motionless as statues, at the opposite ends of the lists. Meantime, the inclosed space at the northern extremity of the lists, large as it was, was now completely crowded with knights desirous to prove their skill against the challengers, and, when viewed from the galleries, presented the appearance of a sea of waving plumage, intermixed with glistening helmets and tall lances, to the extremities of which were, in many cases, attached small pennons of about a span's breadth, which, fluttering in the air as the breeze caught them, joined with the restless motion of the feathers to add liveliness to the scene.
At length the barriers were opened, and five knights, chosen by lot, advanced slowly into the area; a single champion riding in front, and the other four following in pairs. All were splendidly armed, and my Saxon authority (in the Wardour Manuscript) records at great length their devices, their colors, and the embroidery of their horse trappings. It is unnecessary to be particular on these subjects.
Their escutcheons have long mouldered from the walls of their castles. Their castles themselves are but green mounds and shattered ruins: the place that once knew them, knows them no more—nay, many a race since theirs has died out and been forgotten in the very land which they occupied with all the authority of feudal proprietors and feudal lords. What, then, would it avail the reader to know their names, or the evanescent symbols of their martial rank?
Now, however, no whit anticipating the oblivion which awaited their names and feats, the champions advanced through the lists, restraining their fiery steeds, and compelling them to move slowly, while, at the same time, they exhibited their paces, together with the grace and dexterity of the riders. As the procession entered the lists, the sound of a wild barbaric music was heard from behind the tents of the challengers, where the performers were concealed. It was of Eastern origin, having been brought from the Holy Land; and the mixture of the cymbals and bells seemed to bid welcome at once, and defiance, to the knights as they advanced. With the eyes of an immense concourse of spectators fixed upon them, the five Knights advanced up the platform upon which the tents of the challengers stood, and there separating themselves, each touched slightly, and with the reverse of his lance, the shield of the antagonist to whom he wished to oppose himself. The lower order of spectators in general—nay, many of the higher class, and it is even said several of the ladies—were rather disappointed at the champions choosing the arms of courtesy. For the same sort of persons who, in the present day, applaud most highly the deepest tragedies were then interested in a tournament exactly in proportion to the danger incurred by the champions engaged.
Having intimated their more pacific purpose, the champions retreated to the extremity of the lists, where they remained drawn up in a line; while the challengers, sallying each from his pavilion, mounted their horses, and, headed by Brian de Bois-Guilbert, descended from the platform and opposed themselves individually to the knights who had touched their respective shields.
At the flourish of clarions and trumpets, they started out against each other at full gallop; and such was the superior dexterity or good fortune of the challengers, that those opposed to Bois-Guilbert, Malvoisin, and Front-de-Boeuf rolled on the ground. The antagonist of Grantmesnil, instead of bearing his lance-point fair against the crest or the shield of his enemy, swerved so much from the direct line as to break the weapon athwart the person of his opponent—a circumstance which was accounted more disgraceful than that of being actually unhorsed, because the latter might happen from accident, whereas the former evinced awkwardness and want of management of the weapon and of the horse. The fifth knight alone maintained the honor of his party, and parted fairly with the Knight of Saint John, both splintering their lances without advantage on either side.
The shouts of the multitude, together with the acclamations of the heralds and the clangor of the trumpets, announced the triumph of the victors and the defeat of the vanquished. The former retreated to their pavilions, and the latter, gathering themselves up as they could, withdrew from the lists in disgrace and dejection, to agree with their victors concerning the redemption of their arms and their horses, which, according to the laws of the tournament, they had forfeited. The fifth of their number alone tarried in the lists long enough to be greeted by the applauses of the spectators, among whom he retreated, to the aggravation, doubtless, of his companions' mortification.
A second and a third party of knights took the field; and although they had various success, yet, upon the whole, the advantage decidedly remained with the challengers, not one of them whom lost his seat or swerved from his charge—misfortunes which befell one or two of their antagonists in each encounter. The spirits, therefore, of those opposed to them seemed to be considerably damped by their continued success. Three knights only appeared on the fourth entry, who, avoiding the shields of Bois-Guilbert and Front-de-Boeuf, contented themselves with touching those of the three other knights who had not altogether manifested the same strength and dexterity. This politic selection did not alter the fortune of the field: the challengers were still successful. One of their antagonists was overthrown; and both the others failed in the attaint, that is, in striking the helmet and shield of their antagonist firmly and strongly, with the lance held in a direct line, so that the weapon might break unless the champion was overthrown.
After this fourth encounter, there was a considerable pause; nor did it appear that any one was very desirous of renewing the contest. The spectators murmured among themselves; for, among the challengers, Malvoisin and Front-de-Boeuf were unpopular from their characters, and the others, except Grantmesnil, were disliked as strangers and foreigners.
But none shared the general feeling of dissatisfaction so keenly as Cedric the Saxon, who saw, in each advantage gained by the Norman challengers, a repeated triumph over the honor of England. His own education had taught him no skill in the games of chivalry, although, with the arms of his Saxon ancestors, he had manifested himself, on many occasions, a brave and determined soldier.
He looked anxiously to Athelstane, who had learned the accomplishments of the age, as if desiring that he should make some personal effort to recover the victory which was passing into the hands of the Templar and his associates. But, though both stout of heart and strong of person, Athelstane had a disposition too inert and unambitious to make the exertions which Cedric seemed to expect from him.
"The day is against England, my lord," said Cedric, in a marked tone; "are you not tempted to take the lance?"
"I shall tilt to-morrow," answered Athelstane, "in the melee; it is not worth while for me to arm myself to-day."
Two things displeased Cedric in this speech. It contained the Norman word melee (to express the general conflict), and it evinced some indifference to the honor of the country; but it was spoken by Athelstane, whom he held in such profound respect that he would not trust himself to canvass his motives or his foibles. Moreover, he had no time to make any remark, for Wamba thrust in his word, observing, "It was better, though scarce easier, to be the best man among a hundred than the best man of two."
Athelstane took the observation as a serious compliment; but Cedric, who better understood the Jester's meaning, darted at him a severe and menacing look; and lucky it was for Wamba, perhaps, that the time and place prevented his receiving, notwithstanding his place and service, more sensible marks of his master's resentment.
The pause in the tournament was still uninterrupted, excepting by the voices of the heralds exclaiming—"Love of ladies, splintering of lances! stand forth, gallant knights, fair eyes look upon your deeds!"
The music also of the challengers breathed from time to time wild bursts expressive of triumph or defiance, while the clowns[53-5] grudged a holiday which seemed to pass away in inactivity; and old knights and nobles lamented in whispers the decay of martial spirit, spoke of the triumphs of their younger days, but agreed that the land did not now supply dames of such transcendent beauty as had animated the jousts of former times. Prince John began to talk to his attendants about making ready the banquet, and the necessity of adjudging the prize to Brian de Bois-Guilbert, who had, with a single spear, overthrown two knights and foiled a third.
At length, as the Saracenic music of the challengers concluded one of those long and high flourishes with which they had broken the silence of the lists, it was answered by a solitary trumpet, which breathed a note of defiance from the northern extremity. All eyes were turned to see the new champion which these sounds announced, and no sooner were the barriers opened than he paced into the lists. As far as could be judged of a man sheathed in armor, the new adventurer did not greatly exceed the middle size, and seemed to be rather slender than strongly made. His suit of armor was formed of steel, richly inlaid with gold, and the device on his shield was a young oak-tree pulled up by the roots, with the Spanish word Desdichado, signifying Disinherited. He was mounted on a gallant black horse, and as he passed through the lists he gracefully saluted the Prince and the ladies by lowering his lance. The dexterity with which he managed his steed, and something of youthful grace which he displayed in his manner, won him the favor of the multitude, which some of the lower classes observed by calling out, "Touch Ralph de Vipont's shield—touch the Hospitaller's shield; he has the least sure seat, he is your cheapest bargain."
The champion, moving onward amid these well-meant hints, ascended the platform by the sloping alley which led to it from the lists, and, to the astonishment of all present, riding straight up to the central pavilion, struck with the sharp end of his spear the shield of Brian de Bois-Guilbert until it rang again. All stood astonished at his presumption, but none more than the redoubted Knight whom he had thus defied to mortal combat, and who, little expecting so rude a challenge, was standing carelessly at the door of the pavilion.
"Have you confessed yourself, brother," said the Templar, "and have you heard mass this morning, that you peril your life so frankly?"
"I am fitter to meet death than thou art," answered the Disinherited Knight; for by this name the stranger had recorded himself in the books of the tourney.
"Then take your place in the lists," said Bois-Guilbert, "and look your last upon the sun; for this night thou shalt sleep in paradise."
"Gramercy for thy courtesy," replied the Disinherited Knight, "and to requite it, I advise thee to take a fresh horse and a new lance, for by my honor you will need both."
Having expressed himself thus confidently, he reined his horse backward down the slope which he had ascended, and compelled him in the same manner to move backward through the lists, till he reached the northern extremity, where he remained stationary, in expectation of his antagonist. This feat of horsemanship again attracted the applause of the multitude.
However incensed at his adversary for the precautions he recommended, Brian de Bois-Guilbert did not neglect his advice; for his honor was too nearly concerned to permit his neglecting any means which might insure victory over his presumptuous opponent. He changed his horse for a proved and fresh one of great strength and spirit. He chose a new and tough spear, lest the wood of the former might have been strained in the previous encounters he had sustained. Lastly he laid aside his shield, which had received some little damage, and received another from his squires. His first had only borne the general device of his order, representing two knights riding upon one horse, an emblem expressive of the original humility and poverty of the Templars, qualities which they had since exchanged for the arrogance and wealth that finally occasioned their suppression. Bois-Guilbert's new shield bore a raven in full flight, holding in its claws a skull, and bearing the motto, Gare le Corbeau.[56-6]
When the two champions stood opposed to each other at the two extremities of the lists, the public expectation was strained to the highest pitch. Few augured the possibility that the encounter could terminate well for the Disinherited Knight; yet his courage and gallantry secured the general good wishes of the spectators.
The trumpets had no sooner given the signal, than the champions vanished from their posts with the speed of lightning, and closed in the centre of the lists with the shock of a thunderbolt. The lances burst into shivers up to the very grasp, and it seemed at the moment that both knights had fallen, for the shock had made each horse recoil backward upon its haunches. The address of the riders recovered their steeds by use of the bridle and spur; and having glared on each other for an instant with eyes which seemed to flash fire through the bars of their visors, each made a demi-volte,[57-7] and, retiring to the extremity of the lists, received a fresh lance from the attendants.
A loud shout from the spectators, waving of scarfs and handkerchiefs, and general acclamations, attested the interest taken by the spectators in this encounter—the most equal, as well as the best performed, which had graced the day. But no sooner had the knights resumed their station than the clamor of applause was hushed into a silence so deep and so dead that it seemed the multitude were afraid even to breathe.
A few minutes' pause having been allowed, that the combatants and their horses might recover breath, Prince John with his truncheon signed to the trumpets to sound the onset. The champions a second time sprung from their stations, and closed in the centre of the lists, with the same speed, the same dexterity, the same violence, but not the same equal fortune as before.
In this second encounter, the Templar aimed at the centre of his antagonist's shield, and struck it so fair and forcibly that his spear went to shivers, and the Disinherited Knight reeled in his saddle. On the other hand, that champion had, at the beginning of his career, directed the point of his lance toward Bois-Guilbert's shield, but, changing his aim almost in the moment of encounter, he addressed it to the helmet, a mark more difficult to hit, but which, if attained, rendered the shock more irresistible. Fair and true he hit the Norman on the visor, where his lance's point kept hold of the bars. Yet, even at this disadvantage, the Templar sustained his high reputation; and had not the girths of his saddle burst, he might not have been unhorsed. As it chanced, however, saddle, horse, and man rolled on the ground under a cloud of dust.
To extricate himself from the stirrups and fallen steed was to the Templar scarce the work of a moment; and, stung with madness, both at his disgrace and at the acclamations with which it was hailed by the spectators, he drew his sword and waved it in defiance of his conqueror. The Disinherited Knight sprung from his steed, and also unsheathed his sword. The marshals of the field, however, spurred their horses between them, and reminded them that the laws of the tournament did not, on the present occasion, permit this species of encounter.
"We shall meet again, I trust," said the Templar, casting a resentful glance at his antagonist; "and where there are none to separate us."
"If we do not," said the Disinherited Knight, "the fault shall not be mine. On foot or horseback, with spear, with axe, or with sword, I am alike ready to encounter thee."
More and angrier words would have been exchanged, but the marshals, crossing their lances between them, compelled them to separate. The Disinherited Knight returned to his first station, and Bois-Guilbert to his tent, where he remained for the rest of the day in an agony of despair.
Without alighting from his horse, the conqueror called for a bowl of wine, and opening the beaver, or lower part of his helmet, announced that he quaffed it, "To all true English hearts, and to the confusion of foreign tyrants." He then commanded his trumpet to sound a defiance to the challengers, and desired a herald to announce to them that he should make no election, but was willing to encounter them in the order in which they pleased to advance against him.
The gigantic Front-de-Boeuf, armed in sable armor, was the first who took the field. He bore on a white shield a black bull's head,[59-8] half defaced by the numerous encounters which he had undergone, and bearing the arrogant motto, Cave, Adsum.[59-9] Over this champion the Disinherited Knight obtained a slight but decisive advantage. Both knights broke their lances fairly, but Front-de-Boeuf, who lost a stirrup in the encounter, was adjudged to have the disadvantage.
In the stranger's third encounter, with Sir Philip Malvoisin, he was equally successful; striking that baron so forcibly on the casque that the laces of the helmet broke, and Malvoisin, only saved from falling by being unhelmeted, was declared vanquished like his companions.
In his fourth combat, with De Grantmesnil, the Disinherited Knight showed as much courtesy as he had hitherto evinced courage and dexterity. De Grantmesnil's horse, which was young and violent, reared and plunged in the course of the career so as to disturb the rider's aim, and the stranger, declining to take the advantage which this accident afforded him, raised his lance, and passing his antagonist without touching him, wheeled his horse and rode back again to his own end of the lists, offering his antagonist, by a herald, the chance of a second encounter. This De Grantmesnil declined, avow himself vanquished as much by the courtesy as by the address of his opponent.
Ralph de Vipont summed up the list of the stranger's triumphs, being hurled to the ground with such force that the blood gushed from his nose and his mouth, and he was borne senseless from the lists.
The acclamations of thousands applauded the unanimous award of the Prince and marshals, announcing that day's honors to the Disinherited Knight.
William de Wyvil and Stephen de Martival, the marshals of the field, were the first to offer their congratulations to the victor, praying him, at the same time, to suffer his helmet to be unlaced, or, at least, that he would raise his visor ere they conducted him to receive the prize of the day's tourney from the hands of Prince John. The Disinherited Knight, with all knightly courtesy, declined their request, alleging, that he could not at this time suffer his face to be seen, for reasons which he had assigned to the heralds when he entered the lists. The marshals were perfectly satisfied by this reply; for amid the frequent and capricious vows by which knights were accustomed to bind themselves in the days of chivalry, there were none more common than those by which they engaged to remain incognito for a certain space, or until some particular adventure was achieved. The marshals, therefore, pressed no further into the mystery of the Disinherited Knight, but, announcing to Prince John the conqueror's desire to remain unknown, they requested permission to bring him before his Grace, in order that he might receive the reward of his valor.
John's curiosity was excited by the mystery observed by the stranger; and, being already displeased with the issue of the tournament, in which the challengers whom he favored had been successively defeated by one knight, he answered haughtily to the marshals, "By the light of Our Lady's brow, this same knight hath been disinherited as well of his courtesy as of his lands, since he desires to appear before us without uncovering his face. Wot ye, my lords," he said, turning round to his train, "who this gallant can be that bears himself thus proudly?"
"I cannot guess," answered De Bracy, "nor did I think there had been within the four seas that girth Britain a champion that could bear down these five knights in one day's jousting. By my faith, I shall never forget the force with which he shocked De Vipont. The poor Hospitaller[62-10] was hurled from his saddle like a stone from a sling."
"Boast not of that," said a Knight of Saint John, who was present; "your Temple champion had no better luck. I saw your brave lance, Bois-Guilbert, roll thrice over, grasping his hands full of sand at every turn."
De Bracy, being attached to the Templars, would have replied, but was prevented by Prince John. "Silence, sirs!" he said; "what unprofitable debate have we here?"
"The victor," said De Wyvil, "still waits the pleasure of your Highness."
"It is our pleasure," answered John, "that he do so wait until we learn whether there is not some one who can at least guess at his name and quality. Should he remain there till nightfall, he has had work enough to keep him warm."
"Your Grace," said Waldemar Fitzurse, "will do less than due honor to the victor if you compel him to wait till we tell your Highness that which we cannot know; at least I can form no guess—unless he be one of the good lances who accompanied King Richard to Palestine, and who are now straggling homeward from the Holy Land."
While he was yet speaking, the marshals brought forward the Disinherited Knight to the foot of a wooden flight of steps, which formed the ascent from the lists to Prince John's throne. With a short and embarrassed eulogy upon his valor, the Prince caused to be delivered to him the war-horse assigned as the prize.
But the Disinherited Knight spoke not a word in reply to the compliment of the Prince, which he only acknowledged with a profound obeisance.
The horse was led into the lists by two grooms richly dressed, the animal itself being fully accoutred with the richest war-furniture; which, however, scarcely added to the value of the noble creature in the eyes of those who were judges. Laying one hand upon the pommel of the saddle, the Disinherited Knight vaulted at once upon the back of the steed without making use of the stirrup, and, brandishing aloft his lance, rode twice around the lists, exhibiting the points and paces of the horse with the skill of a perfect horseman.
The appearance of vanity which might otherwise have been attributed to this display was removed by the propriety shown in exhibiting to the best advantage the princely reward with which he had been just honored, and the Knight was again greeted by the acclamation of all present.
In the meanwhile, the bustling Prior of Jorvaulx had reminded Prince John, in a whisper, that the victor must now display his good judgment, instead of his valor, by selecting from among the beauties who graced the galleries a lady who should fill the throne of the Queen of Beauty and of Love, and deliver the prize of the tourney, upon the ensuing day. The Prince accordingly made a sign with his truncheon as the Knight passed him in his second career around the lists. The Knight turned toward the throne, and, sinking his lance until the point was within a foot of the ground, remained motionless, as if expecting John's commands; while all admired the sudden dexterity with which he instantly reduced his fiery steed from a state of violent emotion and high excitation to the stillness of an equestrian statue.
"Sir Disinherited Knight," said Prince John, "since that is the only title by which we can address you, it is now your duty, as well as privilege, to name the fair lady who, as Queen of Honor and of Love, is to preside over next day's festival. If, as a stranger in our land, you should require the aid of other judgment to guide your own we can only say that Alicia, the daughter of our gallant knight Waldemar Fitzurse, has at our court been long held the first in beauty as in place. Nevertheless, it is your undoubted prerogative to confer on whom you please this crown, by the delivery of which to the lady of your choice the election of to-morrow's Queen will be formal and complete. Raise your lance."
The Knight obeyed; and Prince John placed upon its point a coronet of green satin, having around its edge a circlet of gold, the upper edge of which was relieved by arrow-points and hearts placed interchangeably, like the strawberry leaves and balls upon a ducal crown.
In the broad hint which he dropped respecting the daughter of Waldemar Fitzurse, John had more than one motive, each the offspring of a mind which was a strange mixture of carelessness and presumption with low artifice and cunning. He was desirous of conciliating Alicia's father, Waldemar, of whom he stood in awe, and who had more than once shown himself dissatisfied during the course of the day's proceedings; he had also a wish to establish himself in the good graces of the lady. But besides all these reasons, he was desirous to raise up against the Disinherited Knight, toward whom he already entertained a strong dislike, a powerful enemy in the person of Waldemar Fitzurse, who was likely, he thought, highly to resent the injury done to his daughter in case, as was not unlikely, the victor should make another choice.
And so indeed it proved. For the Disinherited Knight passed the gallery, close to that of the Prince, in which the Lady Alicia was seated in the full pride of triumphant beauty, and pacing forward as slowly as he had hitherto rode swiftly around the lists, he seemed to exercise his right of examining the numerous fair faces which adorned that splendid circle.
It was worth while to see the different conduct of the beauties who underwent this examination, during the time it was proceeding. Some blushed; some assumed an air of pride and dignity; some looked straight forward, and essayed to seem utterly unconscious of what was going on; some drew back in alarm, which was perhaps affected; some endeavored to forbear smiling; and there were two or three who laughed outright. There were also some who dropped their veils over their charms; but as the Wardour Manuscript says these were fair ones of ten years' standing, it may be supposed that, having had their full share of such vanities, they were willing to withdraw their claim in order to give a fair chance to the rising beauties of the age.
At length the champion paused beneath the balcony in which the Lady Rowena was placed, and the expectation of the spectators was excited to the utmost.
It must be owned that, if an interest displayed in his success could have bribed the Disinherited Knight, the part of the lists before which he paused had merited his predilection. Cedric the Saxon, overjoyed at the discomfiture of the Templar, and still more so at the miscarriage of his two malevolent neighbors, Front-de-Boeuf and Malvoisin, had accompanied the victor in each course not with his eyes only, but with his whole heart and soul. The Lady Rowena had watched the progress of the day with equal attention, though without openly betraying the same intense interest. Even the unmoved Athelstane had shown symptoms of shaking off his apathy, when, calling for a huge goblet of muscadine, he quaffed it to the health of the Disinherited Knight.
Whether from indecision or some other motive of hesitation, the champion of the day remained stationary for more than a minute, while the eyes of the silent audience were riveted upon his motions; and then, gradually and gracefully sinking the point of his lance, he deposited the coronet which it supported at the feet of the fair Rowena. The trumpets instantly sounded, while the heralds proclaimed the Lady Rowena the Queen of Beauty and of Love for the ensuing day, menacing with suitable penalties those who should be disobedient to her authority. They then repeated their cry of "Largesse," to which Cedric, in the height of his joy, replied by an ample donative, and to which Athelstane, though less promptly, added one equally large.
There was some murmuring among the damsels of Norman descent, who were as much unused to see the preference given to a Saxon beauty as the Norman nobles were to sustain defeat in the games of chivalry which they themselves had introduced. But these sounds of disaffection were drowned by the popular shout of "Long live the Lady Rowena, the chosen and lawful Queen of Love and of Beauty!" To which many in the lower area added, "Long live the Saxon Princess! long live the race of the immortal Alfred!"
However unacceptable these sounds might be to Prince John and to those around him, he saw himself nevertheless obliged to confirm the nomination of the victor, and accordingly calling to horse, he left his throne, and mounting his jennet, accompanied by his train, he again entered the lists.
Spurring his horse, as if to give vent to his vexation, he made the animal bound forward to the gallery where Rowena was seated, with the crown still at her feet.
"Assume," he said, "fair lady, the mark of your sovereignty, to which none vows homage more sincerely than ourself, John of Anjou; and if it please you to-day, with your noble sire and friends, to grace our banquet in the Castle of Ashby, we shall learn to know the empress to whose service we devote to-morrow."
Rowena remained silent, and Cedric answered for her in his native Saxon.
"The Lady Rowena," he said, "possesses not the language in which to reply to your courtesy, or to sustain her part in your festival. I also, and the noble Athelstane of Coningsburgh, speak only the language and practice only the manners, of our fathers. We therefore decline with thanks your Highness's courteous invitation to the banquet. To-morrow, the Lady Rowena will take upon her the state to which she has been called by the free election of the victor Knight, confirmed by the acclamations of the people."
So saying, he lifted the coronet and placed it upon Rowena's head, in token of her acceptance of the temporary authority assigned to her.
In various routes, according to the different quarters from which they came, and in groups of various numbers, the spectators were seen retiring over the plain. By far the most numerous part streamed toward the town of Ashby, where many of the distinguished persons were lodged in the castle, and where others found accommodation in the town itself. Among these were most of the knights who had already appeared in the tournament, or who proposed to fight there the ensuing day, and who, as they rode slowly along, talking over the events of the day, were greeted with loud shouts by the populace. The same acclamations were bestowed upon Prince John, although he was indebted for them rather to the splendor of his appearance and train than to the popularity of his character.