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THE QUEEN--LEGEND—THE CLOISTERS.
And may a madden'd mother's scream
Ring in your ears till ye awake,
An impulse like the grasp of death
Striving—and fain to utter more,
Her writhing features struggled sore
Then nature gave the combat o'er,
Queen Margaret, adds the chronicle, “lyke a prisoner, was brought to London, where shee remayned till King Reyner, her father, raunsomed her with money, which summe, as the French writers affirme, he borrowed of King Lewis XI.; and because he was not of power nor abilitye to repaye so great a dutye, he sold to the French Kinge and hys heyres the kingdomes of Naples and both the Sicilies, with the countie of Prouynce, which is the very tytle that King Charles the Seaventh made when he conquered the realme of Naples. After that raunsome payde, shee was conveyed into Fraunce with small honor, which with so great triumph and honorable enterteynment was with pompe above all pride receyved into this realme xxvii. yeres before. And where in the begynning of her tyme she lyved lyke a queene; in the middle shee ruled like an empresse; towards the ende she was vexed with trouble, never quyet nor in peace. And in her very extreme age she passed her dayes in Fraunce, more like death than lyfe, languishing and mourning in continuall sorow, not so much for herselfe and her husbande, whose ages were almost consumed and worne, but for the losse of Prince Edwarde, her sonne, whome shee and her husbande thought to have bothe overlyver of their progeny, and also of their kingdome, to whome in thys lyfe nothing could be more displeasant or grievous.”
Of the ancient lords of the manor of Tewkesbury we have given a brief account in tracing the descent of that honor; but in a future portion of the work, the “doings and sufferings” of the De Clares and the Le Despensers, with various biographical anecdotes, will be introduced. In the meantime, we take leave of this venerable Abbey-every feature of which is eloquent of the past—with a legend which, as connected with its founder, Robert Fitz-Hamon, has often been told and listened to in these very Cloisters, and with that implicit belief which nothing but the revival of miracles and monachism can restore! These apartments are now laid open to the blast; and over the grave of the beadsman “the stones of the sanctuary” are piled in mouldering heaps. Through the fretted shrines and casements, the March
winds are now whistling a cold and shrill matin. The labourer has paused froin his toil to discuss the merits of the New Parliament, the Gloucester Railway, and the Corn Laws! Shade of Fitz-Hamon, beholdest thou this!
Legend. - On the day preceding his death in the New Forest, King Rufus had a dream, and behold he felt as if grievously wounded by a javelin, and that forthwith there gushed a stream of blood which reached even to the sky, cast its shadows over the sun, and diminished the very light of day. Starting from his sleep, the king invoked the name of the Blessed Virgin, and calling for lights, ordered his chamberlains to stay by him, and so passed the remainder of the night wide awake, being sorely troubled with the vision.
“But in the morning very early, a monk from beyond seas, who was then in attendance upon the king for certain affairs of the church, beckoning to Robert Fitz-Hamon, a man of great weight and influence about the king, said unto him that his rest had been troubled with a frightful dream, which he thus related :—'As I lay on my pallet in sound sleep, methought I saw the king enter a certain church with a proud step and haughty demeanour, as is his wont, and shewing his contempt for those who were there gathered
THE MONK'S DREAM-WALTER TYRRELL.
around him. Anon, seizing the crucifix with his teeth, he gnawed off its arms (brachia illius corrosit), and left it hardly a limb to stand upon. Now, when the crucifix had quietly borne with this horrible treatment for some time, at length, provoked beyond sufferance, and drawing back its right foot into a kicking attitude, it spurned the king's person with such terrific strength that he fell prostrate on the pavement; and there, issuing from his mouth as he lay insensible, I beheld a flame widely diffused around me, and a cloud of smoke, like chaos, rising towards the sky.”
When the monk had thus related the terrific vision, Fitz-Hamon rehearsed it to the king, who, bursting into a loud incredulous fit of laughter, exclaimed “A monk, a monk! who for his own lucre hath dreamt a monkish dream. Give the friar a hundred shillings, that he may see that he has dreamt to some purpose. But these signs and wonders were not yet over.
The king himself had another dream within a few hours of his death. There appeared unto him a Child of surpassing beauty standing at a certain altar, whereupon the king, unable to overcome a strong propensity which he felt to taste the infant's flesh, went up to it, and took a mouthful of the flesh, which was so remarkably sweet that he would have greedily devoured the whole body. But the Child putting on a stern and forbidding aspect, said to him in a threatening tone, “Forbear! thou hast already had too much!” Hereupon the king suddenly wakening, consulted a certain bishop as to the interpretation of this strange vision. The bishop suspecting that some fearful retribution was at hand, said to him, “Forbear, O king, to persecute the Church as hitherto; for in this dream behold the warning voice and paternal admonition of God, and go not forth to hunt this day as thou hast purposed.”
But the king, despising this ghostly counsel, went forth into the forest to commence his sport; when lo, as a mighty stag passed before him, he called out to the attendant, Walter Tyrrell, who stood near, “ Draw, devil, draw!" Tyrrell instantly drew and let fly his arrow, but instead of hitting the stag, it glanced against a tree and struck the king in the heart. Thus was there a fearful confirmation of all the omens which had haunted the king's pavilion the preceding night.
But without the following particulars, gravely related by the same author —Matthew of Saint Albans—the picture would be incomplete.
All the king's followers having fled in alarm at this terrible accident, the dead body was removed from the spot where it lay by a char-burner, but so unaccountably heavy was the load, that the car broke down under it, and it was again left unattended in the depths of the forest. Here, however, a certain count having lost his companions in the chase, beheld to his utter amazement a huge, black, bristly stag carrying off the king's body; whereupon
he halted and adjured the stag by the Holy Trinity to declare what this fearful sight meant. "I am carrying your king,” said the stag, “even the tyrant William Rufus, the enemy of the Church, to the bar of judgment!"
For the sake of those who are curious in such matters we add the original Latin,* by which it appears the “stag was no other than the 'foul Fiend !'”
* "Anno Domini M.C. Nam idem Rer pridie Et obstante arbore, in obliquum reflexum faciens, ante necem suam, vidit per somnum sese fleubotomiæ per medium cordis Regem sauciavit, qui subito ictu sanguinem emittere, et radium cruoris in cælum mortuus corruit. Sui autem, et præcipuè miles ille, usque extentum, lucem obnubilare, et Dei interpel in partes fugerunt. Aliqui tum redeuntes corpus in lare claritatem. Rex autem Sancta Maria invocata et sanguine suo circumvolutum et tabefactum, supra somno excussus, lumen inferri præcepit, et cubicula bigam cujusdam carbonatoris imposuerunt fragiler, rios à se discedere non permittens, residuum noctis et macilentissimo jumento vno tractam. Rusticulus insomne peregit. Mane verò cùm aurora illuxisset, igitur coactus corpus ad civitatem transportare, dum Monachus quidam transmarinus, qui pro ecclesiæ suæ transiret per quandam profundam et lutosam viam, negotiis Regis curiam sequebatur, Roherto filio fracta biga sua debili, corpus, immo cadaver rigidum Wamonis viro potenti et Regi familiari somnium et fætens, in luto circumvolutum, volentibus asporretulit, quod nocte eadem viderat mirificum et tare dereliquit. Eadem hora Comes Cornubiæ, in horrendum. Vidit enim per somnum Regem in sylva, ab illa in qua hæc acciderant per duas dietas quandam venire ecclesiam, gestuque superbo et inso distante, dum venatum iret, et solus casu à suis lenti (ut solebat) cæpit despicere circumstantes, ubi sodalibus relinqueretur, obviavit mugno piloso et crucifixum dentibus apprehendens, brachia illius nigro hirco, ferenti Regem nigrum et nuduin per corrosit, et crura pene detruncavit. Quod crucifixus medium pectoris sauciatum. Et adjuratus hircus per cùm diu tolerasset, Regem demum dextro pede ita Deum-trinum-et-unum quid hoc esset, respondit: depulit, ut caderet in pavimentum supinus : et ex ore Fero ad judicium suum Regem Vestrum, immo tyranjacentis tantam exire flammam conspexit, et ita diffu num Willielmum Rufum. Malignus enim sam, ut fumorū nebula, quasi chaos magnum usque spiritus sum, et ultor maliciæ suæ, qua desævit in ad sidera volitarat. Hanc visionem cùm Robertus ecclesiam Christi, et hanc suam necein procuravi, Regi retulisset, cachinnos ingeminans ait: Monachus imperante promartyre Angliæ beato Albano, qui quesest, et lucri causa monachiliter somniavit: da ei tus est Domino, quòd in sula Britanniæ, cujus ipse centum solidos, ne videatur inaniter somniasse. Item fuit primus sacrator, supra modum grassaretur. Comes videbatur Regi per somnium nocte proxima ante igitur hæc sociis statim narravit. Infra triduum autem diem mortis suæ, quòd vidit unum Enfantem hæc omnia vera reperit, per mediatores oculata fide pulcherrimum super altare quoddam, et cupiens et expertus.”—Matth. Par. p. 51-2, fol. ed. 1565. esuriens supra modum, adiit et corrosit de carne infantis, et videbatur ei prædulce quod gustaverat : et volens plus avidius sumere, infans torvo aspectu et voce minaci ait: Desisti, nimis accepisti. Experge AUTHORITIES :- Malmesbury.—Dugdale, Monasfactus à somno Rex, consoluit mane super hæc quen ticon. -Dyde, History and Antiquities of Tewkesdam episcopum. Episcopus autem suspicans judicium bury. — Atkyns. Mitred Abbeys. Willis's Cathevindictæ, ait: Desine Rex bone à persecutione ecclesiæ drals.-Saxon History - Robert of Gloster-History præmonítio enim hæc Dei est, et beniga castigatio ; of the Clares. —Notes on Magna Charta.--Leland.nec ut proposuisti, venatum eas. Rex contemnens Dugdale, Baronage. Tyrrel. — Wars of York and salutaria monita, in sylvas venatum ivit. Et ecce Lancaster.-MS. Hist. of the Abbey.—Dallaway.casu, cervus magnus cùm ante euin transiret, ait Rex Analogies of Cathedral Churches.-History of Gloucuidam militi, scilicet Waltero Tyrell: Trahe, diabole. cester.- Margaret of Anjou.— Drayton.-Domesday Exiit ergò telum volatile, de quo bene et vere potuit Survey. — Matth. Par. — Ord. Vital. — Fabyan. dici, et vaticinio denotari,
Speed.— Sepulch. Antiquit.-Hist. Civil War.-Hist. Et semel emissum volat irrevocabile telun. Church,-&c. &c. &c.