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AFFAIR OF GERBEROI.-JOHN FITZALAN,
Four years later, an event occurred which was destined to close his military career and carry him off in “ the blaze of his fame.” This happened in an attack upon the old castle of Gerberoi, near Beauvais, during the operations of the English army in Picardy.
Learing Gournay at midnight, the Earl arrived in eight hours with the advanced guard in sight of the towers of Gerberoi. But in his impatience to reduce the fortress, he had miscalculated the strength of its walls and garrison, with the experience of its veteran commandant La Hire, and his own diminutive force. “ The enemy,” says Holinshed, “perceiving that his horses were weary and his archers not yet come up, determined to set upon him before the arrival of his footmen, which they knew to be a mile behind.” As soon as he came in sight the gates were suddenly thrown open, and three thousand troops rushing upon the handful of men under his command, threw them into confusion. An unequal conflict ensued-struck with panic, and pressed by an overwhelming majority, the rout of the English became general. Arundel, with a few undaunted followers, who had sworn to share his glory or his grave, took up his position in "a little close” or corner of a field, where his rear was under cover of a strong hedge, threw up a hasty fortification of pointed stakes, and thus protected, kept the enemy at bay. But other and more powerful means of annoyance were at hand. La Hire ordered three culverins to be brought from the castle, and planted in front of the “ forlorn hope.” The first shot told sadly upon the members of this intrepid band;
but in the presence of their chief, nothing could damp their fortitude, nothing could paralyse their exertions. The first discharge was received with a shout of triamph and defiance. But the third striking Arundel in the knee, shattered the bone and threw him to the ground. This shot was the loss of the day. The French commander, seizing the favourable moment, rushed upon the entrenchment—and while Arundel, though faint with loss of blood and racked with pain, still continued to cheer on his men-effected a breach and took captive the gallant earl and his companions.
Arundel survived the disaster for some time, but died at last of his wound, and was buried in the church of the Grey Friars—the Frères Mineurs-of Beauvais.
In the collegiate church of Arundel, where he had previously selected his own place of interment, a cenotaph of beautiful design and elaborate workmanship still marks the spot; but, owing to some unknown cause, as Mr Tierney informs us, “his executor neglected this last injunction;" and the soldier was not permitted to find rest in the sepulchre of his fathers. Humphrey, his son, became heir to his titles and estates; but, not surviving
shis father more than three years, they again passed to his uncle, William
Fitzalan, then in his twenty-first year. The events of his life, however, are not of a character to interest the reader by any bright displays of moral excellence, which could be handed down as examples to posterity.
“ Obsequious-veering round with every change,
Now to the liege professing homage fervent;
That faction found him its most humble servant!"
Yet with all his political faults, there was much in his private life and con versation-much in his munificence to the church-and still more in his encouragement of learning, to rescue his name from oblivion. He died at Arundel, and was buried with his ancestors in the Chapel, where a splendid altar-tomb attests his love and patronage of the fine arts.
In the preface to Caxton's Golden Legende, honourable mention is made of the puissant, “ noble and vertuous lorde, Willyam, Erle of Arundelle.” Dallaway quoting Vincent says—“ William Earle of Arundell, a very father of nurture and courtesy, died at a great age at Arundell, and there triumphantly lieth buried.”
His successor, Thomas Fitzalan, was a man whose address and accomplishments found ready acceptance at court, and secured the good-will and approbation of more than one sovereign.
Henry Fitzalan, on succeeding his father this year, returned from Calais to England, and at Arundel kept the Christmas festivities in such style
* EXPLOIT AT THE SIEGE OF BOULOGNE.
with his neighbours, that it is known, says the MS. Life quoted by Mr. Dallaway, as “the great Xmas of Arundel.”
At the siege of Boulogne, in the following year, he was nominated by * King Henry as marshal of the field. The siege on this occasion proved tedious; the town and garrison were resolute in their defence, and day after day the besiegers were baffled in their efforts to force them to a capitulation. At last, however, a mine, which had been successfully worked beneath the castle, vas sprung at midnight; the explosion shook the whole citadel, and
general confusion ensued. Seizing the favourable moment, Arundel ordered the battering ordnance to play with redoubled fury upon the walls; and heading at the same time a resolute detachment, took his station in the entrenchments.
There, while the shot and shell struck and exploded in the ramparts over his head, he waited till a breach in the masonry was effected; and then throwing himself into the gap, cheered on his men to the assault. Inspired by their leader's example, every soldier did his duty; the besieged were driven from the works; their guns were turned against themselves, the ramparts were cleared; capitulation was effected, and before morning the flag of England floated in triumph from the Castle of Boulogne.*
* Grafton's account of this affair is very pictu resque:-“The which town of Bulleyne, he, King
Henry VIII., so sore assauted, and so besieged with such abundance of great ordnance, that never
But neither prowess in the field nor wisdom in the cabinet could exempt Arundel from the trials, calumnies, and persecutions of those who only saw, in the royal favour extended to him, a grand obstacle to their own advancement. After the demise of Henry, charges were accordingly brought against him, which—although never proved-formed the ground of his exclusion from the council, were attended with a heavy fine, and aggravated by imprisonment. The false evidence, however, on which these penalties were inflicted, being speedily detected, his confinement was very brief. A large portion of the fine was remitted, but the remembrance of such unmerited treatment was never to be effaced. Subsequently, on the exhibition of further charges against him, he was again sent to the Tower, where he was detained a close prisoner during thirteen months, and was then enlarged on payment of a heavy fine, and admonished to “behave himself according to the duty of a nobleman, and to prove in deeds what he professed in words.”
But events were now fast hastening to a crisis. The demise of the royal minor, the elevation of Lady Jane Grey, the ebullitions of party violence-all spread universal excitement and alarm throughout the country.
Arundel, who had long fostered a spirit of secret enmity and revenge against Northumberland, as the author of his misfortunes, now perceived that the moment of retaliation was at hand. He invited and promised the full weight of his support to the Princess Mary in private ; but in public he zealously espoused the cause of her rival, the Lady Jane; and was among the first who offered her homage, and swelled the magnificence of her entry into London.
Northumberland was blinded by so much apparent devotion to the * cause; and when he reluctantly quitted London to stem the torrent that was now rapidly setting in from the east, Arundel, says Stow, took leave of him in these specious and hollow terms: “ Farewell, my lord; and I pray God be with your grace. Sorry indeed am I, that it is not my chance to go with you, and bear you company, in whose presence I could find in my heart
was there a more valyaunt assaut made, for beside from his horse, and came to the kinge. And after the undermyning of the castell, tower, and walles, he had talked with him a space, the kinge toke him the towne was so beaten with ordinaunce, that by the hande, and he reverently kneeling upon his there was not left one house whole therein. In the knees, kissed his hand, and afterward mounted morning the Duke of Suffolk rode into Bulleyne, upon his horse and so departed. The xvii. day the to whom in the king's name they delyvered the kingis highnesse, having the sworde borne naked keyes of the towne; and at afternoone departed before him, like a noble and valyaunt conqueror out of Bulleyne all the Frenchemen. The last rode into Bulleyne, and all the trumpetters standperson that came forthe was Monsire de Verinne, ing on the walles of the towne, sounded their graund captaine of the towne, which, when he ap- trumpettes, to the great comfort of all the kinges proched near where the kinge stoode, he alighted true subiectes, the same beholding."_Vol. ii. 492. * Arundel affirmed that the only method of Pembroke, who clapping his hand to his sword, making atonement for their past offences, was by a swore that he was ready to fight any man that exspeedy return to the duty which they owed to their pressed himself of a contrary sentiment.-Hume, lawful sovereign; the motion was seconded by 373
to shed my blood, even at your feet.” But as soon as Northumberland was gone, Arundel changed his tone ; denounced him as a traitor; declared his sentiments; and boldly asserted the sovereign right of the eldest daughter of Henry the Eighth. His fervid eloquence and appeal to the nobles present made a deep and visible impression. Pembroke*, infected by the enthusiasm of the speaker, starting up, and grasping the hilt of his sword, exclaimed, “ Either this sword shall make Mary queen, or I will die in her quarrel !” The result needs not be told. In an instant the whole aspect of affairs was changed. That very night Mary was proclaimed in every street of the citybanquets, bonfires, riots, and illuminations, were called to attest the fact.
The news of the revolution were scattered in all points of the compass, and at Cambridge reached the Duke of Northumberland, who was astounded at what had happened, and felt all the paralysing influence of his critical position.
When Arundel, whose revenge was now secure, arrived with the warrant for his apprehension, the duke threw himself upon his mercy, and implored him, says the Chronicler,“ to be good to him for the love of God!” But Arundel coldly replied that his grace should have sought for mercy sooner, and then committing him to safe custody, ordered him off to the Tower.
During the reign of Mary, Arundel had many honours heaped upon him, and filled several important offices of state ; nor did court favour desert him on the accession of Elizabeth, who even made him her familiar companion, and became his frequent guest. She visited him at her splendid palace of Nonsuch, of which he was keeper; joined in all the revels in celebration of her visit; accepted at her departure a “cupboard of plate” and repaid him with assurances of cordial regard and unlimited confidence.
Flattered by such manifestations of royal favour, Arundel went so far in his loyal attachment as to become one of her Majesty's impassioned suitors. He was a Catholic indeed, but love and loyalty were divinities to which religion had been often known to bend; and having given his vote and influence to all her state measures—and not weighing the “queen's sincerity by his own”-he looked forward with bright anticipations of the future. But Elizabeth was as much an adept in manæurring as the earl ; her chief object had now been accomplished; she no longer required his services-she remembered his support of her sister Mary; and when Arundel ventured to address her as the royal Chloë of his admiration, the queen threw off the mask, and instead