Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

XIX.

1358.

ther was,

[ocr errors]

CH A P. tion, in the third year of his age to the daughter and heiress of the earl of Ulster

; and, this marriage being afterward consummated, the fruit of it was an only daughter, born in the year 1355. Lionel being already in prospect, in

consequence of this contract, earl of Ulster, John of Gaunt his next bro

while yet an infant, advanced to the honours of earl of Richmond. The inheritance of the crown on the demise of the reigning sovereign, a species of presumptive futurity which has always a great effect upon the present weight and importance of the person to whom it points, was first with the Black Prince, next with Lionel, and in their failure with Lionel's infant daughter ; thus cutting off the young earl of Richmond from any reasonable prospect to the diadem.

We will not here extend our view of the English court beyond the survey of the different members of the family on the thrones

CHAP. XX.

JUVENILE HISTORY OF JOHN OF GAUNT EARL OF
RICHMOND.-HIS COURTSHIP WITH THE PRINCESS
BLANCHE CHARACTER OF THE PRINCESS.

JOHN of GAUNT earl of Richmond was Chan born on the day of February 1340“, and raised to the title by which he is here described, 20 September 1342. He was born at Ghent in Flanders, precisely at the period when his father assumed the title of king of France, and had come with his queen to that city, with the view of concerting mean

XX. .

His birthing

* Stow, ad ann. Compare Barnes, Book 1, Chap. xiv, 8, 3.

Sandford, Genealogical History, Book IV, Chapai. Duga dale, Baronage, Vol. II, p. 114. *Rymer, Foedera, Tom. V, 14 Edv. S, Feb. VOL. II,

XX.

CHA P. sures for his projected invasion. His stature

was considerably above the ordinary size, his limbs were well proportioned, and he early discovered symptoms of a masculine and brave disposition. His father therefore spared no attention in cultivating his youthful mind. He designed him for a soldier, to which

profession his nature, as well as the propensity of the times, seemed to guide him : and he was careful to familiarise his early years with the elements of literature, for which purpose Chaucer, with others, was placed near his person.

We know nothing specifically of the education of the young earl ; but the mode of educating persons of rank was at this time so uniform, that we shall hazard little in

supposing that his nonage was conducted according to the most approved ideas of the age

in which he lived. Edward III. was, as we have seen, the professed devotee and reviver of the manners of chivalry, and we cannot doubt that he employed them with scrupulous fidelity in the education of his children.

Plan of his education,

XX.

disci

persons of

A

young person destined to receive the CHAP. honours of knighthood, was ordinarily left,

Early till he had completed his seventh year, in the pline of hands of the women. He then entered upon Fanke in the the first stage of his military probation. He century.

. received the appellation of page or valet, and Pages. was admitted into the presence of his father or superiors. The mode of education be- They were

brought up stowed upon him was social : if he were of in com

panies. less opulent parentage, he was received, together with a number of others in similar circumstances, into the house of some more wealthy nobleman, and associated to his children: and, if his parents were themselves affluent, they sought for him companions of more contracted patrimony, who became the associates of his bosom, and his brothers of the war.

Here the first lesson were inspirhe learned was the honour of the Preux; or <mulation. in other words, that an accomplished knight who had shown himself worthy of that high character, was the most extraordinary and admirable object that could be offered to his view. He approached such a person with wonder, affection and awe, as the chosen

ed with

XX.

were held in

active excrcise.

were im. pressed timents of

CHA P. object of his present deference, and of his

future ardent and unconquerable emulation. If such were the general feeling cultivated in these cases, we may easily imagine with what sentiments the young and high-spirited earl of Richmond gazed upon his laurelled sire, and upon the heroes of the field of Cressy, won in the seventh year of his age.

The pages were also early taught to inure their infant limbs to such exercises, as might best fit them for the offices of a soldier.

One of the favourite lessons at this time with sen- instilled into them, was, according to the modesty technical phraseology of the times, “ the love

of God and the ladies.” Modesty, reverence and respect were ranked among the most essential virtues of a young probationer in arms; and it is the peculiar praise of the institutions of chivalry that they united in their pupils the most invincible bravery and enterprise in action, with manners the most respectful, courteous and attentive, whenever the sword was replaced in its scabbard. Feelings of this sort were first originated in the mind by the lessons of religion. A true

and reverence.

« AnteriorContinua »