Imatges de pàgina


votary of knighthood entered upon no adven- CHA P. ture without previous devotion and prayer ;= and his sentiments toward God and the saints were such as are spontaneously excited in the mind by the contemplation of invisible and immaculate natures.

A candidate for knighthood must be grossly and witk recreant to the true spirit of his profession, if of pashe thought of the female sex with any senti, respect to ments of rude familiarity and disrespect. He male sexo was instructed, as the phrase above quoted implies, to contemplate them with a feeling somewhat partaking of religious homage and devotion. He looked up to them as the genuine censors of his deeds; and he considered it as nearly the first duty of his profession to relieve their distress, and to avenge their wrongs. It is the remnant of this sentiment which has given to the intercourse of the sexes, from the days of chivalry to the present time, a refinement, and a spirit of sanctity and honour, wholly unknown to the ancient world.

The page was not only formed to a cha- were racter of general deference to the milder sex,

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young virgins of birth whose so, ciety he frequented, to whose service he was ticular particularly to devote himself, and whom he object of his atten- was constantly to regard as the principal and

peculiar judge of his actions . First prince

During the early years of the earl of Richmond, the first prince of the blood, next after the children of the king, was Henry duke of Lancaster, grandson of Edmund surnamed Crouchback, younger brother to Edward I. The immediate predecessors of duke Henry, his uncle and his father, were factious men, who had put themselves at the head of the party of the barons in the turbulent reign of Edward II, and the former of whom had been led to the scaffold in consequence of his violence and rebellion. Duke Henry was himself however at all times a loyal subject, a gallant servant of the crown, and one of the greatest ornaments of the court of Edward III, being about the

of the blood.

Ste. Palaye, Memoires sur l'Ancienne Chevalerie, Partie I.



same age as that warlike prince. He gained CHAP. military glory in the wars then carried on in France; his munificence made him popular ; his free and generous temper surrounded him with friends; and his moderation saved him from the grief of having perhaps a single foe. Thus qualified, we may easily suppose that his protection was coveted by the royal offspring, and his roof one of their most pleasant haunts. Duke Henry, the only per- Matilda and son in England at this time denominated by cousins to that elevated title, and the second upon whom princcs. it had been conferred, had two children ; Matilda, two years older than the earl of Richmond, and Blanche, exactly of the same

the minor


• Sandford (Genealogical History, Book II, Chap. x.) has represented the lady Blanche as only fourteen years of age at the death of her father in 1361, and has quoted the Inquisitio post Mortem, taken at his decease, and preserved in the Tower of London, as his authority for this statement. Sandford's representation made it necessary to recur to his authorities. If he were right, and the lady Blanche were only twelve years

of age at the time of her marriage, then indeed the whole of what is delivered in this and the two following chapters on the au



Why may we not suppose that earl John, and his brother Lionel, about fourteen months

thority of Chaucer, must be erroneous. The result of my investigation has been this:

In the Inquisitio post Mortem taken at the decease of duke Henry, her father, (Esc. 35 E. 3, p. 1, n. 122,) the lady Blanche, married to John earl of Richmond, is stated to be xviij years old and upward (the age being expressed in small Roman numerals): and the lady Matilda, the other sister and coheiress, who is named after Blanche, married to William earl of Holland, is said to be xx years old and upward.

In the Fine Rolls of the same year, 35 E. 3, m. 23, there is a writ in behalf of the earl and countess of Richmond, dated at Henley, 16 July, in which she is stated to be of full age and to have issue, and in consequence of this she and her husband receive, with the consent of her sister, a certain portion of duke Henry's inheritance, which had before been reserved. The clause of the writ most to our purpose is in these words : Assignavimus carissimo filio nostro, Johanni comiti Richmundia, & Blunckice, uxori ejus, alterce filiarum & hæredum ejus ducis, plenæ ætatis existenti, cujus quidem comitis homagium ratione prolis inter ipsum & præfatam Blanchiam, &c.

In these records therefore we see the lady Blanche stated, in the same year, and with the interval of a very few months, as eighteen, and as twenty-one, years of age. The last statement however is confirmed by the Inquisitio post Mortem, Esc. 36 E. 3, p. 1, n. 37, taken at the decease of Matilda, her sister, there styled the wife of William duke of Bavaria, in the follows ing year. In this instrument Blanche is stated to be ætatis riginti duorum annorum, in words at length.


older than he (his elder brother, the Black CHAP Prince, who was born in 1330, is out of the question), declared themselves respectively, according to the mode of chivalry, attached to their princely cousins? In Lionel, who was in his infancy contracted to the daughter and heiress of the earl of Ulster, this boyish fantasy served only, as was originally intended in this sort of attachment, for the root and Exciter of his youthful fancy; but the earl of Richmond was free from every species of engagement, and

open to impression. In him therefore the partiality of the boy gray dually gave place to the passion of the man; and what originally was thought of by his kindred, only as one of the agents in his education, became a material circumstance in the destination of his country.

He married Blanche, and the single male issue of their union was Henry IV.

When he had attained to the age of four- Esquires. teen years,

of honour changed his of their class, and was raised to the dignity of esquire. This metamorphosis however was not effected without various appropriate and impres

the page


instala ment.

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