Imatges de pàgina
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up his residence in Aquitaine, a husband 6: CHAP. He had seen his two younger brothers married before him ; and his parents and his country felt an anxiety that so illustrious, so accomplished and blameless a personage should leave behind him some inheritor of his blood and his virtues. He accordingly married a lady near of kin to the throne, daughter, and at length heiress, to Edmund earl of Kent, youngest son to Edward I. This lady, whose name was Joan, and who was known among her contemporaries by the appellation of the Fair Maid of Kent, married for her first husband sir Thomas Holland, in her right earl of Kent, and one, of the founders of the order of the Garter. By him she had two sons, Thomas and John, distinguished persons in the court of Richard

and she became a widow 26 December 1360°. At this time she was thirty-three years

of age *, a matron of great beauty, excellent un

II ;

Rymer, Vol. VI, 35 Edv. 3, Oct. 18. Sandford, Book III, Chap. xi. Ashmole, Chap. XXV, Sect. i, n. 14.

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CHA P. derstanding and uncommon accomplishments.

We shall have occasion repeatedly in the course of this history to notice her affectionate nature, the prudence of her counsels, and the graceful propriety of her conduct. It is related by one of the old chroniclers“, that the Black Prince first addressed her in behalf of one to whom he was much attached; and that, after having urged her repeatedly on the subject, and shown himself not satisfied with her denials, she at length retorted upon him with much dignity, “ that when she was under ward, she had submitted to be disposed of in marriage as those who had the superintendence of her conduct thought proper ; but now, she was her own mistress, she remembered she was of the blood royal of England, and she would not cast herself away upon one beneath her; she was resolved therefore never to marry again, unless to a prince whose quality and virtues resembled his own.

Prompted by this hint, he began

• Harding, apud Barnes, Book III, Chap. vii, p.9.

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his courtship ; he admired her for her spirit CHAP: and elevation of mind; and he felt in himself the beginning of a kindness, responsive to the ingenuous and noble partiality with which she regarded him. Accompanied by this princess, and with

1363. Chandos (the most distinguished of all the Settles in

Aquiwarriors who fought under the standard of caine. Edward III) for his prime minister, he passed over to Aquitaine, and fixed his residence in Bourdeaux, where he kept his

His manners were so prepossessing and noble, and his fame in chivalry SO splendid, that his court, in an age when chivalry was the reigning passion, could not fail to be a principal resort of all persons of generous

minds and cultivated understandings. In about one year after his taking up 1364. his abode in Aquitaine, his princess bore him a son,

who was named after himself Edward'. The court of the Black Prince, agreeably to His court.

court.

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1366.

Peter king of Castillc.

CHAP. the fashion of those days, was not only the

resort of noblemen and warriors, but also of crowned heads. He numbered among his visitors Peter king of Cyprus, James king of

Majorca and Charles king of Navarres. In Visited by the summer of 1366 a new and a memorable

guest came to increase' his glory, Peter king of Castille and Leon". This king repaired to Bourdeaux as a suppliant; he had been driven from his dominions by a fierce and rapacious swarm of foreign outlaws, and he came to intreat the prince of Wales, as a warrior not less generous than brave, to redress the injuries he had suffered, and restore him to his throne.

Spain was a country, in the dawn of modern European history, singularly interesting to all its neighbours. It had been entirely conquered by the Saracens about a century after the commencement of the Mahometan era; and these victorious enthusiasts, having

Modern

history of Spain,

3 Froissart, Chap. ccxviii, ccxxxv. Thorn, A, D. 1366, apud X Scriptores.

Froissart, Chap. ccxxxi.

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overrun the half of France, were only checked CHAP. in their career by the military prowess of Charles Martel in 732. In Spain they erected a caliphate; and the court of Cordova was for a long time one of the principal centres of Saracenic splendour and learning. The unfortunate Christians, as many of them as preferred independence to subjugation, took refuge in the mountains of the Asturias. Here, safe from the oppression of their insolent conquerors, they assumed courage by de grees, and sallied out upon the enemy. Disciplined by adversity and contention, they daily improved in hardiment, while their foes became enervated by luxury. The achievements of the Christian warriors in Spain are among the most extraordinary in the annals of mankind. They gradually gained ground upon the Saracens; and, in an unintermitted struggle of five centuries, redeemed the most considerable part of the peninsula from their yoke, and shut them up in a few of the southernmost provinces. Christian Spain then became divided into a variety of sovereignties; the kingdom of Asturias, of Leon, of

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