Sidor som bilder

Comte de Montfort,1 married Eleanor, Countess of Pembroke, the daughter of King John. She had made a vow of widowhood, and although her brother Henry III. gave her away when she was married, by one of the royal chaplains, in the king's private chapel at Westminster, 6th January, 1238, Edmund, Archbishop of Canterbury, remonstrated strongly against the marriage. It is said that when the prelate left England, he stood on a hill which commanded a view of London, and, extending his hands towards the city, pronounced a parting blessing on his country, and a curse on the countess and the offspring of her unholy union.

Events so came about that the courtier and alien became the representative leader of Englishmen, with the famous war-cry of "England for the English." The battle of Lewes placed everything in the power of Simon de Montfort, but in his prosperity many of his followers fell away from him. The last scene of the great man's life is truly pathetic. He lay at Evesham awaiting the troops which his son was to bring from Kenilworth. He did not know, however, that the garrison of that town had been surprised by Prince Edward, who had escaped from confinement. The army that marched upon Evesham bore the banners of Simon's son, but they were flying in the van of an enemy. Simon's first words, when he saw the force approach, were those of soldierly pride: "By the arm of St. James they come on well; they learnt that order from me." Before he spoke again, however, he had realized his position, and he cried out: "May God have mercy on our souls, for our bodies are Prince Edward's." When he died liberty seemed to have been crushed out of existence, but it was not so, for his spirit lived though his body died, and the real victory was with him.

The fate of Simon de Montfort was a subject of general lamentation, but none of the songs upon it that have come down to us are in English. In an Anglo-Norman lament he is likened to Thomas of Canterbury, and described as "a precious flower." Priest and layman united in his praise, and he was revered as a saint and martyr. Prayers were said in his honour, and a hymn was sung at his shrine, beginning:

"Salve Symon Montis-Fortis

Totius flos militiæ

Duras pœnas passus mortis,

Protector gentis Angliæ."

Miracles were supposed to be worked by the power of his name,2

[1 Montfort is a small town between Paris and Chartres.

See Miracula Simonis de Montfort, MS. Cotton. Vespas. A.

and the character of these miracles may be judged by the following samples. The "old Countess of Gloucester" had a palfrey, which was asthmatic for two years, until one day in journeying from Tewkesbury to Evesham, it drank from the earl's well and was restored to perfect health. The next instance of miraculous healing is still more remarkable. A chick, which belonged to Agnes of Selgrave, fell into a pond and was drowned. Its mistress pulled it out and commended it to "blessed Simon," whereupon it got up and walked as usual.

Simon had six children by his wife Eleanor, viz., Henry, Simon, Guy, Amauri, Richard, and Eleanor. Henry was slain with his father, but the countess and the other children escaped out of England. Simon and Guy went to Tuscany; Amauri accompanied his mother to France, was taken prisoner in 1276, and kept in confinement by Edward for a time, but set at liberty in 1280; Richard went to Bigorre, but nothing certain is known of his after career, and it is said that he settled in England under the assumed name of Wellysborne, an assertion founded on two or three deeds of doubtful authenticity.1 Eleanor was married to Llewellyn, Prince of Wales, in 1279, Edward I. paying all the expenses of the ceremony, which was performed with great pomp.]


ITTETH alle stille, ant herkneth to me;
The kyn[g] of Alemaigne,2 bi mi leaute,
Thritti thousent pound askede he

For te make the pees in the countre,

Ant so he dude more.

Richard, thah3 thou be ever trichard,

Tricthen shalt thou never more.


vi., annexed to Mr. Halliwell's edition of William de Rishanger's Chronicle of the Barons' Wars (Camden Society), 1840.

1 This tradition is possibly connected with the one to be found in the Beggar's Daughter of Bethnal Green, where the Blind Beggar is said to be Henry de Montfort, who was taken off the battlefield, blind but not dead.

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❝ though.

Richard of Alemaigne, whil that he wes kyng,
He spende al is tresour opon swyvyng,1
Haveth he nout of Walingford o ferlyng,2
Let him habbe,3 ase he brew, bale to dryng,*
Maugre Wyndesore.

Richard, thah thou be ever, &c.

The kyng of Alemaigne wende do ful wel,
He saisede the mulne' for a castel,

With hare sharpe swerdes he grounde the stel,
He wende that the sayles were mangonel1o
To helpe Wyndesore.
Richard, thah thou be ever, &c.

The kyng of Alemaigne gederede ys host,
Makede him a castel of a mulne post,
Wende with is prude," ant is muchele bost,
Brohte1s from Alemayne mony sori gost
To store Wyndesore.

Richard, thah thou be ever, &c.





By God, that is aboven ous, he dude muche synne,
That lette passen over see the erl of Warynne:
He hath robbed Engelond, the mores," ant th[e] fenne,
The gold, ant the selver, and y-boren henne,
For love of Wyndesore.
Richard, thah thou be ever, &c.

[1 lechery.


2 He has not of Wallingford one furlong. The MS. reads oferlyng, and Percy and Warton explain that word to mean superior, in opposition to underling, but it has not been met with elsewhere. Mr. Wright's reading of "one furlong" is much more in accordance with the context.

3 have. 4 evil to drink. 5 in spite of. 7 he seized the mill.

8 their.

10 a military engine for throwing great stones.


great boast.

15 bore them away hence.]

13 brought.

6 thought to do. 9 steel.

11 pride.



Sire Simond de Mountfort hath suore bi ys chýn,
Hevede1 he nou here the erl of Waryn,

Shulde he never more come to is yn,'


Ne with sheld, ne with spere, ne with other gyn,3 35 To help of Wyndesore.

Richard, thah thou be ever, &c.

Sire Simond de Montfort hath suore bi ys cop,*
Hevede he nou here Sire Hue de Bigot:5
Al he shulde quite here twelfmoneth scot
Shulde he never more with his fot pot

To helpe Wyndesore.

Richard, thah thou be ever, &c.

Be the luef, be the loht, sire Edward,
Thou shalt ride sporeles o thy lyard1o
Al the ryhte way to Dovere-ward,
Shalt thou never more breke foreward;

Ant that reweth sore

Edward, thou dudest as a shreward,"
Forsoke thyn emes lore12

Richard, &c.




This ballad will rise in its importance with the reader, when he finds that it is even believed to have occasioned a law in our statute book, viz. "Against slanderous reports or tales, to cause discord betwixt king and people." (Westm. Primer, c. 34, anno 3 Edw. I.) That it had this effect is the opinion of an

Ver. 44. This stanza was omitted in the former editions.

[Ver. 40. Percy prints grante here (i.e. grant their), but the MS. reads qte here (i.e. quite or pay here).

1 had.

2 house.

3 engine. 4 sworn by his head. The Hugh Bigod here mentioned, was the cousin of Hugh Bigod, who took part with the barons, and was slain at Lewes. 6 although.

8 with his foot push on. doubtedly fot in the MS.

7 tax or revenue.

Percy prints this sot pot, but it is un9 whether you like it or loathe it. 11 male shrew.

10 ride spurless on thy grey horse. 12 forsookest thy uncle's teaching. Edward's uncle.]

De Montfort was Prince

eminent writer [the Hon. Daines Barrington], see Observations upon the Statutes, &c. 4to. 2nd edit. 1766, p. 71.

However, in the Harl. Collection may be found other satirical and defamatory rhymes of the same age, that might have their share in contributing to this first law against libels.




E have here an early attempt at elegy. Edward I. died July 7, 1307, in the 35th year of his reign, and 69th of his age. This poem appears to have been

composed soon after his death. According to the modes of thinking peculiar to those times, the writer dwells more upon his devotion than his skill in government, and pays less attention to the martial and political abilities of this great monarch, in which he had no equal, than to some little weaknesses of superstition, which he had in common with all his contemporaries. The king had in the decline of life vowed an expedition to the Holy Land, but finding his end approach, he dedicated the sum of £32,000 to the maintenance of a large body of knights (140 say historians, eighty says our poet), who were to carry his heart with them into Palestine. This dying command of the king was never performed. Our poet, with the honest prejudices of an Englishman, attributes this failure to the advice of the king of France, whose daughter Isabel, the young monarch, who succeeded, immediately married. But the truth is, Edward and his destructive favourite, Piers Gaveston, spent the money upon their pleasures. To do the greater honour to the memory of his heroe, our poet puts his eloge in the mouth of the Pope, with the same poetic licence as a more modern bard would have introduced Britannia or the Genius of Europe pouring forth his praises.

This antique elegy is extracted from the same MS. volume as he preceding article; is found with the same peculiarities of writing and orthography; and tho' written at near the distance of half a century contains little or no variation of idiom: whereas the next following poem by Chaucer, which was probably written not more than fifty or sixty years after this, exhibits almost a new

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