« ElőzőTovább »
Another owns that fair domain-
Nor will old Keswick's simple race
With artless inbred taste they turn
• The property of the unfortunate Earl of Derwentwater, when he was hchealed. was settled on Greenwich Hospital. It has recently been sold, and purchased by Mr. Marshall, of Leeds
† The wife of Land Derwentwater is supposed to have effected her prape through a tremendous pass in the mountauns, winch is now known by the appellation of the * Lady's Ixap.
1 In the church is a fine m nument of the Ratcliff family, with figures of brass inlaid, and inscribed as follows:-** Of your charity pray for the soul of Sir John Rat. cliti, and for the soul of Dame Alice, his wife; which Sir John died the 2d day of January, A.D. 1527, on whose soul Jesus have merry." A copy of this inscription and the trans figure was taken off by the Clerk, and presenud with much courtesy and inten si to her to whom this little poem is addressed-having learned that she belonged to the same family.
* The guide who conducted the writer to the top of Skiddaw, and rowed us to the Lord's Isle, was a remarkably intelligent one, of the name of Graves. His father and grandfather had been guides before him. His voice was peculiarly sweet.
† All the forfeited titles have been restored, execpting that of the Earldom of Derwentwater. The crest of the Ratcliff family is a black bull's head.
I No eagles have been seen in these mountainous districts, so well adapted for their habitation, for some years. Steam has already invaded Windermere. It is to be hoped, with regard to Derwentwater, the idea here expressed may long be but a poetical license.
ROMANTIC HEROES OF HISTORY.
THOse who admire and those who object to military glory may alike be humiliated or appeased, according to their respective sentiments, by the reflection that, if dazzling, it is often evanescent. Here is a man not less celebrated than Turenne, or Wellington, or Marlborough, in his days, and yet to the greater number of our readers, and nine men out of ten at present in existence, his name may even be a stranger. Still he was one of the most noted captains of France, and the liberator, to a great extent, of that country from the English, as well as of Spain from the sway of the Saracens.
This celebrated hero was born in the chateuu of his ancestors, near Rennes, towards the close of the year 1314, but the exact date of his birth is unknown. His family was one of the first houses in Bretagne, and claimed descent even from an African king; yet, though his fiery temperament well supported the pretension, this circumstance, too, is doubtful, if not wholly fabulous. Of his own early history little is known, saving that he was the eldest of ten children, and exhibited no precocity. His toucher indeed, it is suid, never even succeeded in imparting to him the simplest rudiments of education, and at last quitted in despair of ever being able to teach him the now very common-place art of reading. But this was then a nire acquisition. War and contention formed his only pleasure. By day he talked, by night he dreamed but of battle. Hard and stubborn as he was by nature, the menaces and punishment resorted to for the purpose of breaking him in scemed only to render him the moro intractable; and it was not till an opposite course was adopted, and gentleness exhibited for coercion, that he showed he was capable of being subdued by kindness, though utterly unsusceptible to fcar. Though deformed, of short stature, high shoulders, and heavy head, he was constantly engaged in military exercises; and his eyes full of fire, though small, evinced that strive was the natural sphere of his heart. At the age of sixteen, an carly annalist records, he made his escape from home to participate in a combat at Rennes; and at seventeen it is undoubted he took part in a very celebrated tournament which the noted Count of Blois there gave to the chile of the knights of England and France. Dugues. clin's father, a chevalier of no mean renown, though now thrown into the shade by his son, took part in this combat ; but, previously to setting out, had adopted the precaution of locking up his first-born at home. The youth, however, had managed to borrow arts and a steed from some friendly neighbour, and the charge was scarcely sounded when, unknown, he dashed into the lists. One stalwart knight was overturned by his violence; a second yielded to the strength of his arm : his unconscious father couched fence against the daring intruder, and it was not until Duguesclin then raised his visor, and declined the encounter, that the others discovered they had been overthrown by a youth of seventeen. In several subsequent actions of the day he was equally distinguished, and his father consequently made no farther objection to his enrolling himself in arms, which he ever afterwards bore. It was, however, no longer now in mimic strive, but in stern war. Embracing the cause of the Count Charles of Blois, who then laid claim to the Duchy of Bretagne, he made his first essay at the siege of Vannes, and with only twenty lances, he is said, by his countrymen, to have maintained a position against fully two thousand Englishmen. The nature of the ground possibly assisted, for, strong as was his own arm, and impuissant as were the foot-soldiers of his day against horse, it seems incredible that he could have maintained such a pass unless it had been a new Therniopylæ. Notwithstanding all his valour, however, the Count was at last overcome ; and on Duguesclin devolved the duty of conducting his two sons to England, as hostages, when Charles was obliged to succumb to the peace of the English Edward.
England was, at this period, the seat of one of the noblest knights who ever bestrode a steed—the illustrious Black Prince, Edward's immortal son. Duguesclin took part in many of the chivalrous encounters that then ensued, but no record of them now remains ; nor indeed is this of moment, as those tournaments, if often marked by slaughter, seem invariably to have been distinguished by sameness. A species of coarseness, too, pervaded them; or rather the knights, when not engaged in them, never hesitated to resort to what we should now consider very un-knightly practices. Thus we find Duguesclin, on returning to France, adopting the rude stratagems which in an earlier age had distinguished the Scottish hero Wallace, and making his way into the chateau of Fongcrai in the disguise of a waggoner. Securing the bridge by this means, he opened the route for his followers; and after thus taking the castle, made a bold attempt, with a hundred lances, upon the Duke of Lancaster at Rennes. This celebrated prince was then besieging that town, and for reasons now unknown, Duguesclin, by invitation, repaired to his head-quarters before engaging in strife. He is supposed to have received an overture to join the English ; and certain it is that he had to fight a duel with Sir John Bamborough, a noted knight of that day, who insulted him on refusing. Duguesclin prevailed, and immediately afterwards he made such a violent attack by fire upon a huge wooden tower which Lancaster had erected for assailing the city, that the English retired in dismay. Rennes was consequently restored to Charles, who rewarded Duguesclin with the territory of Roche-de-Rien in requital for his services.
The siege of Dinan, in 1359, is the next operation in which we find Duguesclin engaged, and another duel, as before, was the preliminary to the strive. Duguesclin was entrusted with the city's defence, and a noted knight, Sir Thomas of Canterbury, having succeeded in carrying off a younger brother of Duguesclin, boldly alleged that it was the hero himself. With less prudence than we should now consider justifiable, Duguesclin resented the insult by a challenge, and again he was successful, not only in defeating his adversary but in raising the siege. At this time, indeed, he was the only one who supported the honour of the arms of France. Almost all the rest of the country_its fairest provinces and finest towns-were in the hands of the English. The heroic Edward, and his still more heroic son, had struck down all opposition; and, unable even to raise the ransom they had imposed upon him, John--the unhappy King-hnd, like another Regulus, returned to England to pay in person that penalty which the disinclination or poverty of his kingdom prevented him from paying in the more agrecable form of current coin of the realm.
This was the era when Duguesclin may properly be said to have entered the service of France. Hitherto he had been only in that of one of its most powerful nobles ; but a proposition having been made to him, and the government of Pontorson 'conferred by the representatives of the exiled prince, he 'raised a company of a hundred lances, and being joined by others, quichly expelled the English from Normandy. A marriage with a rich heiress, Thiephaine de Raguenel, enabled him shortly afterwards to make progress still more considerable; money being then, as now, one of the chief clements of war. The English were beat by him in several successive encounters; but a sort of private warfare seems to have been mixed up with his public service, as shortly afterwards we find him delivered as a hostage to the Count de Montfort, who then contested with De Blois for the Duchy of Bretagne. A change, however, soon succeeded. John died a prisoner in England, and his successor, Charles V., having appointed Duguesclin Governor of Normandy, the latter made his escape from a condition of captivity, and quickly defeated Charles, then named the Bad, King of Navarre. This victory had the effect of fixing the crown on the new French sovereign's hend, and Duguesclin was created Marshal of Normandy in consequence. He was now coming in contact with more important foes, or at least focs more interesting to English ears. At the battle of Anrai, fought on the 29th of September, 1364, he encountered Clisson, Sir John Chandos, and the leading chivalry of England. Clisson furiously commenced the conflict by u formidable two-handed sword attack on Duguesclin, but the latter repelled and threw his forces into confusion. Chandos, however, had in the interval completely ovethrown the body which the Count of Blois commanded, killed their leader, and put his followers to flight. All the efforts of Duguesclin, therefore, returning from the pursuit of Clisson, to restore the combat, were vain ; and, sur. rounded by overwhelming odds, he was under the necessity of surren. dering to the English commander. Sir John treated him with the distinction due to his own and the captor's courage, but his ransom was fixed at the high sum of a hundred thousand francs. How Duguesclin recovered his liberty is not exactly known. He was possibly assisted by the peace shortly afterwards established between France and England. But if this peace were of utility to him, it was of none to his free companions in arins. Thirty thousand of them were thrown on their own resources by its conclusion : and, finding no field for the exercise of their arms, they turned them on their own country, ravaged the provinces, and under the name of Grand Companies, cominitted devastations such as the enemy formerly had scarcely surpassed. Duguesclin, on his return, was entrusted by Charles ll'. with the task of putting them down ; and now, for the first time, he exhibited the policy of the statesman, or great commander, instead of the mere brute-soldier force, which hitherto had been his chief characteristic, in common with all the troopers of that period. Instead of menacing or assailing them, as was confidently anticipated, he prepared at once to enlist them in a great political design, for the purpose of over