bles, not only broke the mean appearance which had till then characterized English towns, but marked the rise of a new middle and commercial class which was to play its part in later history. A transformation of an even more 4 striking kind proclaimed the extinction of the feudal character of the noblesse. Gloomy walls and serried battlements disappeared from the dwellings of the gentry. The strength of the mediæval fortress gave way to the pomp and grace of the Elizabethan hall; Knowle, Longleat, Burleigh and Hatfield, Hardwick and Audley End, are familiar instances of the social as well as architectural change which covered England with buildings where the thought of defense was abandoned for that of domestic comfort and refinement. We still gaze with pleasure on their picturesque line of gables, their fretted fronts, their gilded turrets and fanciful vanes, their castellated gateways, the jutting oriels from which the great noble looked down on his new Italian garden, its stately terraces and broad flights of steps, its vases and fountains, its quaint mazes, its formal walks, its lines of yews cut into grotesque shapes in hopeless rivalry of the cypress avenues of the South. It was the Italian refinement of 5 life which remodeled the interior of such houses, raised the principal apartments to an upper floor-a change to which we owe the grand staircases of the time-surrounded the quiet courts by long“ galleries of the presence,” crowned the rude hearth with huge chimneypieces adorned with fauns and cupids, with quaintly interlaced monograms and fantastic arabesques, hung tapestries on the walls, and crowded each chamber with quaintly-carved chairs and costly cabinets. The life of the Middle Ages concentrated itself in the vast castle hall, where the baron looked from his upper dais on the retainers who gathered at his board.

But the great 6

households were fast breaking up; and the whole feudal economy disappeared when the lord of the household withdrew with his family into his “parlour” or “withdrawing-room,” and left the hall to his dependents. He no longer rode at the head of his servants, but sat apart in the newly-introduced “coach.” The prodigal use of glass became a marked feature in the domestic architecture of the time, and one whose influence on the general health of the people can hardly be over-estimated. Long lines of windows stretched over the fronts of the new manor halls.

Every merchant's house had its oriel. “ You shall have sometimes,” Lord Bacon grumbled, "your houses so full of glass that we can not tell where ry to come to be out of the sun or the cold.” But the prodigal enjoyment of light and sunshine was a mark of the temper of the age. The lavishness of a new wealth united with a lavishness of life, a love of beauty, of color, of display, to revolutionize English dress. The Queen's three thousand robes were rivaled in their bravery by the slashed velvets, the ruffs, the jeweled purpoints of the courtiers around her. Men “wore a manor on their backs." The old sober notions of thrift melted before the strange revolutions of fortune wrought by the New World. Gallants gambled away a fortune at a sitting, and sailed off to make a fresh one in the Indies. Visions of galleons loaded to the brim with pearls and diamonds and ingots of silver, dreams of El Dorados, where all was of gold, threw a haze of prodigality and profusion over & the imagination of the meanest seaman. The wonders,

too, of the New World kindled a burst of extravagant fancy in the Old. The strange medley of past and present which distinguishes its masques and feastings only reflected the medley of men's thoughts. Pedantry, novelty, the allegory of Italy, the chivalry of the Middle

Ages, the mythology of Rome, the English bear-fight, pastorals, superstition, farce -all took their turn in the entertainment which Lord Leicester provided for the Queen at Kenilworth. A “wild man” from the Indies chanted her praises, and Echo answered him. Elizabeth turned from the greetings of sibyls and giants to deliver the enchanted lady from her tyrant “Sans Pitie.” Shepherdesses welcomed her with carols of the spring, while Ceres and Bacchus poured their corn and grapes at her feet.




The empire of Charlemagne was a grand attempt to revive, in another form, the Imperialism of ancient Rome. The German emperors were regarded as the lawful successors of the Roman Cæsars.

A proper conception of the Holy Roman Empire, in which the Pope exercised jurisdiction over the spiritual world, as the Emperor did over the temporal world, is necessary to the thorough understanding of medieval history. The empire of Charlemagne was an endeavor to fuse into harmony the Romance and Teutoni elements of society, and to establish a government of law and order The time had not come, however, and the empire of Charlemagn fell to pieces in the hands of his feeble successors. Charlemagne efforts to promote learning and education should be compared wit the labors of Alfred the Great in the same direction. (See Milman “History of Latin Christianity”; Bryce's “ Holy Roman Empire Freeman's - Historical Essays.")

AFTER so much of war and toil at a distance, Char magne was

now at Aix-la-Chapelle, finding rest in tl work of peaceful civilization. He was embellishing t

capital which he had founded, and which was called the King's court. He had built there a grand basilica, magnificently adorned. He was completing his own palace there. He fetched from Italy clerics skilled in church music, a pious joyance to which he was much devoted, and which he recommended to the bishops of his empire. In the outskirts of Aix-la-Chapelle “ he gave full scope,” said Eginhard, “to his delight in riding and hunting. Baths of naturally tepid water gave him great pleasure. Being passionately fond of swimming, he became so dexterous that none could be compared with him. He invited not only his sons, but also his friends, the grandees of his court, and sometimes even the soldiers of his guard, to bathe with him, insomuch that there were

often a hundred and more persons bathing at a time. 2 When age arrived, he made no alteration in his bodily

habits; but, at the same time, instead of putting away from him the thought of death, he was much taken up with it, and prepared himself for it with stern severity. He drew up, modified, and completed his will several times over. Three years before his death he made out the distribution of his treasures, his money, his wardrobe, and all his furniture, in the presence of his friends and his officers, in order that their voice might insure, after his death, the execution of this partition, and he set down his intentions, in this respect, in a written summary,

in which he massed all his riches in three grand lots. 3 The first two were divided into twenty-one portions, which were to be distributed among the twenty-one metropolitan churches of his empire. After having put these first two lots under seal, he willed to preserve to himself his usual enjoyment of the third so long as he lived. But, after his death or voluntary renunciation of the things of this world, this same lot was to be sub

divided into four portions. His intention was that the first should be added to the twenty-one portions which were to go to the metropolitan churches; the second set aside for his sons and daughters, and for the sons and daughters of his sons, and redivided among them in a just and proportionate manner; the third dedicated, according to the usage of Christians, to the necessities of the poor; and, lastly, the fourth distributed in the same way, under the name of alms, among the servants, of both sexes, of the palace, for their lifetime. ... As for the books, of which he had amassed a large number in his library, he decided that those who wished to have them might buy them at their proper value, and that the money which they produced should be distributed among the poor."

Having thus carefully regulated his own private 4 affairs and bounty, he, two years later, in 813, took the measures necessary for the regulation, after his death, of public affairs. He had lost, in 811, his eldest son Charles, who had been his constant companion in his wars, and, in 810, his second son, Pepin, whom he had made King of Italy; and he summoned to his side his third son, Louis, King of Aquitaine, who was destined to succeed him. He ordered the convocation of five local councils, which were to assemble at Mayence, Rheims, Châlons, Tours, and Arles, for the purpose of bringing about, subject to the King's ratification, the reforms necessary in the Church. Passing from the affairs of the 5 Church to those of the State, he convoked, at Aix-laChapelle, a general assembly of bishops, abbots, counts, laic grandees, and of the entire people, and, holding council in his palace with the chief among them, “he invited them to make his son Louis King-Emperor; whereto all assented, saying that it was very expedient,

« ElőzőTovább »