« AnkstesnisTęsti »
but since he cannot enjoy his knowledge but by discovering it, and if he had no other motive to loquacity is obliged to traffic like the chemists, and purchase one secret with another, he is every day more hated as he is more known; for he is considered by great numbers as one that has their fame and their happiness in his power, and no man can much love him of whom he lives in fear.
Thus pass the temperate hours; but when the sun
Its balmy essence breathes, where cowslips hang
Hung o'er the steep; whence, borne on liquid wing,
Through rural scenes; such as the Mantuan swain
Or by the vocal woods and waters lull'd,
And lost in lonely musing, in the dream,
Marmion's Departure from the Castle of Douglas.
SIR WALTER SCOTT,
THE immortal novelist and poet, was born 1776, and died September 21st, 1832, of paralysis, after a fe spent in the production of more works than we can even venture to enumerate.
Not far advanced was morning day,
He had safe-conduct for his band,
"Though something I might plain,"* he said,
To each one whom he lists, howe'er
Burn'd Marmion's swarthy cheek like fire,
And shook his very frame for ire,
And-"This to me!" he said,---
Here, in thy hold, thy vassals near
Lord Angus, thou hast lied!"
On the earl's cheek the flush of rage
Fierce he broke forth:-" And dar'st thou, then,
The Douglas in his hall?
And hopest thou hence unscathed to go?—
Lord Marmion turn'd-well was his need!-
The steed along the draw-bridge flies,
And when Lord Marmion reached his band,
He halts, and turns with clenchéd hand,
And shout of loud defiance pours,
And shook his gauntlet at the towers.
"Horse! horse!" the Douglas cried, “and chase!”
But soon he rein'd his fury's pace:
"A royal messenger he came,
Though most unworthy of the name.
A letter forged! Saint Jude to speed!
Did ever knight so foul a deed!
*The Earl Douglas was Earl of Angus, a maritime country in the north
east of Scotland, now better known by the name of Forfarshire.
†The little wheel which forms the sharp points of the spur.
At first in heart it liked me ill,
When the king praised his clerkly skill.
SIR WALTER SCOTT.
THE Passage of Arms, as it was called, which was to take place at Ashby, in the county of Leicester, as champions of the first renown were to take the field in the presence of Prince John himself, who was expected to grace the lists,† had attracted universal attention, and an immense confluence of persons of all ranks hastened, upon the appointed morning, to the place of combat.
The scene was singularly romantic. The ground, as if fashioned on purpose for the martial display which was intended, sloped gradually down on all sides to a level bottom, which was inclosed for the lists with strong palisades, forming a space of a quarter of a mile in length, and about half as broad. At each of the portals were stationed two heralds, attended by six trumpets, as many pursuivants, and a strong body of men-at-arms, for maintaining order, and ascertaining the quality of the knights who proposed to engage in this martial game."
Gawain was a son of Douglas, and a bishop in the church. The story of Marmion, from which this piece is extracted, is a tale of the sixteenth century, during the reign of James IV. of Scotland, a contemporary of Henry VIII. of England, and grandfather of James I. of the latter country. The feudal system prevailed, and chivalry was still an honoured institution. During the prevalence of these characteristics of the middle ages, the profession of arms was the only avenue to distinction. Learning was held in light estimation, and was cultivated only by ecclesiastics, and others who were debarred from the military profession. Douglas himself, although one of the most powerful men of the times, could neither read nor write; and the light estimation in which he held these most useful accomplishments of the present day, may be seen from his thanks to his patron saint, Bothun, that no child of his, except his "boy-bishop," could write a line.-Note by PARKER.
† Lines inclosing or forming the extremity of a piece of ground selected for the combat. To enter the lists is to accept a challenge, or engage in contest.
On a platform beyond the southern entrance, formed by a natural elevation of the ground, were pitched five magnificent pavilions, adorned with pennons of russet and black, the chosen colour of the five knights challengers. Before each pavilion was suspended the shield of the knight by whom it was occupied, and beside it stood his squire, quaintly disguised as a savage or sylvan man, or in some other fantastic dress, according to the taste of his master, and the character which he was pleased to assume during the game. The central pavilion, as the place of honour, had been assigned to Brian de Bois-Guilbert, whose renown in all games of chivalry, no less than his connexion with the knights who had undertaken this passage of arms, had occasioned him to be eagerly received into the company of the challengers, and even adopted as a chief. On one side of his tent were pitched those of Reginald Front-de-Boeuf and Richard de Malvoisin; and on the other was the pavilion of Hugh de Grantmesnil, a noble baron in the vicinity, whose ancestors had been Lord High Steward of England in the time of the Conqueror and his son William Rufus. Ralph de Vipont, a Knight of St. John of Jerusalem, occupied the fifth pavilion.
The northern access to the lists terminated in an entrance of thirty feet in breadth, at the extremity of which was a large inclosed space for such knights as might be disposed to enter the lists with the challengers, behind which were placed tents containing refreshments of every kind for their accommodation, with armourers, farriers, and other attendants, in readiness to give their services wherever they might be necessary.
The exterior of the lists was in part occupied by temporary galleries, spread with tapestry and carpets, and accommodated with cushions for the convenience of those ladies and nobles who were expected to attend upon the tournament. A narrow space, betwixt these galleries and the lists, gave accommodation for yeomanry and spectators of a better degree than the mere vulgar, and might be compared to the pit of a theatre. The promiscuous multitude arranged themselves upon large banks of turf, prepared for the purpose, which, aided by the natural elevation of the ground, enabled them to look over the galleries, and obtain a fair view into the lists. Besides the accommodation which these stations afforded, many hundreds had perched themselves on the branches of the trees which surrounded the meadow, and even the steeple of a country church, at some distance, was crowded with spectators. Spectators of every description thronged forward to occupy their respective stations,-not without many quarrels concerning those which they were entitled to hold. Some of these were settled by the men-at-arms with brief ceremony; the shafts of their battle-axes, and pommels of their swords, being readily employed as arguments to convince the most refractory. Others, which involved the rank of more elevated persons, were determined by the heralds, or by the two marshals of the field.
Gradually the galleries became filled with knights and nobles,