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truly remarks—to supplicate the aid of True to feudal principle, he avoided his liege lord, that lord who had already dealing the first blow, for if his liege so unjustly wrested Tilliers from him. lord struck first, then his fealty would He repaired to Poissi, and, “ in the be at an end. Still the French troops character of a vassal, the future con- poured in, and they occupied the bourqueror craved his lord's aid.”. This was gade of Mortemer as headquarters; gladly given, and William, willing enough and here, ere they had awakened from to fight under the banner of the French the drunken riot in which they had king, so that his vengeance might be passed the night, the Normans fired the sated, told over the chief rebels man by town, and gave chase to the terrified
The combined forces assembled fugitives, gaining a complete victory, on the Val des Dunes. The fight was which was grimly announced to the fierce and long, until the rebels fled in French king, then at some distance, by confusion, and the foaming mill-race of Roger de Toeny, who, ere dawn, climbBourbillon was choked with the dead. ing a tree, bade him, in rude verse, rise The defeat was total; and the insur- up from his slumber, and bury his gents sought mercy. “William was friends, who lay dead at Mortemer. prudently gracious," and complete suc- King Henry now concluded a discreditacess crowned his first battle.
ble peace with William, who returned, But William, by whom war seems to well pleased at the result of his second have been viewed—like his cherished victory-all unconscious as yet of that sports, hawking and hunting – as a third and far greater victory, Hastings. mere pastime, now turned his arms While William had thus grown up against Geoffry Martel, Count of An- amid strife and bloodshed, his second jou, who had obtained possession of cousin Edward, who had sojourned in Alençon, and continually harassed the Normandy until 1040, when he was inNorman border. He therefore besieged vited to England by his half brother Alençon, “ prosecuting the campaign Hardicanute, had become ruler of that with insulting unconcern, savoring of kingdom. Although in training for a affectation, hawk on fist, or following saint, the feeble Confessor never seems the hounds, as thongh the country did to have been a favorite with the nation, not remain to be acquired, but was al. and on the death of Ilardicanute he apready gained.” This disgusted even pears to have owed his elevation to the his own followers, many of whom still crown chiefly to the exertions of the “grudged the raising of their caps to the Earl of Wessex, Godwin, but partly tanner's grandson ;” while the inhabi- also to the clearly-expressed notice from tants of Alençon spread outside the walls the Norman court, that if the English “ filthy, gore-besmeared skins, and as he refused to recognize the son of Emma, drew nigh they whacked them, with, they should feel the pressure of Norman * Plenty of work for the tanner; plenty power. Thus, nearly a generation beof work for the tanner." William fore the battle of Hastings was fought, swore bis great oath that dearly should Norman influence had its weight in stormed the outwork, he wreaked on the son of a Norman mother, eduthe prisoners who fell into his hands cated in Normandy, and a dweller there the most atrocious tortures, and the ter- throughout his early manhood, it is not rified townsmen were at length com- surprising that Edward should have bepelled to capitulate.
come far more Norman than English in Again there was war, and it was now habits and feeling, and that on his accesbetween the King of France and his sion to the throne he should have invassal. Many of the Norman barons vited over many of those who had been had found refuge at the French court, friends during his exile. With his Norand, instigated by them, Henry deter- man favorites came Norman customs : mined to expel the “pirates” from the the use of their language, of their handsoil of France. But William acted writing, and, what seems to have given with his wonted caution. Although yet more offence, Edward's adoption of the hostile troops poured in on every is the great seal,” which, afier the usage side, he stood strictly on his defence. I of continental sovereigns, he appended
to the parchments in addition to the this general feeling which led to their old-accustomed Anglo-Saxon sign of the expulsion in 1050-1, for we find that in cross. This last innovation might be the latter year William, now the unchalconsidered of slight moment, but Sir lenged and powerful Duke of NormauFrancis Palgrave points out very forci- dy, came over with a splendid following bly the actual grievances which resulted on a visit to his good cousin Edward. from its use, inasmuch as
“Prosperity acts like a telescope, and " The adoption of these forms gave the often enables folks to bring distant reking an additional reason for retaining about lations much nearer,” shrewdly remarks his person the 'clerks whom he had brought our author, “ so we shall not be guilty from France, and by whom all his writing of any great breach of charity if we business was performed. They were his do. suppose that William, young, ambimestic chaplains and the keepers of his con. tious, and enterprising, did not underscience, and, in addition to these influential take this journey purely out of natural functions, they were his law advisers, and love and affection toward his old aunt also his Secretaries of State, and through and kipsman. Did he begin to form them it was the custom to prefer all petitions and requests to the king. One suitor was any plans for the invasion of England ?” desirous of obtaining a grant of land; anoth- Very probably he did; for while the er, mayhap, required a writ' to enable him wealth of the land invited spoilers, Wilto receive amends for an injury; a third liam could at a glance see that its wished to ask for leave to quarter himself and strangely unprotected state," the great his hounds and his horses on one of the towns, with few exceptions, either quite king's manors-and in such cases we cannot doubt but that Robert the Norman monk of open, or fortified only by stockades or Jumieges, or Giso the Fleming, or Ernaldus banks, or perhaps by a ruinous Roman the Frenchman, would have many means of wall,” would render it an easy prey to serving their own party and disappointing the strong hand. Ilow long William's their adversaries; and many an honest Eng- visit lasted we know not. That he was lish man was turned away with a hard word most honorably received we need scarceand a heavy heart by these Norman cour- ly be told, for the court was already tiers."
filled with his countrymen, and Earl These clerks, too, were, of course, in Godwin and his sons were still in exile. orders, and thus they stood ready to re With the departure of William, pubceive the best church preferment the lic feeling, it would seem, expressed itking could give; and thus Norman prel. self strongly, for Godwin and his sous ates filled English sees years before soon afterward returned, and their case Hastings and the conquest. Sir Fran- being laid before the Witenagemot, the cis Palgrave, although far from unfavor- decision was not only that they were inable to the Normans, referring to the nocent, but that they had been unjustly numbers who came over and settled in deprived of their earldoms. So comEngland during the Confessor's reign, plete indeed was the triumph of the remarks: “ It is certain that the Nor- Godwins that “all the French were deman party began to conduct themselves clared outlaws, because it was said that in such a manner as to occasion much they had given bad advice to the king, disgust among the nation at large;" and and brought unrighteous judgments when we find that of the few castles into the land.” Robert, the Archbishop that then existed, some of the most im- of Canterbury, and Ulf, Bishop of Dorportant, those towards the Welsh chester, fled for their lives, and only a marshes, were garrisoned by French few Normans, too obscure to awaken and Norman soldiers, under the com- suspicion, were allowed to remain. Il mand of leaders of their own nation, was not long after this-probably inand that in the great towns and cities cited to it by this strong reäction of many Normans were already to be Saxon feeling that Edward summoned found, invited thither doubtless by the “Edward the Outlaw," sole surviving lavish encouragement proffered them by son of Edmund Ironside, from Hungathe feeble king, we sball not be surprised ry, with the intention of proclaiming at the general discontent.
him heir to the crown. Hither "the Probably it was the part Earl God- Atheling," with his wife and three win and his sous took in expressing young children, came; but the people's
80 we see no reason
gladness was speedily turned to sorrow,
Edward survived five or six years. for ere two years passed away he sick, We have little information respecting ened and died. “ Did the Atheling these years, but the Godwin family still die a natural death ?” asks Sir Francis held almost supreme power, and the feePalgrave, hinting that “ Harold gained ble king seems to have wholly employed much by this event.” We think there his last days in expediting the completion can be little doubt that the Atheling of Westminster Abbey. These were did not; but surely suspicion would not "go-a-head” times, but still the readpoint to William rather than to Harold. er may be surprised to learn that nearly More than once before William was twenty years were employed on it. The believed to have sent an unwelcome work was meditated by Edward almost competitor out of the way by poison, from the time of his accession to the while against Harold no eich charge was throne, in lieu of a pilgrimage which he ever made. Fierce and unscrupulous had vowed to make to the tomb of St. as were Earl Godwin and his sons, Peter, at Rome; it was finished at the theirs was always open violence, not the close of 1065, and the last Christmas fesstealthy administration of what has been tival that the Confessor celebrated was shrewdly called " the powder of succes- marked by the consecration of St. Pesion.” What seems to us to throw ter's Minster. Built by Norman archistrong suspicion on William is, that if tects at immense expense, “ framed,” as Harold gained aught by the death of Malmesbury records, “ with courses of the Atheling, William certainly gained stone, so correctly laid that the joint de more; for the Norman historians de ceives the eye, and leads it to imagine it clare that immediately on his death, is all one block,” the king, doubtless, Edward nominated the Duke of Nor- looked around with pride on his votive mandy as his heir. That the king did abbey that Holy Innocents' day when
for denying, al. the chant was first raised within its walls. though that he sent Harold over with But he was removed from thence to bis the welcome message, and that Harold bed, and within ten days was laid to rest did homage to his future sovereign, there, bequeathing that fatal legacy to may, we think, be classed among those the land—a disputed succession. convenient fictions which writers of “court history” always have at their three claimants to the crown-his good cousin
“Upon the death of Edward there were command. Suspicion, indeed, is cast on William of Normandy, his good brother-in-law the assertion, as the author of Revolu- Harold, each of whom founded their pretentions in English History truly says, sions upon the real or supposed devise of the by the circumstance that “the three late king, and Edgar Atheling, the son of Edearls named by William as having been ward the Outlaw, who ought to have stood on present when the King of England made firmer ground, for if kindred had any weight this promise were all persons who were Ironside, and the only male now left of the
he was the real heir, the lineal descendant or no longer living;” while the reference house of Cerdic." to the Bayeux tapestry—that most valuable record, not of history, but of life The tender age of Edgar seems, howand manners—is certainly worthless. ever, from the first to have rendered his The whole series is a pictorial narrative pretensions very subordinate, and the of the conquest of England from the conflict was between William and HarNorman standpoint. “It may be," as old. It certainly appears that Edward the same author remarks,“ an authority had aroused the hopes of both these about the armor or the costume of those competitors, and although it may be difiimes—it is no authority in relation to ficult to reconcile the different state
ments, yet,“ taken altogether,” Sir Frai:
cis Palgrave truly remarks," the circum* Sir Francis Palgrave remarks that the inci- stances are exactly such as we meet with dents of Harold's being tempest-tossed on Pon- in private life.” thieu, seized by Count Guido, and liberated from him at Williain's order, are very apocryphal;
" The childless owner of a large estate, at while “the dramatic circumstances of Harold's first leaves his property to his cousin on the vath on concealed relics are totally unknown to mother's side, from whose connections he has the carlier and only trustworthy annalists." received much kindness. He advances in age,
and alters his intentions in favor of a nephew Turning quick round; then o'er his face on the father's side--an amiable young man His mantle cast, then changed his place, living abroad. The young heir comes, is re And on a ledge his head he laid, ceived with great affection, and is suddenly While all around him stood afraid, cut off by illness. The testator then returns And marvellèd what this might be.” to his will in favor of his cousin who resides abroad. His acute and active brother-in-law
"Sirs," said the seneschal, “ye will has taken the management of his affairs, is soon know the cause of this.' William well informed of this will, and when the tes- now aroused himself, and he agreed with tator is on his death-bed, he contrives to tease Osbern the Bold that the first step would and persuade the dying man to alter the will be to require Harold to surrender the in. again in his favor. There can be no difficulty heritance, and perform the duty he owed in admitting that the conflicting pretensions of William and Harold were grounded on the to him as his sovereign. To this message acts emanating from a wandering and feeble Harold returned a haughty reply, and mind. If such disputes take place between each prepared for battle. private individuals, they are decided by a
Unfortunately for Harold, while Duke court of justice, but if they concern a kingdom, William was intimately acquainted with they can only be settled by the sword.” the strength and the weakness of Eng. And swiftly was the appeal to the
land, he scarcely knew the resources of sword resorted to. Harold had the ad
Harola had the ad- his adversary. "Normandy had now for vantage of being on the spot; and “
some years past been rapidly rising in the very day that Edward was laid in power and influence. William's marhis grave, he prevailed upon, or compel. riage with Matilda, the daughter of Bauled, the prelates and nobles assembled douin de Lisle, the Count of Flanders, a at Westminster, to accept him as king" few years before, had greatly added to “A man of mature age, in full vigor of body and mind, possessing great influ. rule which he maintained, had drawn ence and great wealth,” it is not surpris- firm in allegiance to him, and at the same
around him a loyal and active nobility, lar ; but by many he was not recognized time, true to their hereditary tendencies, as king, while from the slowness of communication between different parts of tunity for aggrandizement which circumthe country, the more remote districts stances might offer. Thus, from the very could scarcely have been made acquaint. period of Harold's defiance, Willian ed with the death of the late king, cer- the number of men he could bring into
stood on vantage ground. Whatever tainly not with the succession of the new. Harold, however, forth with began alike in allegiance to their rnler, and one
the field, they were all one in mind ; one to exercise the functions of government, and he is stated to have showed both in hopes of reivard; while IIarold could prudence and courage, together with a only depend on a portion of his subjects, strict regard to the due administration and could hold out no promise of advanof justice.
tage more than would result from sucSwiftly flew the news to his rival. cess in a strictly defensive warfure. It William was hunting with a noble train is probable that this portion of the third in the park of Rouen, when a
volume would have been largely ampli
ser: geant,” from England, hastened into his tied had the author's life been longer presence with the startling news.
The spared; otherwise it is difficult to account bow dropped from William's hand, he for the affairs of England during the bastily returned home, and Wace naive eventful summer of 1066 being so comİy and most minutely tells us how ner- three lines of reference devoted to the
pletely passed over, and merely two or vously he
important battle of Stamford Bridge. *Oft his mantle tied, and then
Now the case was, that, during the sum. Untied, then tied it swift again;
mer, Harold mustered his forces, and Sor would he speak to any one
took his station at the Isle of Wight, but To speak or question him dared none; Then in a boat the Seine he passed,
his troops became weary of the long And to his castle hurried fast;
waiting; provisions were with difficulty And down on the first bench sat he, obtained, and Harold, probably believFrom time to time right hastily,
ing the invasion would be postponed to
the next spring, actually disbanded his ' saw the boats pushing through the surf, glisarmy, and returned to London. It was tening with shields and spears ; in others stood then he received intelligence that his war-horses, neighing and pawing. Now fol. brother Tostig, together with Harold lowed the archers, closely shorn, and arrayed
in light and unencumbered garb; each held Hardrada, had landed in the north, pre- ' his longbow strung for the fight in his hand, pared to contest the kingdom, and again and by his side hung the quiver, filled with had Harold, even as yet scarcely settled those cloth-yard shafts, which, in process of as king, to raise forces to repel this new time, became the favorite and national weapon and unlooked-for invasion.
of the yeomanry of England. . The Meanwhile, William by lavish prom. archers leap out of the bonts, and disperse ises had assembled all his nobility, and themselves on the shore. The knights are bad also invited adventurers from Brit- the planks, each covered with his haubergeon
now seen carefully and heavily treading along tany and Poitou, and Maine and Flan- of mail, his helmet laced, the shield well ders, to join his standard; nor, although strengthened with radiating bars of iron, deholding ecclesiastical power in little re- pending from his neck, his sword borne by liis spect, did he neglect to supplicate the attendant esquire. The gleaming, steel-clad sanction of the Pope, who transmitted to multitude cover the shingly beach in apparent him the gonfanon of St. Peter, and a disorder, but, in a few moments, each warrior precious ring, in which a relic of the is mounted on his steed. Banners, pennons, chief of the Apostles was inclosed. Wil. into squadrons, and advance upon the land,
and pennoncels are raised, the troops form liam's excuses for the prosecution of this which they already claim as their possession. war, were, as Sir Francis Palgrave says, Boat after boat poured out the soldiery of the futile enough, “yet the color of right, various nations and races assembled under the which William endeavored to obtain, banners of William ; and lastly came the shows a degree of deference to public pioneers with their sharp axes.” opinion, and that, at all events, suppos Such was the scene, thus graphically ing Edward's bequest might be disputed, presented to us, which met the started he was justified in his attempt by good eye of the thane that eventful evening. conscience and honor.” The number of William chose at once his place of envessels assembled by William is uncer- campment;“before vightfall the Norman tain. Maistre Wace relates that he often chiet would be entirely secured from surheard his father say, they were six hun- prise.” So the thane turned his horse's dred and ninety-six, but that others calcu- head, and riding night and day, he neither lated them at three thousand ; this could tarried nor rested until he reached the only have been by including even the city of York, and found IIarold--the vicsmallest craft. And in baleful splendor tory of Stamford Bridge having been did the fatal armament set forth from the gained the day before—“ banqueting in mouth of the Dive, on the eve of St. festal triumph," and Sir Francis Palgrave Michael. The well-appointed fleet, gay adds, very unjustly, we think, “ with with painted sides and parti-colored hands embrued in the blood of a brother." sails, and William's own vessel, the gift Now, although Tostig, as well as Harold of Matilda, "the crimson sails swelling Hardrada, lost his life in this decisive to the wind, the gilded vanes glittering battle, it must be borne in mind that he in the sun, at the head of the ship the was the aggressor; that IIarold proffered, efligy of a child, armed with a bow and him Northumbria, and that only on his arrow, ready to discharge his shatt refusal to accept any conditions of peace, against the hostile shore," and its saintly was the battle fought. banner waving aloft, led the way.
On receiving the news, Harold imme“As the vessels approached, and as the diately marched southward ; but it must masts rose higher and higher on the horizon, have been with many a foreboding that the peasantry who dwelt on the coast, and he prepared for the great contest. It has who had congregated on the cliffs, gazed with been very easy for historians, both the utmost alarm at the hostile vessels, which, French and English, to talk about the as they well knew, were drawing near for the sluggish Saxons and the warlike and galful comet blazing in the sky. The alarm lant Normans; but the slightest glance spread; and one of the few thanes who were at the situation of the respective armies left in the shire of the South Saxons galloped will show that while everything favored up to a rising ground to survey. The thane the invaders, seldom, indeed, has a de