Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

one well-directed blow, struck him from his horse. Others of the attendants, seeing Tyler thus in their power, soon deprived him of life. At this critical moment, the king had the address and courage to offer himself in place of their fallen unworthy leader; and, desiring the insurgents to follow him into the fields, promised to grant them their demands. Irresolute as to their subsequent conduct, they complied ; and during the interval employed in going there, and conversing with the king, Walworth assembled many armed citizens, with whom he proceeded to the relief of Richard.

The people, terrified at the approach of the mayor and his party, immediately solicited for mercy and pardon ; which the monarch granted them with great clemency, on condition that they returned home immediately.

Although the alarming insurrection, thus unexpectedly quelled, seems, at first view, to have originated from the unpremeditated vengeance of Wat Tyler ; we are well informed that the minds of the people had previously been prepared for revolt, by the declamations of designing persons, particularly a monk named John Ball; whose doctrines of equality of rights and property, acted upon, produced the dreadful effects just related; which, after all, ended in a recurrence of the old usages, by the repeal of all charters granted by the king on this occasion, and the execution of a great number of the most active of the rioters.

Political

Political jealousy has operated with so much violence throughout the history of nations, that it has seldom happened monarchs have met for pacific purposes. This circumstance makes it necessary to describe the ceremonies which distinguished the meeting of the kings of France and England, in the month of October, 1396, in the territories of the former.

The heralds having previously arranged the etiquette, the two sovereigns advanced on foot from their tents, at aboni ten o'clock in the morning, to a spot guarded by four hundred English and the same number of French knights, splendidly armed, and bearing their swords drawn : those immediately divided ; and the kings, supported by the dukes of Lancaster and Gloucester, Berry and Burgundy, passed through the ranks. When they met, the whole of the knights kneeled; the kings, uncovered, saluted; and, taking each other's hands, the French monarch led Richard to a magnificent tent, followed by the four dukes in the same friendly manner.

Much conversation took place during the entertainment which succeeded; when the royal dukes of France served their master with the com fit-box and wine; and those of England did the same with their sovereign. The knights of the two nations then presented the prelates and nobles similar refreshments.

On

On the 28th, the king of England dined with his brother of France, at a table covered with

every luxury; and near a sideboard, loaded with the richest plate. The latter sat at the head of the table, and Richard II. at some distance below him. The dukes of Berry, Burgundy, and Bourbon, served them. The duke of Bourbon entertained the kings with many facetious remarks; and observed to the king of England, that he ought to enjoy himself, as all his wishes were gratified; and that he would almost immediately receive his wife from the hands of her father the king of France.

“ When dinner was over," says Froissart, « which lasted not long, the cloth was removed, the tables carried away, and wine and spices brought. After this, the young queen of England entered the tent, attended by a great number of ladies and damsels. The king led her by the hand, and gave her to the king of England, who instantly after took his leave. The queen was placed in a very rich litter, which had been prepared for her ; but, of all the French ladies who were there, only the lady of Coucy went with her.” . The good cheer given on this occasion was extremely profuse; and the heralds and minstrels, according to Froissart, were so well paid that they were satisfied.

The lady Isabella was married to Richard at the church of St. Nicholas, Calais, by the archbishop

of

son.

of Canterbury; and her public entry into London was celebrated by a tournament at Smithfield.

The duplicity and baseness of Richard II. towards the duke of Gloucester, his uncle, cannot be excused by the unpopular and cruel character of the duke. Several instances have occurred in which the king and the judge have rejected all claims of affinity to the culprit before them, and administered the laws in the true spirit of their tenor, while their hearts were wrung with anguish. But Richard, though the duke deserved the death he had inflicted on others, appears in very little better light than an assassin, when engaged in the following scheme to secure his per

The king, having appointed such assistants as he could depend upon, went to his palace at Havering, in Essex, about equi-distant from London and Pleshy, the seat of the duke of Gloucester. There, under pretence of enjoying the pleasures of the chace, he passed through the neighbouring country, without exciting the least suspicion of his purpose; and at length, suddenly leaving the palace, on a very sultry afternoon, he arrived, with few attendants, at Pleshy about five o'clock.

The duke had supped; and, being extremely temperate in his living, had left the table, to enjoy the superior pleasures of retirement. Upon the porter's announcing the king, bimself and fainily proceeded to the court-yard to welcome

him. Richard, fearful of betraying his cruel purpose, accepted of an invitation to partake of the supper, but ate little ; and soon informed his uncle, that he expected him to accompany him to London immediately, with not more than five or six domesticks, where he was to meet the citizens on affairs of great importance ; in settling of which, he wished to profit by his advice, and that of his uncles of York and Lancaster, who had promised to attend.

Perfectly successful in his stratagem, the king saw the duke mount his horse, in company with only three esquires, and as many vassals. Taking a hasty leave of the duchess, the party rode with great swiftness towards London, through cross roads, the king and the duke conversing with the utmost cheerfulness, 'till they reached Stratford ; where the earl marshal was stationed, with a body of troops, to seize the duke. At the moment they reached the spot, the treacherous and cowardly king, spurred his steed, and, galloping forward, left his uncle to hear the dreadful words, “ I arrest you in the king's name.”

The artifice which Richard had practised when he inveigled his uncle, the duke of Gloucester, into the ambush he had prepared for him, was retorted upon himself not long before he lost his crown. The earl of Derby, whom he had banished, entered England, determined to repay the indignities and oppression he received from

the

« AnteriorContinuar »