Imagens das páginas

traitor. This I am resolved never to be; but to acquit myself before you, and all the world.

“ The king, fixing his eyes on him, asked, * Earl marshal, what is your meaning in saying thus ? We will know it.' “Very dear lord,' replied the earl, “ as I have declared, I will not keep any secret from you; order the earl of Derby to come to your presence, and I will speak out.'

“ The earl of Derby was called for; and the king made the earl marshal rise, for he addressed him on his knees. On the earl of Derby's arrival (who thought no harm), the earl marshal spoke as follows: • Earl of Derby, I charge you with having thought and spoke disrespectfully against your natural lord the king of England, when you said he was unworthy to hold his crown ; that, without law or justice, or consulting his council, he disturbed the realm ; and that, without any shadow of reason, he banished those valiant men from his kingdom who ought to be its defenders. For . all of which, I present my glove; and shall prove, my body against yours, that you are a false and wicked traitor.'

“ The earl of Derby was confounded at this address, and retired a few paces, without demanding from the duke his father, or any of his friends, how he should act. Having mused awhile, he advanced with his hood in his hand, towards the king, and said : Earl marshal, I say


that thou art a false and wicked traitor, which I will bodily prove on thee; and here is my glove.'

“ The earl marshal, seeing his challenge was accepted, shewed a good desire for the combat, by taking up the glove, and saying: “I refer your answer to the good pleasure of the king, and the lords now present. I will prove that what you have said is false; and that my words are true.”

The king consenting, preparations were made at Coventry for the combat; where a grand amphitheatre was erected, and provided with seats. On the day appointed, the two' noblemen came 'into the vicinity of the lists, accompanied by their friends and relations. The duke of Aumerle acted as high constable for the day, and the duke of Surrey as high marshal. Each was attended by a number of persons bearing staffs, to preserve order, habited in silk embroidered with silver.

The earl of Derby, as the challenger, went tirst to the barriers of the lists, mounted on a white courser, barbed with green and blue velvet embroidered with golden swans and antelopes; and himself, completely armed at all points, bore his sword drawn in his right hand.

The two officers met him, and demanded who he was. To which he replied, by declaring his name, and the cause of his appearance there ; swearing, besides, upon the Evangelists, that his quarrel was just ; and demanding to enter the lists upon that ground.


He then pulled his beaver down, put up his sword, made the sign of the cross upon his forehead, entered the lists, dismounted, and seated himself on a chair of green velvet, placed within a traverse of green and blue velvet at one end of them. Richard soon after made his

appearance, surrounded by his whole court, in the most superb dresses; with the earl of St. Paul (who came from France for the express purpose of witnessing the combat) in his train, and a guard of 10,000 men. Immediately after the monarch had taken his seat, proclamation was made, forbidding any person to touch the lists upon pain of death.

Another herald then proclaimed the presence of the earl of Derby; and that he was ready to prove his assertions, under the penalty of being considered false and cowardly. The duke of Norfolk instantly rode forwarı, armed, with his horse covered by crimson velvet, embroidered with silver lions and mulberry - trees; and, having performed similar ceremonies with his antagonist, proceeded to his chair, of crimson velvet, curtained by red and white damask. The marshal examined their spears, and restored them to the parties. The heralds commanded the chairs to be removed, and the combatants to commence the assault; which they had no sooner done, than the king threw down his warder. The heralds


exclaimed, “ Ho!

&c. &c.” They were banished.

The female excellence of England was always believed, on the best authority, to be hereditary, from the earliest ages. Repeated instances of the fact might be cited from our own authors; but they have less weight than those of other nations. Writing of our manners, Froissart speaks thus of the ladies of England, on their hearing of the marriage of the duke of Lancaster. " When this marriage was announced to the ladies of high rank in England, such as the duchess of Gloucester, the countess of Derby, the countess of Arundel, and others connected with the royal family, they were greatly shocked, and thought the duke inuch to blame."

They said, “ he had sadly disgraced himself by thus marrying his concubine :” and added, “ that since it was so, she would be the second lady in the kingdom, and the queen would be dishonourably accompanied by her ; but that for their parts, they would leave her to do the honours alone ; for they would never enter any place where she was. They themselves would be disgraced if they suffered such a base-born duchess, who had been the duke's concubine a long time before and during his marriages, to take precedence; and their hearts would burst with grief were it to happen."

Judging from the well-known liberality of modern authors, I feel no hesitation in saying, I

firmly believe Mr. Douce will excuse my giving an abstract of his observations on the custom of wearing liveries and badges, from his elaborate and entertaining “ Illustrations of Shakspeare."

This gentleman says, “ that the practice of furnishing servants with liveries may be traced in some of the statutes ordained in the reign of Richard the Second. And that in the reign of Edward the Fourth, badge and livery were synonymous; the latter word being derived from the French term, signifying the delivery of any particular thing. The badge was then, as at present, the armorial bearings, the crest or device of the master, executed in cloth or metal, and sewed to the left sleeve of the habit.” Greene, in his “ Quip for an upstart Courtier,” speaking of some serving-men, says, “ their cognizance, as I remember, was a peacock without a tayle.”

According to Hentzner, whose Travels in England were published at Nuremburg, 1612, the nobility gave silver badges; and we find from Fynes Morison, that the servants of gentlemen had worn blue coats, with silver badges of their masters' devices on the left sleeve, which were then in some degree less fashionable; and they commonly had cloaks edged with lace, all the servants of one family wearing the same livery, for colour and ornament.” This fact leads to the supposition, that the badge on the sleeve was disused in the reign of James I. Though it had been

« AnteriorContinuar »