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beneath the weight of the horses, riders and horses rolled by
hundreds. The English wera comi)letely routed; all their
tieasure, stores, and engines, were taken by the Scottish
men; so many wagons and other wheeled vehicles were
seized, that it is related that they would have reached, if
they had been drawn out in a line, one hundred and eighty
miles. The fortunes of Scotland were, for the time, com-
pletely change<l ; and never was a battle won, more famous
upon Scottish ground, than this gi*eat battle of Bankockburn.

Plague and famine succeeded in England; and still the
powerless king and his disdainful Lords were always in con-
tention. Some of the turbulent diiefs of Ireland made pro-
1)088 Is to Brace to accept the rale of that country'. He sent
his brother Edward to them, who was crowned King of Ire-
land. He afterwards went himself to help his brother in his
Irish wars, but his brother was defeated in the end and
killed. Robert Brace, returmng to Scotland, still increased
his strength there.

As the King's rain had begun in a favorite, so it seemed
likely to end in one. He was too poor a creature to rely at

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all upon himself; and his new ftvorite was one Hugh le
Despensgr, the son of a gentleman of ancient fliniily. Hugli
was handsome and brave, but he was the fkvorite of a weak
King, whom no man cared a inisfa for, and that was a dan-
gerous place to hold. The Nobles leagued against him, be-
cause tlie King liked him ; and they lay in wait, both for his
ruin and his father's. Now, the King had married him to the
daughter of the late Earl of Gloucester, and had giren both
him and his father great possessions in Wales. In tliefr
endeavors to extend these, they gave violent offence to an
ai^*y Welsh gentleman, named John de Mowbrat, and to
divers other wngry Welsh gentlemen, who resorted to amis,
took tlieir castles, and seized their estates. The £ai4 of
Lancaster had first placed the favorite (who was a poor rela-
tion of his own) at Court, and he considered his own dignity
offended by the pi-eference he received and tlie honors he
acqnii^d ; so he, and the Barons who were his fHends, Joined
the Welshmen, mardied on London, and sent a message to
the King demanding to have the favorite tod his father ban-
ished. At first tlie King unaccountably took it into his head
to be spirited, and to send them a bold reply ( but when they
quartered themselves around Holijorn and Clet^kenwell, and
went down, armed, to the Parliament at Westminster, he
gave way, and complied with their demands.

His turn of triumph came sooner than he expected. It
arose out of an accidental circumstance. The beautiftil
Queen happening to be travelling, came one niglit to one of
tlie royal castles, and demanded to be lodged and entertained
tliere until morning. The go\'ernor of this castle, who was
one of the eni'aged lords, was away, and in bis absence, his
wife refused admission to tlie Queen ; a scuffle took place
among the common men on either side, and some of tlie roj**!
attendants were killed. Tlie jieople, who cared nothing for
the King, were very angiy that their l>eautif\il Queen should
be tlius rudely treated in her own dominions ; and the King^
taking ad\'antage of thb feeling, besieged Hie castle, took it^

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and tben called the two Despensers home. Upon this, the
coolhderate lords and the Welshmen went orer to Brace.
The King encountered them at Boroughbridge, gained the
victory, and took a number of distingnished prisoners ; among
them the £arl of Lancaster, now an old man, upon whose
destruction he was resolved. This Earl was taken to his
own castle of Pontefract, and there tried and fbund guilty by
an unfair court appointed for the pinpose; he was not even
allowed to speak in his own defence. He was insulted,
pelted, mounted on a starved pony without saddle or bridle,
osnied out, and beheaded. £ight-and-twenty knights were
hanged, dravm, and quartered. When the King had de*
apatdied this bloody work, and had made a f^esh and a long
tmce witli Brace, he took the Despmisers into greater fkvor
tkan ever, and made the father Earl of Winchester.

One prisoner, and an important one, who was taken at
Borougfabridge, made his escape, however, and tirrned the
tide against the King. This was Rogeu Mobtiher, alwa^-s
resolutely opposed to him, who was sentenced to death, and
pfeotd for safe custody in the Tower of London. He treated
his guards to a quantity of wine into which he bad put a
deeping potion ; and when they were insensible, broke out of
his dungeon, got into a kitchen, chmbed up the chimney, let
himself down from the roof of the bnilding with a rope-ladder,
passed the sentries, got down to the river, and made away in
a boat to where servants and horses were waiting Ibr him.
He finally escaped to France, where Charles le Bel, the
brother of the beautifbl Queen, was King. Charles songht to
quarrel with the King of England, on pretence of his not
having come to do him homage at his coronation. It was
proposed that the beantifhl Queen should go over to arrange
the dispute ; she went, and wrote home to the King, that as
he was sick, and could not come to France himself, perhaps
it would be better to send over the young Prince, their son,
who was only twelve years okl, who could do liomage to her
brother in his steady and in whoso company she would irame-

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diately return. The King sent him : but, hoih he and the
Queen remained at the French Court, and Roger Mortioier
became the Queen's lover.

When the King wrote, again and again, to the Queen to
come home, she did not reply that she despised him too much
to live witli him any more (which was the truth), but sfud
she was afraid of the two Despensers. In short, her design
was to overthrow the favorites' power, and the King's power,
such as it waa, and invade England. Havii^ obtained a
French force of two thousand men, and being joined by all
the English exiles then in France, she landed, within a j'ear,
at Orewell, in Suffolk, where she was immediately joined hj
the Earls of Kent and Norfolk, the King's two brothers ; by
other powerful noblemen; and lastl}^ by the irst English
general who was despatched to check her : who went over (o
her with all his men. The people of London, receiving these
tidii^s, would do nothing for the King, but broke open the
Tower, let out all his prisoners, and threw up their caps and
hurrahed for the beantifUl Queen.

The King, with his two favorites, fled to Bristol, where he
left old Despenser in charge of the town and castJe, while
he went on with the son to Wales. The Bristol men being
opi)osed to the King, and it being Impossible to hold the town
with enemies everywhere within the walls, Despenser 3'idded
it up on the third day, and was instantly brought to trial for
having traitorously influenced what was called '••the King's
mind " — though I doubt if the King ever had any. He was
a venerable old man, upwards of ninety years of age, but his
age gained no respect or mercy. He was hanged, toni open
while he was yet alive, cut up into pieces, and thrown to the
dogs. His son was soon taken, tried at Hereford before the
same Judge on a long series of foolish charges, found guilty,
and hanged upon a gallows fift}' feet high, with a chaplet of
nettles round his head. His poor old father and he were in-
nocent enough of any worse crimes than the crime of having
been friends of a King, on whom, as a mere man, they would

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• I- '-nvo ,leit::i:*^<l to t ast a favomhlo Iook. It is a ba«l

!.*• I know, f»iu\ Uk\([< to \\i>rNt' ; hut, inni\v lords and Gfon-

, .> — J t'v*'n thiuk '^oinc 'ndirs, too. if J rocollcct ri.,lit —

< "lipnip* 'I it in Kn^ini"'. who havt^ neither luvii ^ivrn

• thnl^, iUfT li.-iHjXf-d lip iif\\ feet tii_,h.

T'-i wti't-'hi**.! KiniX vvhh lun.i.n^ here jM/i tb**T'i', all ttis

fif fli d n«'\i^i tr«?Ui'<g :iii\ -vlu'iv' in pa.tic la?, until iie gne

« I-**'!! •![•. aiiil w;i«^ takf^n ott to K* nilwoith r;i>tk*. ^^'ll^ ii

■• wa- s*ii*-i\ I»Kig(Ml there, the (Kiecn went to L«>n(lt)n an»l

*'^ I'f iSrlmiiU'ur. And he li^^hopof Ileietord. wlu>'\>.is

t!i- 'KVxt *<k?lful of her tVietHK, -^aid. What wan to be done

ivtn ' U'-n* ^u?» an i'nheeile, indolent, iMi.-.ral»Ie Kmiij np<»n

*.. ■hrcut* ; wouldn't it \v t>etter U- take hnn off, an i put his

#••■ tlu*r« ii.>t4»ad? 1 don*l kn »w whc'i cr th<»(^u^n really

■|B»td hi»ii at tli'^ pass, hut sue l>o»r.'ui to er\ ; so, tlie Hish^-p

jpfr Wei*, my LorrU and tTriitlemen, what do yrn tlhi:k.

:j^Npfft th\* whole, of -«m,<: u^ down to K'enilwoHh, and setlnir if

llkt Ifclaji^ty i^'Oil bless Idni, and forbid we sliouhl d. por^e

My I^tr^ls and (ien».'.'nn»'n *ln;uu!.t it i\ iioihI n<»::ou. ^o a

4ei>atAtion of iliem went down lo Kenilworth; aii'l there the

•ICtiV CHHH* into th«*gre; t hail of Hie Castle, eomint I's dnsM' ,

^H m \iOor biaek jr*'^' ; and when he saw a ee'tiin bisho[>

tmoiiU llwni, fell down, [>ooi feeb[e-hea«led man, ai d i nJe a

•rreU'iu^l sf>tK-taHe of himse'f. Somebooy lifted Mm iJ[», and

"ften NiR William Tia;>>EL, tlie Speaker of the Ilou^e of

ftwimuiu*, almost fri<rhten*Mi him to death bv makbiti: Irui a

towndous* sjK*t»c'h U) the ttfeet that he was no loiuer a Kitir.

■IkI tliat 'VITA lM><h renouneed allciria: 'O to hmi. Ai;tr

•fieh, Sii: Thomas Bioj nt, the Stowi rd of the Honseiio.-i.

•nurly fm"islitNl him, by e<>ming forwai'd ard breaking jjis

•bite waiid-wliieh was a cereaiony only perfo nied at a

tout's death. Being asked in this pres^^bij:;: what be

•ho»ii:h* of resigning, the King said he tiioui;ht it was tho

*H^sit thing he could do. So "le did it, and they pro<-la:M,ed

!■» ^on next day.


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never hare deigned to cast a favorable look. It is a bad
crime, I know, and leads to worse ; bat^ many lords and gen*
tlemen — I even think some ladies, too, if I recollect right —
have committed it in England, who have neither been given
to the dogs, nor hanged up fifty feet high.

The wix2tcheil King was running here and there, all this
time, and never getting anywhere in particular, until he gave
himself up, and was. taken off to Kenilworth Castle. When
he was safely lodged there, the Queen went to London and
met the Parliament. And the Bishop of Hereford, who was
the most skiliul of her iHends, said, What was to be done
now ? Here was an unbecile, indolent, miserable King upon
the throne ; wouldn't it be better to take him off, and put his
son thei-e instead ? I don't know whether the Queen really
pitied him at this pass, but she began to cry ; so, the Bishop
said, Well, my Lords and Gentlemen, what do yon think,
upon the whole, of sending down to Kenilworth, and seeing if
His Majesty (God bless him, and forbid we should deix)se
him !) won't resign?

My Lords and Gentlemen thought it a good notion, so a
deputation of them went down to Kenilworth ; and there the
King came into the great hall of the Castle, commonly dressed
in a poor black gown ; and when he saw a certain bishop
among them, fell down, poor feeble-headed man, and made a
wretched spectacle of himself. Somebody liA;ed him up, and
then Sir William Trussel, the Speaker of the House of
Commons, almost frightened him to death by making him a
tremendous speech to the effect that he was no longer a King,
and that everybody renounced allegiance to him. After
which, Sir Thomas Blount, the Steward of the Household,
nearly finished him, by coming foi-ward and breaking his
white wand — which was a ceremony only performed at a
King's death. Being asked in this pressing manner what he
thought Of resigning, the King said he thought it was the
best thing he could do. So he did it, and they proclaimed
bis son next day.


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I wish I could dose his history by saying that he lired a
harmless life in the Castle and the Castle gardens at Kenil-
worth many years — that he had a favorite, and plenty to eat
and drink — and, having that, wanted nothing. But he was
shamefuU}' humiliated. He was outraged, and slighted, and
had dirt}' water from ditches given liim to shave with, and
wept and said he would have clean warm water, and was al-
together very miserable. He was moved from this castle to
tliat castle, and firom that castle to the other castle, because
this lord or that loixl, or the other lord, was too kind to him :
until at last he came to Berkeley Castle, near the River Sev-
ern, where (the Lord Berkeley being then ill and absent) he
fell into the hands of two black ruffians, called Thomas
GouRNAT and Wiluam Ogle.

One night — it was the night of September the twenty*first,
one thousand three hundred and twenty-seven — dreadful
screams were heard, by the startled people in the neighborii^
town, ringing through the thick walls of the Castle, and the
dark deep night ; and they said, as they were thus horriUy
awakened from their sleep, ^^ May Heaven be merciful to the
King ; for those cries forebode that no good is being done to
him in his dismal prison ! " Next morning hft wtm. dead —
not bruised, or stabbed, or marked upon the body, but much
distorted in the face ; and it was whispered afterwards, that
those two villains, Goumay and Ogle, had burned up his in-
side with a red-hot iron.

If you ever come near Gloucester, and see the centre tower
of its beautiful Cathedral, with its four rich pinnacles, rising
lightly in the air, you may remember that the wretched Ed-
ward the Second was buried in the old abbey of that ancient
city, at ibrty-three years old, after being for nineteen years
and a half a perfectly incapable King.

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Roger Mobtibier, the Queen's lover (who escaped to
France in the last chapter), was &r from profiting by the
examples he had had of the fate of favorites. Having,
through the Queen's influence, come into possession of the
estates of the two Despensers, he became extremely proud
and ambitious, and sought to be the real ruler of England.
Tlie young King, who was crowned at fourteen years of age
with all the usual solemnities, resolved not to bear this, and
soon pursued Mortimer to his ruin.

The people themselves yrere not fond of Mortimer — first,
beeaose he was a royal favorite ; secondly, because he was
supposed to have helped to make a peace with Scotland
which DOW took place, and in virtue of which the 3'oung
King's sister Joan, only seven 3*ears old, was promised in
Hiarriage to David, the son and heir of Robert Bruce, who
was only five years old. The nobles hated Mortimer because
of bis pride, hc*hes, and power. The}' went so far as to
take up arms against him : but were obliged to submit. The
Earl of Kent, one of those who did so, but who afterwards
went over to Mortimer and the Queen, was made an exam-
|»le of in the following cruel manner : —

He seems to have been an3*thing but a wise old earl ; and
he was persuaded b}* the agents of the ftivorit^ and the Queen,
that poor King Edward the Second was not reall}- dead ; and
thus was betrayed into writing letters favoring his rightAil
rlaim to the throne. This was made out to be high treason,
and be was tiled, found guilt}*, and sentenced to be executed.

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They took the poor old lord outside the town of Winchester,
and there kept him waiting some three or four hours until
tlie}' could find somebody to cut off his head. At last, a
convict said he would do it, if the government would imrdon
him in return ; and the}' gave him the i)an1on ; and at one
blow he put the Earl of Kent out of his last susi>ense.

While the Queen was in France, she had found a lovely
and good young ladj-, named Philippa, who she thought
would make an excellent wife for her son. The young King
married this lady, soon after he eame to the throne ; and her
first child Edward, Prince of Wales, afterwards became cele-
brated, as we shall presently see, under the famous title of
Edward the Black Prince.

The 3'oun^ King, thinking the time ripe for the downfall
of Mortimer, took counsel with Lord Montacute how be
should proceed. A Parliament was going to be held at
Nottingham, and that lord recommended that the favorite
should be seized by night in Nottingham Castle, where he
was sure to be. Now this, like many other things, was
more easily- said than done ; because to guaixl against treadi-
ery, the great gates of the Castle were locked eveiy night,
and the gi'eat keys were earned up-stairs to the Queen^ who
laid them under her own pillow. But the Castle had a gov-
ernor, and the governor being Lord Montacute's fViend, con-
fided to him how he knew of a secret passage under-ground,
hidden from observation by the weeds and brambles with which
it was overgrown ; and how, through that passage, the conspir-
ators might enter in the dead of the night, and go straight
to Mortimer's room. Accoi-dingl}', upon a cei-tain dark night*
at midnight, they made their wa}* tlirough this dismal place :
startling the rats^ and frightening the owls and bats: and
came safely to the bottom of the main tower of the Castle,
where tlie King met them, and took them up a pix)fo4mdly-
dark staircase in a deep silence. They soon heard Uie voice
of Mortimer in council with some friends ; and bursting into
Uie room with a sudden noise, took him prisoner. The Queen

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cried ont from her bed-chamber, "Oh, my sweet gon, mj^
dear son, spare my gentle Mortimer T' The}' carried him
off, however ; and, before the next Parliament, accused him
of havuig made differences between the 3'oung King and his
mother, and of having brought alnrnt the death of the Earl
of Kent, and even of the late King ; for, as you know by this
time, when the}' wanted to get lid of a man in those old
da^'s, they were not veij' particular of what tliey accusetl
him. Mortimer was found guilty' of all this, and was sen-
tenced to be hange<l at Tyburn. The King shut his mother
up in genteel confinement, where she passed the rest of her
life ; and now he became King in earnest.

The first effort he made was to conquer Scotland. The
English lords who had lands in Scotland, finding that their
rights were not respected under the late peace, made war on
their own account: choosing for their general, Edward, Uie
son of John Baliol, who made such a vigorous figlit, that in
less than two months he won the whole Scottish Kingdom.
He was joined, when thus triumphant, by the King and Par-
hameut ; and he and the King in person besieged the Scot-
tish forces in Berwick, The whole Scottish anuv coming
to the assistance of their countrj men^ such a furious battle
ensued, that thirtj* thousand men are said to have been killed
in it. Baliol was then crownal King of Scotland, doing
homage to the King of England ; but Uttle came of his suc-
cesses after all, for the Scottish men rose against him, within
DO veiy' long time, and David Bruce came back within ten
years and took his kingdom.

France was a far richer country than Scotland, and the
Kiug had a much greater mind to conquer it. So, he let
Scotland alone, and pretended that he had a claim to the
French throne in right of his mother. He had, in reaUty, no
claim at all; but that mattered little in those times. He
brouglit over to liis cause many little princes and sovereigns,
and even courted the alliance of the people of Flandei-s — a
busy, working community, wlio had very small respect for

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kings, and whose bead man was a brewer. With sneh forces
as be raised bj^ these means, Edward invaded France ; but
be did little by that, except run into debt in earr}ing on the
war to the extent of three hundred thousand i)ouiids. The
next 3'ear he did better; gaining a great sea-fight in the
harbor of Sluys. This success, however, was very short-
lived, for the Flemings took fright at the siege of Saint Omer
and ran away, leaving their weaix>ns and baggage beliind
them. Philip, the Fi'ench King, coming up with his annj,
and Edward beiug very anxious to decide the war, proposed
to settle the difference by single combat with him, or by a
fight of one hundi-ed knights on each side. The French King
said, he thanked him ; but being verj' well as he was, he
would rather not. So, after some skirmishing and talking,
a short peace was made.

It was soon broken by King Edward's favoring the cause
of John, Earl of Montford ; a French nobleman, who assert-
ed a claim of his own against the French King, and offereA
to do homage to England for the Crown of France, if he
could obtain it through England's help. This French lord,
himself, was soon defeated by the French King's son, and
shut up in a tower in Paris ; but his wife, a courageous and
beautiftil woman, who is said to have had' the courage of a
man, and the heart of a lion, assembled the people of Brit-
tan}', where she then was ; and, showing tbem her infant
son, made many pathetic entreaties to them not to desert
her and their young Lord. They took fire at this appeal, and
rallied round her in the strong castle of HennelK)n. Here
she was not only l>esieged without b}' the French under
Charles de Blois, but was endangered within by a drearj* old
bishop, who was always I'epresenting to the people what
horrors the}' must undergo if the}* weix* faithf\)l — first from
fnmine, and afterwards ft-om fire and sword. Bnt this noble
lady, whose heart never failed her, encouraged her soldiers
by her own example ; went from |>ost to post like a great
genei*al ; ey^fl mpunted on horseback llill^ anped, ftnd, fesiit

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ing fmm the castle bj a by-path, fell upon the French camp,
set fire to the tents, and threw the whole force into disorder.
This done, she got safely back to Hennebon again, and was
received with loud shoats of joy b}' the defenders of tlie
castle, who had given her np for lost. As they were now
ver}' short of provisions, however, and as they could not
dine off enthusiasm, and as the old bishop was alwa3's say-
ing, '^ I told you what it would come to I " they began to
lose heart, and to talk of yielding the castle up. The bi*avc
Countess retiring to an upper room and looking with
great grief out to sea, where she expected relief from Eng-
land, saw, at this very time, the English ships in the distance,
and was relieved and rescued! Sir Walter Manning, the
English commander, so admired her courage, that, being come
into the castle with the English knights, and having made a
feast there, he assaalted the French, by way of dessert, and
beat them off triumphantly. Then he and the knights came
back to the castle with great joy ; and tlie Countess who
had watched them from a high tower, thanked them with all
her heart, and kissed them every one.

This noble lady distinguished herself afterwards in a sea-
fight with the French off Guernse}-, when she was on her wa}'
to En^and to ask for more troops. Her great spirit ixjused
another lady, the wife of another French lord (whom the
French King very barbarously murdered), to distinguish her-
self scarcely less. The time was fast coming, however, when
Kdward, Prince of Wales, was to be the great star of this
French and English war.

It was in the month of Jul}', in the year one thousand
three hundred and foit3-six, when the King embarked at
'Sonthampton for France, with an army of about thirty thou-
sand men in all, attended bj^ the Prince of Wales and by
several of the chief nobles. He landed at La Hogue in
Normandy ; and, burning and destroying as he went, accord-
ing to custom, advanced up the left bank of the Ri\'er Seine,
and fired the small towns even close to Paris; but, being

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watched from the right bank of the river by the French King

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