Francis Palgrave.

The history of Normandy and of England (Volume 2) online

. (page 41 of 60)
Online LibraryFrancis PalgraveThe history of Normandy and of England (Volume 2) → online text (page 41 of 60)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

duly qualified to have the care of an Ottoman
Harem, might amuse the jeering Germans as
a fitting representative of the luxurious and
effeminate Byzantium. Gerberga, heartily wel-
comed bv her brother, received assurances that

sufficient succour should be given, and she
cheerfully returned to her husband. Otho was
sincere, yet some time elapsed before the Lor-
raine troops could be mustered, whilst Louis,
hopeful as though he had never sustained mis-
fortune, was impatient to take the field against

the rebel Duke; and he earnestlv desired not


only the advantage but the honour of striking
an effective and single-handed blow, before the
German reinforcements should arrive.
949 La6n ^3. Raoul devised a plan for the surprise
anc ^ re-capture of Laoii, he was thoroughly ac-
quainted with the City of the Rock and all its
ways, the ascents and the descents, the nooks
and the crannies, the streets and the gates, and,
above all, the sentiments of the garrison and
the citizens. A surprise was impossible; Hugh's
powerful forces were supported by a large pro-
portion of the inhabitants who had espoused the
Usurper's cause. Hugh-le-Grand had, without
doubt, spent much money there, and the fortifi-
cations which Louis had erected for the citadel's


better defence, were now bristling to oppose 012951
their Founder. , * ,


On either part the desultory warfare was con-
ducted doggedly, and yet slackly. Laon being
ill supplied with provisions, the garrison were
accustomed to send out stable-folk, upwards
of sixty or more, for the purpose of gathering
and collecting horsemeat, green or dry. This
troop sallied forth daily. Now, according to
RaouPs ingenious suggestion, an equal num-
ber of the King's men clad themselves exactly
like the Laon men, wearing also the same

7 O

fashioned cap, by which, when the tall truss
of forage was loaded before the Rider, his visage
was almost entirely concealed. The Guisers,
Raoul himself being one of the Party, carefully
watched the proceedings of the authentic fora-
gers. The Laon true-men idled in their busi-
ness. The King's folk rode up to the City, the The surprize

, . , A . of Laon.

gate opened to receive them. As soon as they
had passed the Portal, - down with the trusses,
out with the swords. The Citizens, or at least
a faction amongst them who demonstrated a des-


perate disloyalty, defended themselves valiantly
in the narrow climbing streets : but the assail-
ants, offering a compact front, were protected
laterally by these defiles ; and, threading their
way between the city walls and the houses, they
penetrated onwards, though with much peril.
Possibly the Royal soldiery would have been



942954 beaten, had not reinforcements poured in. After
, , much bloodshed, the Duke's men effected a

949950 , ^ i i /-v

retreat into the great lower, but the City was

74. This was an encouraging success.
Louis rallied his friends, and Otho energetically
supported the Royal cause. Moreover, his most
inconsistent son-in-law Duke Conrad, he who
had espoused Otho's daughter, the lovely Liut-
garda of the silver spindle, joined Louis with a
large Army of Lorrainers; and a rapid succession
of alternate gains and losses excited both the
contending parties.

If Louis was thus aided, Hugh-le-Grand en-
creased his battalions from the ranks of the
never-failing Normans ; and he stationed a pow-
erful garrison in the neighbouring Senlis. Here
Louis was unpopular. The inhabitants of this
antient City, however embued with Carlovingian
recollections, had become staunch adherents of
Hugh. The showers of bolts darted from the
949 Norman arbalests deterred the French, though

Louis at-
tacks Senlis they established their position before the walls:


Ml y- and Hugh was also enabled to victual the Tower
of Laon. But, by concentrating the Ducal
forces in and about Senlis and Laon, a large pro-
portion of the modern Isle de France was left
exposed. Louis promptly availed himself of this
strategical error, and ravaged the undefended
country as far as the Seine, There, however, he


was compelled to halt : his troops could not 942954
cross the river; the boats had been cleared , * N

i IIP-, 949950

away ; pontoons had not been thought or ; and
the King returned to Rheims.

Hugh now tried to throw Louis off his
guard. For this purpose he offered a settle-
ment of their differences ; but whilst the dis-
cussions were pending, he made an attempt to
recover the City of Laon by a coup-de-main.
The scheme did not answer: and though the
Normans fought on his behalf, the attack failed. Hu-h fails

rpi i p ,. T inattempt-

llie endeavours tor a pacification were renewed, ing to re-


the Bishops or Auxerre and Iroyes concurred
with Duke Conrad as mediators, and a length-

7 O

ened truce was concluded, to endure until the
Paschal festival of the following year.

75. Notwithstanding the checks which
Louis had received, he was acquiring support from
public opinion. His undaunted perseverance,
his unity of purpose, and the justice of his cause,
all pleaded potently in his favour. Hugh-le-
Grand boldly spurned the ecclesiastical censures :
yet the excommunication, which damaged him
before the world, was weighing upon his mind,
and this sentiment possibly motived his over-
tures for peace.

Agapet, though the most quiet of Pontiffs,
could no longer delay asserting his authority.
He summoned a Council to be held at Rome
in Saint Peter's Basilica, The Acts of the

R R 2


942954 Council of Engleheim were produced and read,
i * v sentence was pronounced condemning Hugh, the


shall Pope subscribed his name, and commanded the
King. Italian Prelates for none other were summoned
to do the like; and he then promulgated the Ex-
communication against Hugh, the great disturber,
unless and until he should have given satisfac-
tion to his King. This Decree being trans-
mitted to the Prelates of the Gauls, they exerted
themselves strenuously in labouring to promote
the much -desired restoration of tranquillity,
addressing themselves to Hugh-le-Grand's con-
science, and warning him against the impending
peril : the Apostolic Anathema was a sword
piercing through body and soul, and, at last,
he agreed to treat. In fact, all parties, including
Louis, were tired out, and he entreated Otho to
co-operate. Duke Conrad was sent forward to
open the negotiations ; and Hugh - le - Grand
gladly entertained the proposals of accommo-

An interview ensued on the shores of the
Marne, the parties being, as usual, separated by
the stream. Hugh-le-Noir, of whom we have
so long lost sight, also attended as a common
friend. Neither King Louis nor Hugh-le-Grand
had much inclination to face each other: their
reciprocal propositions and answers were ex-
changed by Conrad and Hugh-le-Noir, and by
the Bishops Adalbero and Fulbert, crossing


and re-crossing the water. A peace was con- 942954
eluded, and all points which Louis could fairly , ^ ,

* QgQ _ Qftl

demand were conceded. Hugh surrendered the 05 o_

object, so precious in his sight, the Tower

Laon, which was forthwith evacuated by his gar- King and

TT 1 1

rison. The proud Duke of all the Gauls became Grand: the

latter per-

the Kind's Homager, performing: the ceremony forms hom-

J age and re-

which testified the Vassal's subjection to his stores the

J Tower ot

Suzerain, renewing the oath of fealty, and clench- La6u>
ing his oath by earnest declarations of friendship.
It appeared as if their present love was no less
ardent than their previous enmity ; and Hugh-
le-Grand's actions were consistently conformable
to his words. He obeyed the King's behests,
raising the forces which Louis required for the
expedition he was contemplating. A complete
and triumphant victory seemed to have been
achieved by the King, and Louis entered Laon,
now all his own. Tower, City, Gates, Walls,
once more in his possession, without dispute or
challenge, and he was preparing for the full re-
sumption of his power. But the hand of God
was upon him ; he became grievously ill, took
to his bed, and his work was stayed.

76. Louis laid by, fresh political troubles

m . . Louis afflict -

perplexed him. A harassing; series of disturb- b y severe


ances ensued, not exactly directed against the
King, and yet as troublesome as if they were,
being connected with the interminable dispute
between Artaldus and the Parvulus. Compelled


942954 to be inactive, Louis improved his enforced lei-
, ^^ sure. After nearly a year of illness, convales-
cence and languor, his flesh a cumbrance and a
burden, but his spirit unsubdued, recollecting
his past sufferings and disgraces and humilia-
tions only as incentives to vigorous action, he
again rose up for the purpose of completing the
great stroke of policy which he had so long con-
templated, the restoration of the Royal autho-
rity in the Kingdom of Aquitaine.

But even success in this important enterprise
would be unsatisfactory, unless Louis could en-
sure the Royal Succession to the line of Char-
lemagne. What claimants might not arise when
the Throne should become vacant by his own
95i_ death, an event possibly near at hand ? Louis
therefore, according to the antient usage of the

Lothaire to

Monarchy, caused the young Lothaire to be de-

nated as. i TT- i i

King. signated as King, but no evidence remains to
shew that the act was followed by any solemn

Respect The undelayed surrender made, erewhile, by

theT q e ui- y the Aquitanian Princes of their charters to

tanians to T i PI* -n i

the Royal Louis, when, after his successes in Burgundy,
See p. 393. he presented himself beyond the Loire, in
order to obtain a legal renewal of their autho-
rity, afforded the most remarkable testimony
of the respect commanded by that tower of
strength, the King's name. Louis therefore de-
termined to avail himself of their passive loyalty.


Could the supremacy of the Crown be again un- 942954
equivocally acknowledged and actively obeyed t-* v
by these important and semi-regal Potentates,
Louis would be King indeed. Louis accom-
plished the journey alone, leaving Gerberga in
the management of affairs. Had not Louis


effected his compromise with Hugh-le-Grand,
his entry into Aquitaine would have been im-
practicable, for whether he proceeded by the
route of Paris or by the route of Burgundy, he
must traverse Hugh's dominions. He preferred
the latter road, probably that he might confer
with his trusty friend Lethaldus, the Count
of Macon. It was in this country that Louis
fixed his camp, being joined by Hugh's levies.
No force, no menaces were needed : wherever
Louis appeared, he was joyously greeted and

Many of the Princes of Aquitaine eagerly Progress

IT* 1/T 1-1 f Louis

prevented Louis at Macon, repairing thither to submission
renew their fealty. First and foremost, Charles Aqui-


Constantine, Count of Vienne, the grandson of princes -
renowned King Boso, - Guillaume Tete d'etoupe,
Stephen, Bishop of Clermont, and many
more whose names are not recorded, also rendered
due homage. In treating of French affairs it
must always be recollected that the Aquitanian
chronicles are few in number, very scanty and
jejune ; hence the history of half France is in a
manner unknown.


942954 From Macon to Besan^on, this city being also
t A , included in the dominions of Lethaldus. who


forthwith performed homage and took the oaths
of fealty, thus rendering himself the immediate
subject of the King. Prosperity seemed to at-
tend Louis : he was now preparing to march
onwards beyond the Loire, and pursue his royal
progress. But again, the warning was re-
peated, again, his steps were stayed.- The
leaves were falling the season stormy and
Louis fails sickly. He fell ill he was attacked by a bilious

ill again, J

fever no faithful Gerberga nigh to help him.
However, her place was in some degree supplied,
inasmuch as the sufferer was tenderly nursed by
the affectionate Lethaldus. The army was dis-
banded, and as soon as Louis was able to move,
Lethaldus being his care-taker and companion,
the invalid returned home.
Troubles in 77. To home, but not to quiet. Whilst


crossing the frontiers of Burgundy, Louis was
encountered by unwelcome intelligence. Fre-
derick, brother of Adalbero, Bishop of Metz,
and soon to become son-in-law of Hugh-le-
Grand, was advisedly seeking to gain a footing
in Lorraine. There was a mean and obscure
village called " Fanis," near the source of the
Ornain, adjoining a hill where the Romans had
formed a camp commanding the surrounding
country. We know how frequently and how
advantageously these antique monuments of mili-


tary science were utilitized during the middle ?^~ 954 :
ages. Frederick sagaciously followed the lead ^i^>
taken by the old masters of the World, and he


began to raise a strong castle within the en-
trenchment. This act gave great offence to
Louis and Gerberga. Frederick had not cared
to ask their permission, and when settled, he
defied them, ravaging the country, which
seems to have been in obedience to Louis, all

Louis appealed to King Otho, despatching
a special embassy to speak on his behalf.
Hugh -le- Grand did the like, probably fur-
thering Frederick's interests ; and, to conciliate
Otho, his embassadors brought with them a
magnificent gift, two live roaring lions. Not-
withstanding this nuzeer, Otho decided in fa-
vour of France, and enjoined Frederick not to
raise any fortifications otherwise than by the
assent of the French King. Whether this assent
was or was not obtained, cannot be ascertained,
but the building of the Castle proceeded, aiid
the very important Town of Bar-le-Duc arose Fre<
under its protecting shadow.

But, however anxious to remain at peace,
Louis was compelled to involve himself in fur-
ther dissensions. Many of the nobles of the
Vermandois were excited to acts of plunder. Old
Arnoul of Flanders, who continued flashing up
in activity, had ejected Roger, the son of Her-


942954 louin of Montreuil, from his county. Hugh-
r- ^-^ le-Grand mixed himself up in the quarrel

Louis mediated, and a peace was concluded until

the following December.
951 _ 78. Amidst these State troubles and

national misfortunes, there arose a family annoy-

ance of that class equally provoking to subjects
the' Hand- and to kings. Ogiva, the English Adeliza,

(Sec vol. i. Ogiva, the dowager Queen, Ogiva, King Ed-
ward's daughter, Ogiva, Athelstane's sister,
Ogiva, Charles-le-Simple's grieving relict, Ogiva,
Louis d'Outremer's tender mother, Ogiva, suc-
cessor of Holy Salaberga, allowed herself to be
carried off in broad noon-day by the Vermandois
Prince Herbert the Handsome, fourth son of
Iouig Herbert the regicide, and subsequently Count of
angered Troyes. Louis was exceedingly nettled. He
marriage, confiscated all Ogiva's possessions. He seized
the palace of Attigny, her residence which he
re-united to his domainand, dealing with the
Abbey of Saint Salaberga as vacant, he granted
her preferment to his own faithful Gerberga,
who became lay Abbess in the place of her
mother-in-law. It may be remarked that the
successors of Louis d'Outremer misapplied their
prerogative rights over this unfortunate founda-
tion to such an extent, that the inmates de-
generated from bad to worse, until the suppres-
sion of the Convent in the fifteenth century.
All said and done, the Secular Lords were


chiefly to blame for these ecclesiastical irregu- 042 o.-i
larities, which were consequent upon the con- , A ,


stant abuse of their patronage, whether usurped
or lawful. This position is emphatically exem-
plified by the sequel of the abduction. Herbert
the Handsome, as yet possessing scarcely any
estate beyond the expectations of a younger
brother, was as needy as the heroes of his class
usually are he had little to give and he
therefore made a liberal provision for his mellow
bride by granting her the Abbey of Saint
Medard as a dowry.

79. Many remarkable events now oc-
curred in Italy and Germany, of which we shall
hear more hereafter, inasmuch as they ex-
ercised very great influence upon the affairs of
France. Bruno, elected to the Archbishoprick
of Cologne, was also created Duke of Lor-
raine, a promotion pregnant with important con-
sequences. Duke Conrad, having joined in the Troubles in
unnatural conspiracy concerted against Otho by & c . - the


his brethren and his son, sought and subsidized Magyar


the Magyars, who joyfully obeyed the call, and instigated
to the vast detriment of the land. The Osre


Hordes, led on by their horrid Hetumogors,
Botond, and Zultu, and Lelu, commenced their
invasion by swarming into the northern parts
of France, ravaging the Vermandois, spreading
over the Laonnais and Champagne, and the
Chalonnais, until they reached Burgundy,


94295^ wnence th ev entered Italy. Wasting the coim-
g^^J try which they punished, they themselves wasted
away. Many were slain, more perished by in-
fectious diseases which probably had reached
them from Asia. When they were cleared out
of France, the pestilence which they had dis-
seminated continued to desolate the country,
and became, as is conjectured by nosologists,
the European source of that dire visitation,
which human science, during the youth of the
generation now verging upon eld, having been
permitted to moderate, nay, as we fondly fancied,
almost eradicate, has been replaced by another
sword, delivered by the Supreme into the power
of the Destroying Angel for the chastisement of
mankind. But the main body of these grimly
terrific tribes directed their course to Germany,
which country, as we shall afterwards have occa-

%/ '

sion to relate, they well nigh brought to de-

80. Troubles again and again teeming :

a renewal of the miserable discord in the Ver-

mandois: Louis and Archbishop Artaldus again

inarching out to repress the Nobles who had

953_ usurped various strongholds. Hugh -le- Grand

Grand "re", cancelled his engagements with the King, joined

submits, the Revolters, and had the worst of it, and so

sorely, that he was compelled to sue for peace,

imploring the intervention of the burthened Ger-

berga, who repaired to him, ill-qualified as she


then was for any journey. Yet she ventured, 942051
and mediated effectually. This transaction shews , * ,
how rapidly the power of Louis must have been
reviving ; the great Duke of all the Gauls
compelled to present himself as a supplicant.
Gerberga returned safely to Rheims, and now, a
great cause of joy !- -We have seen how the
Royal progeny had been smitten, so that Lothaire
and the youngest boy, his father's namesake,
had alone been spared to continue the lineage.
But the anxiety was now much diminished, if
not entirely removed, by Gerberga's fertility.
Gerberga's fruitfulness relieved her Consort from
the dread lest the august lineage should fail.
She now was delivered of twins, Charles, evi- g 5 3__
dently so designated that the glorious namebarneto
might be perpetuated, and Henry, after his il- Gerberga,

, . , (. , , . Charles

lustrious grandfather; but the stern avenging a


Nemesis was rapidly filling up the measure of dies.
misfortune. The newly-born babe Henry died
very shortly after his baptism. Two, however,
still lived, and the parents might comfort them-
selves with Lothaire, albeit not of a very pro-
mising constitution, and Louis, now five years
of age. But, shortly afterwards, the little lad
was carried off, probably a victim to the pre-
vailing contagion, and the eldest and the
youngest of the Royal progeny, Lothaire and
Charles, alone remained. Charles, the descend-
ant of Charlemagne, and of Egbert, and of Otho


942954 ^ e Magnificent, survived. Better for him had
he been removed from the evil to come.

Yet the King, unquestionably supported by
his heroic Queen, would not relax in his efforts :
he quitted Laon, and fixed himself at Rheims,
intending to exert himself in the defence and
restoration of the Realm. It chanced that when
riding near the river Aisne he suddenly turned
his horse out of the straight road, and dashed
across the fields ; but, as far as can be collected,
without any definite object in view, or any ade-
quate reason to instigate the gallop. The ground
was very rotten. The horse stumbled. Louis was
taken up by his attendants grievously bruised,
He told them that a wolf, or something like a
wolf, or which he imagined was like a wolf, had
crossed before him, and he had given chase to
the phantom animal. He had received some
severe internal injury by the fall, which occa-
sioned great pain ; and to this was superadded
further affliction. After lying ill for a consi-
derable period, a disease, unconnected with the
bodily hurt, broke out as the Leeches described
the symptoms into a horrible elephantiasis, his
body covered with purulent tubercles. Con-
Hi?' 9 l sumed by this frightful malady, Louis died on
bm-iai. al the fourth of the Ides of September, in the thirty-
third year of his age, and in the eighteenth of
his reign, so lengthened in the narrative by his
unwearied energy and activity. He was buried


in the Basilica of Saint Remy. The Tomb has 912054

been long since destroyed, but the Psalter of , ,

Queen Emma, his son Lothaire's Spouse, pre-

Tomb and

served in the Abbey library until the revolution, * : i )ita i )llof

J J 7 Louis.

contains a copy of his epitaph, undoubtedly
composed within a short time after his death.
The uncouth and barbarous verses conclude with
a bootless prayer for the preservation of the Car-
lovingian dynasty.

Sanguine Caesareo jacet hie excelsa propago,

Francorum populo prodita de Carolo,
Dum sibi ter-denos et tres floreret in annos

Augustum nomen Rex Ludovicus erat.
Remigius Regum sanxit consulta p riorum :

Huic dederat sceptrum : prrestat hie et tumuhnn.
Octavum-decimum regnando subegerat annum ;

Quadris September Idibus exit her.
Lector, posce Deum, Francorum posce salutem,

Hoc regale genus servet in orbe Dcus.





TheFourth 1. TfiNDiMUS IN LATiuM. Various as are
its develop- the constructions which these deeply significant

ment into _~ , . _

civiiiza- words may receive, the Poet himself unconscious


of the full import conveyed by his strain, yet
they primarily may be accepted as predicting to
all Mankind the direction taken by all history,
even from the hour when the Servant of God de-
clared the avenging task entrusted, by the Eter-
nal decree, to that dreadful Nation, fore-doomed
to be brought from afar, from the very ends of the
Earth.- -That Nation, swift as the eagle flies, and
devouring as the Eagle by which they were self-
symbolized ; the noble bird emblazoned upon
every shield and embroidered upon every ban-
ner, borne or unfurled by every Potentate,
Caesar, Czar, or Keiser, who has assumed an
Emperor's name. That Nation of fierce counte-
nance, neither regarding the person of the old,
nor shewing favour to the young; destined



to found the great Fourth Monarchy, diverse 951-937
from all Kingdoms which had previously pre"

9ol 962

vailed amongst men, appointed to devour the Fo y th M

D arcliy its

whole Earth, and break her in pieces, and tread
her down, and through whose transmitted au- wealth
thority, the Populations of the terraqueous globe
are now ruled. The reek of Civilization is oecu-
menical. Even, already, in this our Generation,
is there any portion of the human race, however
barbarous or remote, which is not governed by
the Civilized races, or affected either directly or
indirectly by the influences comprehended under
the idea of Civilization? so all-commanding, so
undefinable, and of which we can only guess at the
specific characteristics by pursuing the negative

Online LibraryFrancis PalgraveThe history of Normandy and of England (Volume 2) → online text (page 41 of 60)