Copyright
Francis Palgrave.

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

. (page 47 of 60)
Online LibraryFrancis PalgraveThe history of Normandy and of England (Volume 2) → online text (page 47 of 60)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


his father's trusty adherents, as well as his own
early friends, men dignified by the aristocracy
of age, conjoined to wealth and station, were yet
living to support him. Hugh the Archbishop of
Rouen, the importance attached to his position not
diminished by his clerical demerits. Richard's
veteran deliverers from Laon dungeon, Osmund
de Centvilles and Ivo de Belesme, and Waleran
de Mellent also, still stood by his side. Con-
cerning Bernard the Dane, the scenes with



RICHARD SANS PEUR. 707

Hugh-le-Grand constitute his last appearance in 954 - 98 ?
Dudo's pages ; nor has the diligent Historian of
the noble House of Harcourt been able to
ascertain the exact period of his death : but he
had left an adequate representative in the person
of his son Thorold, the Sire of Pontaudemer.
In fact, the rising generations destined to supply
the places of the fast disappearing, were now as-
sembling around the Duke. In due time we
shall become acquainted with them ; but, for the
present we can only distinguish Gautier-le-

1



Veneur.

Veneur, whose office, testifying the confidence
he enjoyed, also bespoke his courage and his
thewes. Well fitted and framed was Gautier
to encounter the tusks and claws of the beasts of
chase abounding in Normandy; no talent so
sure as the huntsman's, to win Richard's favour.
Richard had not taken any notice of
Lothaire's accession. He ignored the existence
of any mutual relations in the respective cha-
racters of Suzerain and Vassal between Louis
d'Outremer's son, and the son of Guillaume
Longue-epee. Had Richard owned the duties lS B
resulting from such obedience, he would have
been bound to renew his Commendation and
Homage when Lothaire ascended the throne.
But he repudiated any such acknowledgement;
Normandy's Monarch refused to recognize the
French King as a legal superior. Had they met,
the conference would have been conducted with

Z Z 2




708 LOUIS D'OUTREMER, LOTHAIRE, &c.

m grim civility; Richard's courtesy might have
dictated to him the decency of yielding honorary
precedence to an anointed Sovereign. He
would have made the gesture of vailing the
Coronal before the Crown. But, as cautious
Dignities are wont to act when seeking to elude
any annoying pressure of etiquette, which
might compel them to take the lower room, he
had saved himself from any embarrassment by
keeping wholly out of Lothaire's way.

Hugh-le-Grand, however proud and potent,
could not have boasted of the same independence.

as a vassal of

the crown. jji s pre-eminence over all other the Crown
vassals was universally admitted, yet he had
distinctly accepted his Duchies of France and
Burgundy, as Fiefs holden of the King. Lo-
thaire's parchments constituted the undeniable
foundations of Hugh's title. Therefore, however
inimical or treacherous, Hugh-le-Grand could
not legally release himself from his bond ; and,
to his sons, the same duties had descended.

Was this absolute necessity of seeking the
King compatible with the liberties which Franco-
Gallia so proudly claimed ? Assuredly.
To the Nations of the Gauls appertained the
magnificent privilege of electing their King,
and the power of thrusting him off the throne.
But the constitutional theory, construed as
an entirety, maintained the King, once created,
as Supreme Head of the Commonwealth. How-






RICHARD SANS PEUR. 709

ever shrunken the dominions obeying the . 954 ~ 937
King's direct authority, however light the
hand he could lay upon the high territorial
aristocracy, yet all the royal prerogatives were
incontestable. No great Feudatory sat easy,
unless he could produce his Charter, exhibiting
the impress of the Eoyal Seal, and duly signed
and counter-signed, by Arch-Chancellor and King.
-The Nations of the Gauls exhausted their
power by making their King : and, till unmade,
their rights became dormant, and every royal
prerogative existed in full vigour.

Amongst the suppositions of those truly pro-
found Archaeologists who enlighten us by their children -
research, whilst they task us by their perplex-
ities, we shall now adopt the opinion which
reduces the sons of Hugh-le-Grand to two : - the
Capet, whose precocious prudence seems to have
been elicited by the knowledge of his father's aspi-
rations ; and Otho, or Eudes. I shall not trouble
the reader and myself by discussing whether there
may not have been another or others ; but, any
how, they died so young that they do not obtain
any place in history. All Hugh-le-Grand's obli-
gations were binding upon these sons : and, after
his demise, the legal wardship of the Infants, and
the custody of their inheritance, appertained to ^ n h d -. ] g e ;
Lothaire. But Hugh-le-Grand, whilst wrapping fl



o

himself in his shroud, defied his Sovereign. His of his sons a

' * ' rmitravpn-



contra ven-



death-bed disposition was wholly unwarranted ; g




710 LOUIS D'OUTREMER, LOTHAIRE, &c.

954-987 f or? j n com pi e te contravention of the Royal
rights, he had placed the Minors and their domi-
nions under the guardianship of the Norman.

We must continue the episodical narration
of this very remarkable transaction until its
catastrophe. Effluxion of time would terminate
the wardship ; yet, in the meanwhile, the united
strength which rejoiced the Houses of Robert-le-
Fort and Rollo was bearing against the Crown.
A happy juncture. arrived during the progress of
the alliance against Richard, when Lothaire,

dominions of

acutely acceding to the sagacious Bruno's suppli-



cations, and supported by Bruno's power, availed

become his

vassais. himself of the law. Hugh-le-Grand's children
were his mother's own nephews, sons of his
revered aunt Hadwisa, own cousins, near kins-
men, who had a right to be dear. Great must
have been the stir at the Court of Laon, when
the Capet and Eudes his brother were brought
before their royal Protector, and, swearing the
oaths and performing homage, acknowledged
themselves his Vassals and Lieges.

Duchy of Lothaire, thus accepted as the lawful Supe-

France and

fd oi to thr nt ~ rior, immediately exercised his unquestionable
rights of partitioning the vast inheritance. The
Capet received the Duchy of France, alone
constituting a magnificent provision. There-
unto Lothaire added Poitou, professing, as it
should seem, to interpolate the Capet as
Overlord of the Duchy, granting him the supe-
riority ineffectually contested by Hugh-le-Grand,



RICHARD SANS PEUR. 711

and for which he may be said in a manner to . 954 7 987 .
have died. Whether Tete-d'Etoupe would con- l^p
sent to this humiliation was another matter;
his consent had not been asked.

Burgundy became the lot of Eudes ; but this Burgundy

17 to Eudes,

grant speedily enured to the advantage of the
elder brother. The Capet, during his whole life,
was pursued by good fortune. Eudes did not Early death

J of Eudes.

survive to enjoy his possessions more than three pS^th
years, when his apanage was inherited by the c
future occupant of the throne, now the sole male
representative of Eobert-le-Fort's lineage, so
curiously do royal families sometimes ride at
single anchor, if such an expression can be
allowed.

These mutations might have affected Richard's
interests very seriously. Deprived of the privi-
leges and advantages which he enjoyed as guar-
dian, Hugh-le-Grand's sons, emancipated from
Richard's control, were brought under the im-
mediate jurisdiction of their lawful Suzerain.
The Duke of Normandy could no longer pre-
tend to any legal or quasi-parental authority
over them. ; and, it was within the compass of
reasonable probabilities, that his shrewd brother-
in-law, who, manifested the most persevering
ambition, conjoined to the profoundest craft, might
become a dangerous rival. What if the Capet
had chosen to take up, or make up, a quarrel
with Richard, on account of his conduct towards
Emma?



712 LOUIS D'OUTREMER, LOTHAIRE, &C.

954-937 The next move however was Eichard's.-



956-967 Others remained to be made; but this, not being
nullified by the cast of the die, was destined, in
the long run, to decide the game, and Eichard
was enabled to play it out on the tables more fully
than even he himself could possibly have foreseen.
No longer entitled to exercise any personal con-
trol over the Duke of all the Gauls as his Ward,
Eichard could establish himself in a much more
advantageous position, and wherefrom he could
effectually outflank Lothaire. Hugh Capet had
become full Duke of all the Gauls, owning no supe-
rior except the King, and holding his Duchy in a
more dignified manner than any other amongst the
Yassals of the Crown. Eichard, therefore, simply
renewed that "Commendation" to Hugh-le-Grand's
successor which, by the advice of Bernard the
Richard Dane and the Normans, he had rendered to the

becomes the

Hugh cl pet. father. - No abasement implied in this act nay
the contrary.- -The " Princeps Normannorum,"
prided himself in acknowledging the Capet, the
" Princeps Francorum," as his Senior, and, we
doubt not, but that according to custom, he per-
formed his homage under the oak tree between
Gisors and Trie, on the border. Henceforward
Hugh Capet was authorized to demand the ser-
vice of Eichard as his Vassal. And thus, ere the
Coronal of the Duchy of France was fashioned into
the Fleur-de-Lis Crown, Normandy was its bright-
est jewel Normandy became the Grand Fief of
the Capetian Kingdom before that Kingdom arose.



described in



RICHAED SANS PEUR. 713

28. The inspirations of the Medical Muse .
fell pre-eminently upon the renowned pathological
Poet, Johannes de Mediolano, who, addressing Sanguine
the " Rex Anglorum" in the name of the School
of Salerno, has picturesquely idealised the
" Sanguine Temperament," first and most gifted c
amongst the " Four Complexions ' assigned by
antient Physiology to mankind.

Natura pingues isti sunt, atque jocantes,
Rumoresque novos cupiunt audire frequenter,
Hos Venus et Bacchus delectant, fercula, risus.
Et facit hos hi lares, et dulcia verba loquentes.
Omnibus hi studiis habiles sunt, et magis apti.

And since that King of England was Henry
Beauclerc, we may fancy we hear the sagacious
Physician, when presenting his poem to his
royal Patient and Patron, intoning the passage
with dulcet modulation and delicate emphasis,
inasmuch as the brightest characteristics truly
appertained to the Conqueror's heir.

Largus, amans, hilaris, ridens, rubeique coloris,
Cantons, carnosus, satis audax, atque benignus.

But, had Richard sat for the portrait, whether Applica-

bility of the
moral or physical, it could scarcely have been

more accurate, according to the accounts given
by his biographers. Even such as the verses
commemorate, was Richard. Collect the various
historical passages, whether directly laudatory, or
incidentally descriptive of his moral or physical



714



LOUIS D'OUTREMER, LOTHAIRE, &c.



954 - 987 idiosyncrasies, his conduct abroad, and his
conduct at home, and we obtain a full view of




Richard's
moral and



as
an'icipated

by



Richard's
enemies.



character. Cheerful, handsome, debonnaire,
a well filled purse, opened by a liberal hand,
no ^ aou l Torta to tighten the strings,- -none to
compete with Eicharcl as the gallant wooer of
the coy, though yielding beauty,- -troubling no
one by the unpleasant example of rigorous mo-
rality, living for enjoyment, and willing that
everybody else should be equally free and easy,
-agile, stalwart, bold and handsome, stout, but
graceful,- -exhibiting in his person the best
points of his race, divested of harshness, and his
fine countenance adorned by his curly golden hair.

29. Whatever Richard's political power
may have been, he had avoided making any sign,
that, if left alone, he would ever trouble his
neighbours. Ambition was neutralized by love
of pleasure : his Court at Rouen was a constant
scene of merriment and jollity, crowded like a fair.

There was no real reason, therefore, to fear
him. His foes, however, would not allow him
^ ^ ve a tranquil life. Quiet came at last,
but not until they had worn themselves out;
and, in the meantime, he had to bear with his
trials, or better, to brave them.- -If needs must,
right willing and full ready was Richard to
grasp the sword.

All the members of the Royal family, and
all connected with them, yet most particularly
the powerful partisans, who so repeatedly ap-



enmities.



RICHARD SANS PEUR. 715

pear in action as an implacable junto, were con- . 954 - 987
scientiously the deadly enemies of the Pirate.

Conscientiously, they knew no otherwise,
could not know otherwise, no not if they laboured
ever so earnestly, unless transformed by a moral
miracle. The implacability which the French
ascribed to the Danes was reflected back upon National

pnmitipa

themselves, and returned with equal inveteracy.
Like mirror placed opposite to mirror, hating
minds repeat hatred in endless perspective ; but
not like the mirrors, fainter and fainter. In all
such quarrels, each man ascribes to his foeman the
faults of which he possesses the full equivalent,
may be the very same. Every heart, however
tender, includes a stony fragment never softened
into flesh ; the heart of stone is never entirely
taken away.- -No intolerance more inveterate than
that which inspires all of us the Advocates of
universal toleration.- -Alas for the u sacred right
of private judgment," claimed by every one, but
allowed by no one. Who permits it ? - Do you ?
Do I ? Not you. Not I.~ -My permission of
" private judgment " is this - - think as you
please, provided you think so as to please me.
Believe what you choose of your own free
choice, but choose my creed. And if you make
your own free choice, your " Choice ' is my
" Heresy." And your permission is the same
my " Choice " is your " Heresy." There is not
a page of the Tract distributor's Tract, or the
Anti-tractarian or Tractarian sermon, or a leaf



716 LOUIS D'OUTREMER, LOTHAIRE, &c.

v 95 *- 987 , of the liberal or illiberal broad sheet, which,
'1^%T under favourable circumstances, and fostering
influences, might not develope into a San-benito,
seme with flames. Even the most merciful
amongst human creatures are therefore oft-
times the most merciless; there is one grudge
which they never forget ; one affront they never
forgive ; one opinion they never bear with ; one
offence they never pardon ; the bitterness
concentrated in one channel, becoming more
intense than when diffused.

& 30. I do not doubt but that the reader has



character.

but a ffi- ent ' often accused me of inconsistency when speak-

ligible incon- . ,

m g O f (ierbei'ga, telling so much of ner spite,
though more of her love. Yet so it was ; the
noble Matron's ardent devotion to her own,
being quite compatible with her one malevolence.
She feared and hated the man, whom she had
loathed and detested as a boy. In these senti-
ments Gerberga was fully encouraged by Lothaire.
To the son of Louis d'Outrerner, enmity against
Richard might appear a filial duty. Was he not
bound to efface the burning shame of the Rout
of Rouen?

Baudouin4e-Jeune harmonized in similar

le-Jeune.

feelings. Thoroughly had the young Prince irn-
bibed the traditions of his family. Arnoul's

originating

heir detested the Pirate's son no less deeply
than his own old father before him. Moreover,
the Flemings had sufficient cause to dread the
Norman power. Through the acquisition of Pon-



RICHARD SANS PEUR. 717

thieu, Flanders had become conterminous with . g5 *~ 9S1 j
Normandy, and Richard's men might cross the '"Z^^v
boundary river any day. But Baudouin was
always ready to hit and, more than that,- -to
strike the first blow. A " mal-voisin" of
Richard was he.

Archbishop Bruno was inevitably enrolled Bruno - *

* reasons also

in the host of Richard's enemies. His affec-
tionate attachment towards Gerberga would,
under any circumstances, render him ready to
support her cause. Bruno must have enter-
tained a painful recollection of the Rouen
discomfiture. The Edeling slaughtered,- -Otho
and the Germans brought to bitter shame.
Indeed the Archbishop was driven forwards by
an accumulation of motives, each provoking him
against Richard, and none imaginary. Bruno's
comprehensive policy would have been liable
to censure as defective, had he not included the
Pirate in he wide orbit of fear and apprehen-
sion. Abounding in landing places and hiding
places, the extended Lotharingian littoral was
always open to the Dane. Harold Blaatand's
savage aspect always threatening; the black sails
always fancied to be looming in the horizon.

Furthermore, a new enemy had been raised up
against Richard. About this time, Geoffrey Gris-

great grand

gonnelle having succeeded to the County of Anjou,
begins to appear in French affairs. This Geoffrey

p. 501.)

(dynastically the first) was the son of Fulke-le-
Bon, great grandson of the ploughman Torquatus,




718 LOUIS D'OUTREMEK, LOTHAIRE, &c.

954987 the Forester of the forest so merrily called the
Blackbird's Nest, the primary Plantagenet.

A few years after his accession, Geoffrey
returned from Rome, whither he had pilgrimized
to Saint Peter's tomb. His historical epithet
was probably suggested by his long grey gown.

Noble and generous was Geoffrey, but these
qualities were alloyed, or shall we say, shaded,
by a certain degree of levity, and amongst his
first exploits he seems to have picked a quarrel,
(if we may use such expressions,) with Richard,
by invading Richard's borders. He allied him-
self to Hugh, Count of Maine, the father of
the celebrated Herbert-rouse-the-dog, Herbert-
eveille-chien and the distance between Nor-
mandy and Anjou was so small, that Geoffrey
was watched as the second mal-voisin.

But Richard's persecuting Demon, was Thi-

Chartres and

k au t-Le-Tricheur. Near enough, and mal-voisin
enough to Normandy was he. Thibaut and his
Consort were happily congenial ; as fiercely
minded did Liutgarda continue against Richard,
as she had been ever since his birth, or before.
Heightened by jealousy, her enmity had not receiv-
ed any mitigation from the series of events which
ensued since Guillaume Longue-epee's demise.
Without affection for Guillaume Longue-epee,
Liutgarda seems to have been not inexcusably
provoked by Espriota's usurpation of her rights ;
and the jealousy of the Countess of Chartres
against the Miller's wife and the Mamzer, burnt




views upon



RICHARD SANS PEUR. 719

strongly as ever. Richard, however, on his part,
fully reciprocated. He did all the mischief to
Liutgarda he could, and aggravated the wrongs
she had received from his father by confiscating
her dowry lands.

Thibaut was inclined to contest all Normandy
up to the river Seine ; or at all events a good the &**&*
share. His peculiar object in the first instance
was the Evrecin, a territory which would so
beautifully round off the " Pais Char train." He
had been machinating with a powerful partisan at
Evreux ; whether burgess or knight we know not,
for his name gives no intimation of his rank,
and this personage had promised his aid. But
the intrigues could not become successful un-
less supported by force. Thibaut had been beat
off by Richard ; and he therefore persisted in la-
bouring to stir up Lothaire, so as to marshal
all available powers against the common enemy.

31. Ultimately, no portion of France, became
more truly French than Normandy. Wherever
the Frenchman extends his conquests, the domi-
nation obtained by the bold winner of hearts,
commencing with violence, ends by love. It
was in Normandy that French literature arose.
Amongst the populations of France, none have
more fully participated than the Normans in that
national sentiment which, surviving through every
convulsion, and shining most brightly amidst the
most gloomy clouds of national misfortune, ren-
dered Franco-Gallia "one and indivisible," ages



n a 8 n

during the



720 LOUIS D'OUTREMER, LOTHAIEE, &C.

t psi-987 j before the Republic was proclaimed. An affec-
tion as potent under the Drapeau blanc, as under
the Tri-color defending the Eagle, as devotedly
as the Fleur-de-lis.

Yet, during the early period of Nornian
history, or rather so long as the Normans
possessed a distinct history, so long as they
were alien to France a bitter dislike subsisted
between the two nations, for such they were.
the Our English hatred of the French was originally
implanted by the Norman conquerors ; and, at

'

this period, the enmity was peculiarly inflamed
by the apprehensions which the French enter-
tained, and with sufficient foundation, of
Richard's cater-cousins, Harold Blaatand, and
the Scandinavians. The geographical denomi-
nation, "Scandinavians," must be employed,
inasmuch as Richard continued to cultivate the
friendship of the three great families of the
Baltic and the North Sea.

The political antagonism was exaggerated
by both parties into personal antipathy against
the respective Sovereigns, and that antipathy
fomented by contempt; a grovelling passion
infinitely more degrading to those who entertain
it than to the objects of their scorn. The readi-
ness with which the Wits of Queen Anne's days
chimed into the vulgar strain of ridicule cast
upon the "Grand Monarque" discredits their taste
and disgraces their moral dignity. Magnanimity



RICHAED SANS PEUR. 721

towards an Enemy, a feeling unknown to the 951-98?
savage, honoured by Heathen ethics, and con- - -

J 956-962

stituting one of the few human virtues which
can be truthfully assigned to Chivalry, may, in
our civilized age, be occasionally manifested to a
Prisoner after the conflict in the field but never
do we now find magnanimity, when war is en-
venomed by personal antipathies. If there could
be such a thing as national shame, who would
not lament the foul streams of scurrility with
which we drenched the " Corsican ' as inflicting
an indelible stain upon ourselves ?

The mutual disparities between the Normans Richard and

Lothaire



and the French assume a ludicrous aspect, from

the caricatures of the respective Monarchs and the nc

Normans.

which illustrate their history. According to
physiological fancies prevalent in former times,
and by no means obsolete in our own, the colour
which we cannot otherwise define than as the
culminating tint of the " Xanthous ' variety of
hair, was viewed, or rather shunned, with the
deepest and most incurable aversion. In France,
the Trouveur spoke the popular opinions by
which the feature,- -termed in plain English, a
carroty-poll, was deemed the warning symbol
of moral depravity

Entre rous poll et felonie
S'entreportent grant compaignie.

A curious testimony of this uncharitable
prejudice is afforded in mediaeval art. The

VOL. II. 3 A




722 LOUIS D'OUTREMER, LOTHAIRE, &C.

954-987 antient painters, the Byzantine teachers of Giotto
and Cimabue, were guided by the technical
traditions of Hagiology, not by aesthetic pre-
cepts. Judas was always pourtrayed with this
characteristic. No cast of countenance, no
sinister expression would have been considered
adequate to express his depravity.

Fortunately, however, or unfortunately, there
is no colour more difficult to define than this
odious " signalernent," yet none more easy to
euphonize, inasmuch as it passes, or might pass, or
ought to pass, by delicate ascending or descending
gradations into various hues ; one almost pleasing,
some tolerable, others but there we stop and
the artifices by which the lover discovers graces
imperceptible to any other eye, nay, even
interprets blemishes as charms, have always
been employed in society for the purpose of
eluding the inferences which are deduced from
this peculiarity.

Nominibus mollire licet mala : fusca vocetur,

Nigrior Illyrica cui pice sanguis erat :

Si paeta est, Veneri similis, si flava Minervae.

As for Lothaire, according to the Norman
portrait, he was ill-favoured equally in body and
in mind. Look at him, said they. a fine fellow
for a King ; stingy and shabby, proud and fell,
shambling upon his crooked shanks, his long,
pale, hollow-cheeked, freckled face, encircled by



RICHARD SANS PEUR. 723

his fiery hair : whilst the golden locks which we 954-937



admire in Richard, presented the identical repro-

956960

bated colour to the eyes of his French enemies.

. Mult somes tout hontous
Richard cet Normant, eel aventis, eel rous !

It is that Richard, that Northman, exclaims
Thibaut, that vagabond, that russet-pate, who



Online LibraryFrancis PalgraveThe history of Normandy and of England (Volume 2) → online text (page 47 of 60)