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doubt, the generous product of the Galician
vines enhanced their enjoyments, and relaxed
their discipline.

At last, the Gothic blood was up. Eallying
under Count Gonzalo Sanchez, who assumed
the command, the people universally took arms.
It should seem that the Christians sustained
a defeat in the field. The respective narratives
given by the Norman and by the Spanish
Chroniclers are very discordant. The boozing
Danes, laden with booty, and exhilarated by
victory and its accompaniments, were staggering
and straggling in triumphant disorder towards
their ships. Count Gonzalo suddenly attacked
the enemy. His success was complete; Guthred, G
killed ; the plunder, recovered ; the captives,
rescued; many of the Danish barks burnt, and
neither Spain nor the Spaniards ever thereafter
annoyed by this plague.

France, equally fortunate, had seen the last
of the Danes. The encreasing splendour of the
Anglo-Saxon Empire, incompletely veiling the rot-
tenness of the Commonwealth, was attracting their
avarice. Svend-Tveskieg, or Swein with the

3 02



Forked beard, the son of Harold Blaatand, was,
ere long, to appear and obtain that supremacy
which placed Canute upon the throne : and,
henceforward, their energies were concentrated
upon the British islands and England.

47. In the meanwhile, harmony was fully
restored between Normandy and France. Soon

Lotnaire and

the Normans. a ^ er ^ e (j e p ar ture of the Danes, the compact was
concluded between the rival Potentates. Lothaire,
-escorted by his Prelates and Nobles; Bichard,-
surrounded by his Warriors, they to be distinctly
recognized in the next generation, as the founders
of an hereditary nobility,- -met on the shores of the
Epte. Lothaire assured the " Begnuin Northman-
nicum" to Bichard and his descendants : covenant-
ing also to maintain perpetual peace. This
treaty was confirmed by reciprocal oaths : gifts,
exchanged as further tokens of amity: and
Kichard returned cheerily to Bouen.

Death of Not very long afterwards, the childless Emma


departed. Upon her death-bed, she requested
her brother the Capet to receive into his Palace
those faithful companions and servants who had
enjoyed her confidence and her love. Her worldly
estate she divided, or more probably, had di-
vided, amongst or between the Church and Poor.
Affectionate, submissive., pious, we find no record
of Emma's alms and donations. They were, we
must suppose, mostly perfected during her life-
time. Not even a sepulchral stone denoted her
humble grave. All who survived her, willingly
forgot her, and none more gladly than the courtly


historian Duclo. It is a plausible conjecture, that a . 954 - 987
voluntary separation had previously taken place
between Emma and her husband, and that she
had sought repose in a Monastery.

Richard, however, though he did not feign
regard, treated her with respect ; and the unin-

Hugh Capet.

terrupted friendship between him and Hugh
Capet proves that no offence had been taken at
his notorious connubial infidelity. The marriage
was a State-marriage, in the fullest meaning of
the term, and was so viewed by all parties, from
the day when the first proposals were made upon
Hugh-le-Grand's overture by Bernard de Senlis
and Bernard the Dane ; but rendered less
uncomfortable than usual through Richard's kind
temper and Emma's patient humility.

Richard, having fully released himself from all f a e t ? dal re '

lations be-

dependence upon France, he drew the closer to Normandy

and the

his Patron, the young Capet, priding himself Capets -
upon the honourable subjection he was bound to
render to his late Ward, now the magnificent
Hugh, "Prince of the French and the Burgun-
dians, the Bretons, and the Normans." Whatever
superiorities were derived or claimed as sub-
sisting between Normandy and France, after the
accession of the Third Race, must be deduced
from the relations contracted between Richard
and Hugh-le-Grand. Richard clung; closelv to

O v

the Capetian cause ; and, so efficient was his
assistance, that he is reckoned as the chief
amongst the partizans who established Hugh
Capet on the throne.

The last


Louis d'Outrcmer, and Lothaire, and the last
Louis of the line, and the Charles, in whose
persons the Carlovingian Dynasty closes, availed
themselves of all the powers and resources
which remained to them : and, had their talent
and courage been permitted to prosper, they might
have rescued the falling Monarchy. Hoping
against hope, they performed their duty, but their
hope was not fulfilled. Despised, because un-
fortunate,- -for our harsh nature is gratified when-
ever we can attribute culpability to misfortune.

Is the alms ever dropped from the charitable
hand, without some involuntary tendency to
suppose that the suffering which the charitable
heart rejoices in relieving, is either directly or
indirectly the token or punishment of folly or
of sin ? - -There is but One Benefactor, who
gives without upbraiding. The language of
human mercy always tones into contempt. Com-
miseration renders the commiserated vile in our
eyes. How intelligible and how logically con-
sequential are the sentiments excited by the two
words in apposition "pauvre miserable /"
Accession of A complete fusion of interests ensued between

the Capets,

1 the Courts of Rouen and Paris. The events
" which subverted the Carlovingian domination,
must therefore be treated as integral portions of
Norman history. It was from these early com-
munications and dealings that the Norman
Duchy acquired its peculiar character. Nor was
it until Hugh Capet ascended the throne, that
the ban of social exclusion pronounced against


the then fully converted Northern Pirates was v
removed. But the Law of Love is as inoperative
between Nations as between individuals. Im-

Normans not

placable was the mutual feud between Normandy &he ought
and France, though the Normans were received, commo a n.

7 wealth, till

in all respects, as members of the Christian Com-

n 1 Second


We must now approach the last act of the
terrible Carlovingian tragedy, and witness its ca-
tastrophe : the implacable Nemesis avenging the
pristine crimes the crimes of glory : and ac-
cording to the usual compensation of historical
injustice, in the same proportion that Charle-
magne is extravagantly extolled, even so are
his descendants, in whom his proud lineage
expires, equally unduly condemned.

g 48. Vainly toil we, philosophising in
Science, to evade confessing the Almighty's om-
nipotent universality in the material creation ;
substituting in our reasonings, nature's laws, for
His .ever-enduring active will. He is the Source
of all existence, celestial or terrestrial. He is
not eternal and infinite, but Eternity and In-
finity. He is the Fountain of all intelligences.
He is the Foundation, the constant Efficient
Cause of spirit and of matter, of body and of
soul, and of all the qualities, forms, or sub-
stances which the senses or the intellect He has
bestowed upon us, can perceive or conceive. The
gemmation of each animalcule, and the expansion
of each spore, as much the special behests of
His incomprehensible Power, as the Fiat that


first called heaven and earth into being. When the
sparrow falls from the bough, the earth's attrac-
tion fulfilling His word, acts as He commands
in bringing that one little bird to the ground.
Each bulb from which each hair of our head
springs forth, was numbered before He formed
the protoplast out of the dust. All mutations, all
developments, all corelations, all operations of
forces, all result from the Creator's enduring
ordinances. But our consciousness of guilt com-
pels us to shrink from the conception of the Living
God walking personally amongst us : we seek to
hide ourselves from the knowledge that He is
actually accompanying us in all our paths and
in all our ways. With us when we rise up, with
us when we lie down, with us whether we sleep
or wake, with us whether we live or die ; not by
metaphor or poetical imagery, not by trope
or figure of speech, but incomparably more truly
than any created being.- -You and I and all things
exist only through Him, He the only reality.

Are we right in accepting human history as a
series of scrutable causes and calculable results,
the progress of human Societies governed by uni-
versal general laws, immutable as those which
permeate the Material Universe ? Are we not
paltering with our consciences when we merge
individual responsibility in collective destiny?
Do we not, theorizing according to mere human
reason, always discover or conceal a residual
energy for which no hypothesis can account.
Not even can the cast of the die, or the lottery


chance, the jerk of the Gamester's elbow, or . 954 7 9S7
the blinded boy's hand-dip into the fortune of I^^
the wheel, be disengaged from the special direc-
tion of Providence. AVhoever looks beyond the
surface averages, and the classifications of the
Statist or the Physician, honourable as are
these productions of diligence and acuteness
and skill- -and render to them every honour,
must discern that the poisonous raiasms of the
sewer, obeying the predetermined harmony es-
tablished by the Eternal Mind, have been re-
moved from the Prince in the Eoyal Palace, or
brought to bear specifically upon the Proletarian
in his fetid cellar, as clearly as if we beheld the
destroying Angel drawing or sheathing the sword.
49. Every event in each individual's life,
and consequently, every event in each class, sept,
tribe, or family, the aggregate of individuals ; and
every event in each community, state, or com-
monwealth, being the aggregate of classes, septs,
tribes, or families; has its salient point in the
consiliency of the thoughts, acts, tempers and
passions of separate and single embodied souls.
And thus, when reviewing French history, no
circumstance becomes more prominent than the
generic likeness marking the various convulsions
and revolutions which the Realm has sustained ;
the great majority connected with the influence
of some one woman in State affairs. Blanche o


Castile's bland piety, and the Pompadour's brazen Franc s e! a pe-

culiar feature

profligacy Joan of Arc's rapt visions and Agnes
Sorel's meretricious charms. The diplomacy of


954987 the Ruelle, guiding the Cabinet or ruling the
Sovereign, planning the marriage or prompting
the murder, negotiating the peace or provoking
the war.

The Capetian Dynasty obtained the Crown
by contingencies bearing the closest analogy to
those whereby they lost the Crown. The charges
adduced against the last Carlovingian Queen were
virtually re-echoed when Marie Antoinette was
conducted to the Scaffold. Vice, intrigue, and

ruined by

causes the treacner 7? ruined the Carlo vingians. The like

" stern retribution clove to the line of Robert-le-

Fort. And the hell-hounds unleashed from the

Pare aux cerfs, hunted the progeny of Saint

Louis to destruction.

The powers exercised by Woman pervade
the national annals. Deep is the lesson
conveyed by the fact, that Brantorne's record
of depravity is an indispensible muniment of
French History. Consider what would constitute
a truthful series of tableaux dedicated to the
memory of the "Father of letters." Stand by
t]ie death-bed terminating his career. Diane
de Poictiers as gay as a lark, whilst the Duke de
Guise, slowly creeping to the door with a doleful
face, trills and sings as he trips away, il s'en va,
le gallant.

ShKcai 50. At the commencement of the Carlo-

information. . i j TTI r\ 11 *j_i

vmgian history, Franco-Gallia teeming with
intellectual vigour, her literary remains supply
the most abundant materials to the historian.
Men of note, Men of mark, Prelates, Monks,


Divines, and Soldiers, have contributed their
stores. As the Monarchy declines, the historians 960 _966
decrease in number, though still retaining signal
value. But we must now lose the last survivor
amongst our old friends Frodoardus. We
have heard him speaking through these many
years : sometimes taking part in the transac-
tions he narrates and for the most part almost al-
ways their witness. Truth seeking, truth telling,
neither expecting profit, nor courting praise,
bearing testimony to the fortunes of his genera-
tion as a simple duty towards them and towards
posterity, he continues working with unabated
diligence ; but, during the period which we are
now treating, the reader may trace some dimi-
nution in his vigour.- -Incidents related more
briefly, - powers of observation less acute,
strength less adequate to the exertion.

Quietly and sedulously however does Frodo-
ardus proceed, until, diverting his path for awhile
from public affairs, he pauses, inscribing the
approaching termination of his labours. Having
attained the age of seventy years ; broken by
age and infirmity- -his sacerdotal duties pain-
ful labours and not caring to drink the cup
to the dregs, he, as he informs us, cast off
the burden of his preferments, Canonry and
Abbey, and retired to his Cell. The events
which happened during the three subsequent
years, are succinctly commemorated, and then the
pen drops from his hand. He died on the Feast


day of Saint Joseph of Arhnathea, and, interred ^ 6 h March '


in Saint Remy's Royal Basilica, his memory re-
ceived great honour.

But the loss of Frodoardus is most satisfac-
torily compensated. Whilst he was declining, a
successor was maturing, by whose aid we complete
the melancholy epic of the Carlovingian decline
and fall. This is Richerius. Hitherto Richerius
has afforded an ample complement to Frodoardus :
henceforward his book becomes the back-bone of
the annals. 'Richerius alone enables us to con-
nect the ruin of the Second Race with the rise
of the Third Race : and, chasing the visions
which have been evoked, he sweeps away all the
cobwebs spun by imaginative talent. It may
be doubted whether any parallel case can be
adduced, in which the resuscitation of a single
author, his work existing only in a unique ex-
emplar, has imparted an entirely new aspect to
the previous Textus receptus of history.

It has become the silly phrase of the day, that
the paramount, nay, the only condition required
for good government, whether in great things or
small, is the placing the right man in the right
place. But we can neither command the existence
of the right man " poeta nascitur nonfit" is true
in every calling nor compel the right men to
place that same right man in that same right place,
so the presumptuous, nay, mischievous popular
aphorism vanishes in pompous vanity. But if
we, living in the nineteenth century, try to select
the qualifications required for the individual
who was to close the chronicle of the Carlovin-


gian Dynasty, we shall find them combined in v 954 7 987
Eicher or Richerius. The son of a personage


not so elevated in station as to be entangled peculiar
over-much in public business, nor so inferior in
rank as to be an unworthy companion of the
Monarch, Eicher's father became the living record
of the facts and recollections which he related to
his son.

The son was equally competent to execute
the task. Yearning for knowledge, and ernbued
with traditionary information which he alone
could attain, he was fully fitted, both by talent
and acquirement to employ the teaching; and,
at that period of life when the powers of memory
are most vivid, and the mind most matured, he
was called upon to be the Historiographer of an
expiring race, by the most pre-eminent amongst
his contemporaries, one whose name stands so
high in the annals of science though so dubious
as to moral desert.

When Gerbert of Aurillac. (of whom more here-

when Arch-

after), famed, or defamed, as Pope and Magician, S 8 of

TPflll Psts

had attained the Primatial Seat of the Gauls, he Richer to

compose a

requested Eicherius to compose a History of the
Monarchy from its foundation. Eicherius declined
the labour. It appeared to him that he could not
make any useful addition to the works of his prede-
cessors, and he, therefore, preferred confining
himself mainly to the more recent portions, his
father's times and his own. Had it not been for
Eicher's sagacious diligence, any approximation to
the real history of this eventful period could never


95 ^- 987 M have been known.- -" Tynt is tynt 1 ' -" Yerloren
verloren !" Lost history, like lost languages,
never can be recovered by any process in the
nature of induction.

Gerbert no one else could have done the
ria. m deed gave over his correspondence to Riche-
rius. Gerbert was constantly involved in
machinations, on behalf of others and of his own
self, and it is sometimes difficult to avoid the
suspicion that he occasionally betrayed one party
by co-operating; with another. We possess his


Papers and

dence sp Th"eir own letters, or letters under his name, others
obwurity. which were dispatched or exchanged to or be-
tween the most eminent personages of his time,
including the Sovereigns : but we are rarely
enabled to distinguish whether he speaks in his
own person, or in the person of the party
whose name is prefixed ; nor whether he acts as
agent or as principal ;- -nor whether the letters
were confided to him by the writers ; nor whether
he obtained the documents honestly or by collu-
sion. This singular collection has been long
known under the title of Epistolfz Gerberti, and
has proved a torture to the wits of the erudite.
Crabbed enigmatical,- -the inexplicable hint,-
a phrase in conventional gergo, names in secret
characters. The obscurity has encr eased their
interest. Much labour has been bestowed upon
their elucidation, but with indifferent success.
manuscript The original of Eicher's history exists as he
autograph &' left it: autograph and holograph: never used


during the nine hundred and odd years which


have elapsed since his era and our own, but by 1 954 ^ 987
one scholar, famous Abbot Tritheniius in the
fifteenth century.

It is amusingly instructive to observe how the
old Monk went to work upon his task. He pro-
ceeded economically. For the most part his manu-
script is a palimpsest : the membranes of various
qualities, and the leaves of unequal sizes. Here,
are interlineations in larger characters and
there, interpolations in the margin ; some por-
tions in exceedingly small and delicate letters,
penned, perhaps, when the sun was shining
brightly, others again, in large Pica, written
when the smoky lamp was burning dimly.
The text has been most carefully corrected and
re-corrected, enlarged and improved by the
author. But, if Richer' s additions are important,
the subtractions are even more so, and his con-
cealments more striking than his disclosures.
Sometimes a word or a paragraph has been erased,
and the scalpel employed so earnestly, that not
a letter can be traced. Considerable breaks and
halts are found in the narrative, assuredly not for

closed by his

want of knowledge. These occur wholly during the JjnJSe 1

p T ji L 1 L .LI manuscript.

reign of Lothaire, to the extent, in the aggregate,
of nearly twenty years, and, very generally, at
the precise nick of time when we are peculiarly
anxious to receive full information.

Richer' s conduct as an historian was unques-
tionably dictated by prudence, though combined
with a higher principle than prudence. Enriched
with materials for composition; and fully able to


954-987 employ them, he was endued with the rare virtue
~r"rir of silence. The periods omitted would have neces-

960 966 -i-

sitated the narration of occurrents which it would
have grieved him to record. This is the more evi-
dent, because in one very remarkable instance,
when he had commenced a chapter which must
have contained matters bearing painfully upon the
moral character of individuals who are amongst
the most prominent in this history, and thereby
enabling us to form a more correct judgment con-
cerning the more immediate motive causes of the
revolution, he baulks us by his conscientiousness,
and taking up his shears, he snips off the re-
mainder of the page. This is one of the numer-
ous examples, when a pentimento is far more
instructive than the Artist's completed composi-
tion. No passage can be really suppressed, but
by casting it in the fire.

After the death of Lothaire, the narrative
expands. Bicherius appears to have emboldened
himself to his task, and to have worked with
more confidence. Yet his reticences do not
cease, and we can discern them again in connec-
tion with the scandalous subject which must have
filled the chapter we have lost. Upon the acces-
sion of G-erbert to the See of Eheims, the his-
tory terminates. Infirmity probably, inter-
rupted Eicher's labours. But the parchment
is not exhausted, and he still employed him-
self in collecting memoranda for the continua-
tion of the useful task. He transcribes two
letters from his Patron Gerbert, which the


learned editor who disentombed the manu-
script, has, in consequence of some nicety of
arrangement, withheld or postponed. Then
follow some few miscellaneous jottings,- -words
written to try his pen, a sketch intended for
a letter addressed to some friend, concerning a
medical treatise which that friend had lent him
in the course of the year : and, amongst other
notices, one of peculiar interest to us, which,
whilst testifying that the affairs of Normandy
continued to attract his attention, affords at the
same time a grotesquely forcible testimony of
the permanently enduring contemptuous feeling
which the old Carlovingian Frenchmen enter-
tained against the mongrel Pagans.

51. The fragmentary character possessed
by Carlovingian history at this era, when the
antient fabric was crumbling into ruins, often
necessitates a departure from chronological order.
We must occasionally groupe our personages ;
and, amongst these personages, none requiring
to be more distinctly individualized than the
Prelates, who, acting very different parts, con-
tributed, each in his position, to the Capetian

Shortly after that Lothaire. having reduced, ^i,

* Death of

Dijon, had given so hard a blow to the Verman-

dois family, the wearying career of Artaldus came
to a close. The ecclesiastical Provinces of
Eheims and Sens were forthwith synodically
convened. The Capet, who possessed much

VOL. II. 3 E


v 954 ^ 987 , influence in this assembly, supported Hugh the

1^C%r old Parvulus, the Eegicide's son. Three more

Bishops were the Capet's Bishops, Paris,

The 9( se7 2 Orleans, Senlis. The restoration of the ex-

7 pelled ex-archbishop being opposed, it was

Parvulus. A x

agreed that the question should be referred
to the Holy See. The Pontiff's decision was
SintmSt, adverse to the Parvulus. The hopes to which the
ousted litigant had so fondly clung, were finally
crushed. Having been kindly received by his
brother Robert, he fell sick, and died of a broken
heart at Melun.- -We have had the Boy-Bishop
before us ever since he was five years old, and
now there is an end of him.

A vacancy in the Rhemish Primacy was a very
important political crisis, setting all parties in
motion. The successor of the Saint who bap-
tized the Sicamber ranked as the first subject in
the State, Arch-Chancellor of the Monarchy,
and President ex officio in all the great national
assemblies.- -Invested with these powers, the
Archbishop of Rheims, though he cannot be de-
scribed as the King-maker, might, nevertheless,
when the balance trembled, turn the scale, and
become the arbiter of the kingdom's destiny.

The antient canonical right of election was
vested in the Clergy and Laity ; yet rarely did
they recalcitrate against the recommendation
given by their natural patron, the Sovereign.
But France, since Lothaire's accession, had
passed virtually under the German protectorate,


a superiority neither recognised by treaty . 954 ^ 987

Online LibraryFrancis PalgraveThe history of Normandy and of England (Volume 2) → online text (page 51 of 60)