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is Chaucer's praise of his young squire. He went on military expeditions, too; for though but twenty years old, he had
“Sometime been in chevauchée,
In Flanders, in Artois, and in Picardy;" and love was also the inspirer of his chivalry; for he
“ Bore him well as of so little space,
In hope to stonden in his lady's grace.” Finally, religion had her share of honour in the mind of the squire; for it was the priest who blest his sword, and it was at the altar that he received it.
Such was the education which prepared the aspirant in chivalry for the dearest object of his ambition, the honour of knighthood. The ceremonies of his inauguration into this dignity Mr. Mills has described much at length: first, the bath, the vigil of arms in a church, and the tonsure which figuratively marked the consecration of his martial servitude to God; next the priestly blessing poured upon his blade, and his own oaths to defend the ehurch and assault the wicked, to guard and honour woman, to succour and protect the weak, and to shed the last drop of his blood in behalf of his brethren in arms; then, his homage, kneeling and with clasped hands, to his lord, his arming by the ladies, and the slight blow with the sword, or accolade, from his lord, which sealed his knighthood; and, lastly, his flowing largess to the heralds and minstrels who proclaimed his honour. It was only when the eve of deadly encounter, or the well-foughten battle-field at its close, was the scene of knightly inauguration, that these ceremonies, ali but the accolade, yielded to the sterner interest or pressing necessity of the occasion.
The next chapter is on the Equipment of the Knight. We entirely agree with Mr. Mills that never was military costume more splendid and graceful than in the days which are emphatically called “the days of the shield and lance." Modern Warfare can present nothing comparable with the bright and glittering scene “of a goodly company of gentle knights, pricking on the plain with nodding plumes, emblazoned shields, gorgeous banners, and silken pennons streaming in the wind, and the scarf, that beautiful token of lady-love, crossing the strong and polished steel cuirass." Our author has described the picture in vivid colours; and he has thrown imaginative beauty even into armorial details which have usually been consigned only to the laborious dulness of small antiquarians.
Mr. Mills gives a spirited delineation of the “chivalric character.” We think that the military virtues of knighthood were deficient in two respects:-in patriotism, and in the implicit obedience of soldiership. The genius of chivalry was altogether personal: its adventurous spirit made the tent the only country of the errant Chevalier, and had a strong tendency to estrange him from that best duty of defending his native land. Mr. Mills reluctantly admits that his virtues were not necessarily patriotic. It is appa rent, too, that the independence and equality which knighthood asserted must have broken the thread of subordination. That it had this effect, is evident, from the preference which we find princes constantly evincing for mercenary and stipendiary troops. Pure knighthood was, in truth, a republic of arms, in which the first principle was a perfect equality of companionship.
The “every-day life of the knight” is too interesting a part of the chivalric character to be passed over in silence; and here Mr. Mills shall speak again for himself.
“These military and moral qualities of knighthood were sustained and nourished by all the circumstances of chivalric life, even those of a peaceful nature. Hunting and falconry, the amusements of the cavalier, were images of war, and he threw over them a grace beyond the power of mere baronial rank. Dames and maidens accompanied him to the sport of hawking, when the merry bugles sounded to field; and it was the pleasing care of every gallant knight to attend on his damsel, and on her bird which was so gallantly bedight; to let the falcon loose at the proper moment, to animate it by his cries, to take from its talons the prey it had seized, to return with it triumphantly to his lady, and, placing the bood on its eyes, to set it again on her hand.”
“'To play the game of chess, to hear the minstrel's lays, and read romances, were the principal amusements of the knight when the season and the weather did not permit hawking and hunting. A true knight was a chess-player, and the game was played in every country of chivalry; for as the chivalric states of midland Europe obtained a knowledge of it from the Scandinavians, so the southern states acquired it from the Arabs.
6 " When they had dined, as I you say,
With other games more and less." “The minstrel's lay, the poetry of the Troubadour, the romance of the learned clerk, all spoke of war and love, of the duties and sports of chivalry. Every baronial knight had his gay troop of minstrels that accompanied him to the field, and afterward chaunted in his hall, whether in their own or another's verse, the martial deeds which had renowned his house. A branch of the minstrelsy art consisted of reciting tales; and such persons as practised it were called Jesters.”–
“Minstrels played on various musical instruments during dinner, and chaunted or recited their verses and tales afterwards both in the hall and in the chamber to which the barons and knights retired for amusement.
“A minstrel's lay generally accompanied the wine and spices which concluded the entertainment. Kings and queens had their trains of songsters, and partly from humour and partly from contempt, the head of the band was called King of the Minstrels. But men of the first quality, particularly the younger sons and brothers of great houses, followed the profession of minstrelsy, and no wonder, if it be true that they gained the guerdon without having encountered the dangers of war; for many a doughty knight complained that the smiles for which he bad pe. rilled himself in the battle-field were bestowed upon some idle son of peace at home. The person of a minstrel was sacred, and base and barbarian the man would have been accounted, who did not venerate him that sang the heroic and the tender lay, the magic strains of chivalry, and could shed a romantic lustre over fierce wars and faithful loves."
We must now discharge our duties to the fair by extracting one passage, which describes the character of woman in the eyes of the knight:
“In his mind woman was a being of mystic power: in the forests of Germany ber voice had been listened to like that of the spirit of the woods, mélodious, solemn, and oracular; and when chivalry was formed into a system, the same idea of something supernaturally powerful in her character threw a shadowy and serious interest over softer feelings, and she was revered as well as loved. While this devotedness of soul to woman's charms appeared in his general intercourse with the sex, in a demeanour of homage, in a grave and stately politeness, his lady-love he regarded with religious constancy. fickleness would have been a species of im. piety, for she was not a toy that he played with, but a divinity whom he worshipped. This adoration of her sustained him through all the perils that lay before his reaching his heart's desire; and loyalty (a word that has lost its pristine and noble meaning) was the choicest quality in the character of the preux chevalier.
“It was supported, too, by the state of the world he lived in. He fought the battles of his country and his church, and he travelled to foreign lands as a pilgrim, or a crusader, for such were the calls of his chivalry. To be the first in the charge and the last in the retreat was the counsel which one knight gave to another, on being asked the surest means of winning a lady fair. Love was the crowning grace, the guerdon of his toils, and its gentle influence aided him in discharging the duties of bis gallant and solemn profession. The Lady Isabella, daughter of the Earl of Juliyers, loved the Lord Eustace Damberticourt for the great nobleness of arms that she had heard reported of him; and her messengers, often carried to him letters of love, whereby her noble paramour was the more hardy in his deeds of arms. “I should have loved him better dead than alive," another damsel exclaimed, on hearing that her knight had survived his honour.”
Few parts of Mr. Mills's work are more interesting than his pictures of those high-born dames, the heroines of chivalry, who mingled the fearless spirit of their lords with the gentler virtues of their sex. Among these, the stories of Queen Philippa, of Agnes of March, of the Countess of Mountfort, and of Marzia des Ubaldini, have peculiar attractions. Engaging, also, in an eminent degree, are the brilliant scenes of the joust and tournament, and the imposing array of the religious and military orders of knighthood. We can, however, find room for only one spirited passage from the history of the Spanish order of Calatrava.
“The monastery of Santa Maria de Fetero in Navarre contained a monk named Diego Velasquez, who had spent the morning of his life in arms, but afterwards had changed the mailed frock for a monastic mantle, for in days of chivalry, when religion was the master-spring of action, such conversions were easy and natural. The gloom of a convent was calculated only to repress the martial spirit; but yet the surrounding memorials of military greatness, the armed warrior in stone, the overhanging banner and gauntlet, while they proved the frail nature of earthly happiness, showed what were the subjects wherein men wished for fame beyond the grave. The pomp of the choir-service, the swelling note of exultation in which the victories of the Jews over the enemies of heaven were sung, could not but excite the heart to admiration of chivalric renown, and in moments of enthusiasm many a monk cast his cowl aside, and changed his rosary for the belt of a knight.
" And thus it was with Velasquez. His chivalric spirit was roused by the call of his king, and he lighted a flame of military ardour among his brethren. They implored the superior of the convent to accept the royal proffer; and the King, who was at first astonished at the apparent audacity of the wish, soon recollected that the defence of the fortress of Calatrava could not be achieved by the ordinary exertions of courage, and he then granted it to the Cistertian order, and principally to its station at Santa Maria de Fetero, in Navarre. And the fortress was wisely bestgwed; for not only did the bold spirits of the convents keep the Moors at bay in that quarter, but the valour of the friars caused many heroic knights of Spain to join them. To these banded monks and cavaliers the King gave the title of the Religious Fraternity of Calatrava, and Pope Alexander III. accepted their vows of
** Froissart, liv. i. c. 197."
poverty, obedience, and chastity. The new religious order of knighthood, like ibat of St. James of Compostella, was a noble bulwark of the Christian kingdom.
“Nothing could be more perfect than the simplicity of the knights of Calatrava. Their dress was formed from the coarsest woollen, and the edges were not like those of many a monk of the time, purfiled or ornamented with vair or gris, or other sorts of rich fur. Their diet, too, reproached the usual luxury of the mo. nastery, for the fruits of the earth sustained them. They were silent in the oratory, and the refectory, one voice only reciting the prayers, or reading a legend of battle; but when the first note of the Moorish atabal was heard by the warder on the tower, the convent became a scene of universal uproar. The caparisoning of steeds, and the clashing of armour, broke the repose of the cloister, while the humble figure of the monk was raised into a bold and expanded form of dignity and power. Through all the mighty efforts of the Christians for the recovery of their throne, the firm and dense array of the knights of Calatrava never was tardy in appearing on the field; but the kingdom, as its power and splendour increased, overshadowed the soldiers of every religious order of chivalry.” [Monthly Rev.
SELECTED FOR THE MUSEUM,
Napoleon and the Grand Army in Russia; or, a Critical Eca
mination of the Work of Count Philip de Segur. By General Gourgaud, late Principal Orderly Officer, and Aid-de-Camp to the Emperor Napoleon. 8vo. Martin Bossange & Co. 1825.
This work consists of many close columns of fastidious criticism, of frivolous objections obviously penned in a paroxysm of ill humour, of exceptions and denials palpably contradictory. General Gourgaud is well known as having been an active “Orderly Officer” in the staff of Napoleon, and of having followed the fortunes of that great man, even after his “sun of Austerlitz” had ceased to shine propitiously.' He is therefore passionately zealous in watching the fame of his master. Not content with protecting him from detraction, he seems equally fearful of commendation, as if he were jealous that it should proceed from any lip or pen but his own.
His “Critical Examination, therefore, is the most finished piece of hypercriticism we ever read. Every sentence, every syllable of the work of the Count de Segur, displeases him. He impugns every fact, he carps at every opinion, he adds an item to, or deducts one from, every summary. The critic sneers at the historian's knowledge of geography in the following manner. He says,
“The geographical knowledge which he (Segur) displays on the occasion is Mkewise defective when he states, that “all the rivers which in this country (Rus. sia) run in the direction from one pole to another have their eastern bank com. manding the western, as Asia commands Europe.” Europe, in its northern part forms an elevated plane, of which Moscow may be considered the centre. Beyond this capital the slope of the plane has therefore the contrary effect of making the eastern banks of all the rivers in that quarter less elevated than their western banks.”
Any other person than General Gourgaud would have remarked that the author does not speak of the country beyond Moscow. That is a territory which the Grand Army did not traverse.
Segur says that when Marshal Bessieres, on one occasion told the Emperor that a certain position was unassailable, he violently, and " clasping his hands," exclaimed, “ Heavens! are you sure you are right? Is it really so? Can you answer for it?" Even this trifling incident Gourgaud affects to doubt. He remarks: “ That theatrical grief, those clasped hands appealing to Heaven, form a striking contrast with the real character of Napoleon. The author departs,” he adds, “more particularly in this place, from the rule prescribed to historians as well as to poets, of making their personages act and speak according to their received character.”
Would the reader credit, that after such observations, in which it is peremptorily denied that violence of passion was a trait in the temper of Napoleon, he might peruse the following from the pen of General Gourgaud himself?
“Marshal Lefebvre announced to him (Napoleon) that some Polish officers had just arrived in the town, and had applied for assistance on the part of Marshal Ney, who was at a few leagues distance. The Emperor immediately rose, and seizing the officer by both arms ejaculateil, with the livelirst emotion, 'Is that really true? Are you sure of it?' The officer having assured him that he was certain of the fact, his Majesty exclaimed, "I have two hundred millions in my cellars at the Tuileries, and I would have given them all to ensure Ney's safety:'
Had Count de Segur been the relater of this anecdote there can be little doubt but that his acrimonious critic would have pronounced it a poetical fiction. It is notorious that Napoleon was subject to sudden bursts of passion, of joy as well as anger: but probably it was presumption in the “ Maréchal-des-logis” to allude to them. It was a trait in the Emperor's character which his “ Principal Orderly Officer" alone was competent to pourtray.
Gourgaud's work consists chiefly of objections such as these, and the most important of which are supported by the ipse dixit of the writer alone. The excitation which the work has produced in Paris is not surprising; but, upon the whole, it contains very little to invalidate the testimony of M. de Segur, or detract from his merit as an able and accomplished writer.
SELECTED FOR THE MUSEUM.
A Critical Enquiry regarding the real Author of the Letters
of Junius, proving them to have been written by Lord Viscount Sackville. By George Coventry. Svo. pp. 382. Woodball. 1825.
THERE are no questions, that more strongly illustrate the intermixture of fallibility and of penetration in our reasoning faculty, than those which depend for their decision upon circumstantial evidence. Proof of that description is more apt than any other, to bear down those habits of distrust with which experience teaches us to receive such testimony, as is valuable only in proportion to the credibility of the witness. A few striking facts, when they seem to result from the same cause, or to lead to the same purpose, operate on the mind so instantaneously, that we feel conviction freVoz. VII. No. 42.-Museum.