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those of Elizabeth de Clare, Mary Countess of Pembroke, Margaret Countess of Richmond, and many others which are immortalized in the records of our universities. Of the latter princess, Bishop Fisher says that he has often heard her say, that if the Christian princes had again to make war with the infidels, "she wolde be glad yet to go, followe the hoost, and helpe to wash theyr clothes for the love of Jhesu *." Elvira of Castille, Countess of Toulouse, followed her husband to the Holy Land. The Dame de Poitiers, the Countess of Brittany, Ioland of Burgundy, Jeanne of Toulouse, Isabelle de France, Amicie of Courtenay, were in the host of St. Louis. Du ke Robert, son of William the Conqueror, being wounded by a poisoned arrow on the right arm before Jerusalem, and the physicians pronouncing it incurable, the Duchess, who followed her husband, loved him so dearly, that she availed herself of the intervals of his sleep to suck the wound, "et partant de fois que le dit seigneur en fut gueri et n'en print aucun mal a ladite dame.'' The beautiful Countesses of Flanders and of Blois were in the crusade; Florine, daughter of the Duke of Burgundy, followed her illustrious suitor, and was slain fighting by his side; Gandechilde, wife of Baudouin, Ide Comtess de Hainaut, Batilde queen of Eric III. King of Denmark, and the Margravine of Atriche, were also with the host. The Countess of Richmond used to rise "not long after five of the clock," says Bishop Fisher, "then for the poore creatures, albeit she did not receive into her house our Savyour in his own person, as the blessed Martha dyde, she nevertheless receyved them that doth represent his person, of whom he sayth himself, quod uni ex minimis meis fecistis mihi fecistis. Poore folkes to the nombre of twelve, she dayly and nyghtly kepte in her house, gyvyng them lodgyng, mete, and drynke, and clothynge, vysyting them as often as conveniently she myght; and in their sykeness, vysytynge them and comfortynge them, and mynystrynge unto them with her owne hands: and when it pleased God to call any of them out of this wretched worlde, she wolde be present, to see them departe, and to lerne to deye, and likewyse

• Fisher's Funeral Sermon on the Death of Margaret Countess of Richmond.

bring them unto the erthe." Chaucer's description of Custance is remarkable.

"In hire is high beaute withouten pride,
Youth withouten grenehed or folie,
To all hire workes vertue is hire guide;
llumblenesse hath slaien in hire tyrannie,
She is mirrour of alle curtesie,
Hire herte is veray chambre of holincsse,
Hire hond ministre of fredom for almesse."

Jean Bouchet says of Gabrielle de Bourbon, first wife of
$he Seigneur de la Tremoille, "En public monstroit biea
elle estre du royal sang, descendue par ung port asses
grant et reverencial, mais au prive, entre ses gentilzhom•
mes, damoyselles, serviteurs et gens qu'elle avoit acous-
tume veoyr, estoit la plus benigne, gracieuse, et familiere
qu'on eust peu trouver; consolative, confortative, et tous-
jours habondante en bonnes parolles sans vouloir ouyr
mal parler d'auttruy." And he says, in relating her death,
that " one dame ne mourut en plus grant foy, en plusfer-
vente charite et humilite, ne en meilleure esperance, sur la
mort et passion de nostre Seigneur Jhesu Crist fondee.''
When Guy Earl of Warwick returns to England in the
habit of a pilgrim, after an absence of seven years in the
Holy Land, coming to his castle, he beholds the countess
sitting at the gate, and distributing alms to a crowd of
poor people, ordering them all to pray for the safe return
of her lord from Palestine. A beautiful description is
given by the German historians of Gisela, whose father
was Herman Archduke of Suabia, and whose mother
Gerberge, daughter of Conrad King of Burgundy, was
descended from Charlemagne. "She was unwearied in
the service of God, never ceased giving alms and praying,
and did all secretly, thinking on the words of the Gospel,
'Do not your alms openly before men to be seen of them.'
A woman of noble spirit and of great industry, excelling in
all the duties of a wife, an enemy to dissipation, but liberal
in all good things; whose beauty and great qualities so
overcame King Conrad, father of Henry III. that for her
he dared the threats and rage of the Emperor Henry II.
and would have renounced the crown rather than her
hand, if the good will of the princes had not extricated
him from such an alternative." In the romance of Arthur

of Little Britain, after the Emperor's defeat, Arthur, Brisebar, and Clemenson, were sent before to the Duchesse .of Britaine, to shew the coming of the fair Lady Florence and the King of Orqueney. "Soo they rode forth so •farre, tyl at the last, on a Saturday at nyght, they aryved at the Porte Noyre. Then they alyghted and mounted up to the palays, and there they found the duchess and all the other ladies in the chapell hearing of even song, eche of them praying for theyr lorde, for they were in great fear of them , for they herde no manner of tydynges of them *'' The castle of Marpurg, the residence of the Landgrave of Hesse, was built on a steep rock, which the infirm and weak were not able to climb. The Margrayine Elizabeth, therefore, built an hospital at the foot of the rock for their reception and entertainment; where she often fed them with her own hands. She fed 900 daily at the gate; not encouraging idleness, but giving employment to all who were able to work. These great princesses were exempted from that false tenderness which turns aside from the poor object, or from the representation of the martyr's suffering; they were not among

"The sluggard pity's vision-weaving tribe,

Who sigh for wretchedness, yet shun the wretched;"

nursing

"Their slothful loves and dainty sympathies,
Who dream away the entrusted hours
On rose-leaf beds, pampering the coward heart
With feelings all too delicate for use ••"

The same humbleness of mind appeared whatever might be their rank or circumstances of life. The humble Queen Maria Clotilda of Sardinia was born at Versailles. St. Hilda, who founded the abbey at Whitby, was allied to the East Anglian and Northumbrian princes. St. Clotilda desired that her body should be buried at the feet of St. Genevieve: for she was so humble, that she accounted herself happy to submit her diadem to the ashes of a poor shepherdess. The Empress Eleonora, after a life of holy virtue, would have no other inscription upon her tomb, than this,

Eleonora, pauvre pecheresse.,

"~ '' '>

• P. 522. - • • Coleridge.

Turn we now to the account which Sir John Froissart

has given, "howe Quene Philip of Englande trepassed

out of this mortall lyfe, and of the three gyftes that she

desyred of the kynge her husbande, or she dyed." ,

i "In the meane seasone there fell in Englande a heavey

case and a comon: howbeit it was righte pyteous for the

kyng, his chyldren, and all his realme; for the good

Quene of Englande, that so many good dedes had done

in her tyme, and so many knightes soccoured, and ladyes

anddamosels comforted, and•had so largely departed of

her goodes to her people, and naturally loved alwayes the

nacyon of Heynaulte, the countrey wher as she was borne,

she fell sicke in the Castell of Wyndsore, the which sicke

nesse contynewed on her so longe, that there was no re

Tnedye but dethe; and the good lady whanne she knewe

and parcyved that there was with her no remedye bnt

dethe, she desyred to speke with the kynge her husbande;

and when he was before her, she put out of her bedde her

right hande, and take the kynge by his right hande, who

was right sorrowful at his hert: than she said, Sir, we

have in peace, joye, and great prosperyte, used all oure

tyme toguyder, Sir, nowe I pray you at our departyng

that ye wyll graunt me thre desyres: the kynge tight

sorrowfully wepyng, sayd, Madame, desyre what ye wyll,

I graunt it: Sir, sayd she, I requyre you firste of all, that

all maner of people, such as I have dault with all in their

merchaundyse, on this syde the see or beyond, that it may

please you to pay every thynge that I owe to them or to

any other: and secondly, Sir, all suche ordynaunce and

promys -as I have made to the churches, as well of this

countrey as beyonde the see, wher as I have hadde my

devocyon, that it may please you to accomplysse and to

fullfyll the same: thirdely, Sir, I requyre you that it may

please you to take none other sepulture whensoever it

shall please God to call you out of this transytorie lyfe,

but besyde me in Westmynster: the kyne al wepyng

sayde, Madame, I grant all your desyres: than the good

lady quene made on her the signe of the crosse, and cora

maunded the kyng her husbande to God, and her yongest

son Thomas, who was there beside her; and anone after she

yielded up the spiryte; the which I beleve surely the holy

angels receyved with great joy up to heven, for in all her lyfe she dyd neyther in thought nor dede thyng, wherby to lose her soule, as ferr as any creature coulde knowe. Thus the good Quene of Englande dyed in the yere of our Lord M.ccclxix., in the vigyll of our lady, in the myddes of August."

But, in a few words, the old writers will often set before us the whole character of these " meek daughters of the family of Christ." Thus the widow of Antoine de Vaudemont, Mary d'Harcourt, Countess de d'Aumale, Dame d'Elbeuf Brionne, Lisle-Bonne, Mayenne, &c. died in 1476, with the further title of " Mere des pauvres." Isabella of Lorraine, Queen of Rene d'Anjou, was lamented by the Angevines and Provencaux "car c'estoit une tres charitable et vertueux dame qui, par grant humilite, secretement visitoit les pauvres et malades et exercoit toutes ceuvres de misericorde," says Bourdigne. Orderic Vitalis says that Mathilda, queen of William the Conqueror, was followed to her grave by a great concourse of poor, whom, when alive, she had often assisted in the name of Christ *. Hence, as well as in consequence of charity being equally required for persons of rank, during the middle ages some degree of chirurgical and medical knowledge was considered as a necessary female accomplishment. This is an instance of primitive simplicity, of which examples are not wanting at the present day. How many gentlemen have I known, (not to mention my own history,) who are indebted for their lives to the consolation and unwearied kindness of women; of ladies, who, as in the case of Bayard, at Brescia, watched and tended them in their peril, amused and strengthened them in their recovery? Nor do I allude to their mothers, albeit in one at least of the cases which I could relate, it was the tenderest, the most devoted, and the most pitiful of the Almighty's creatures. One to whom I owe more than man should owe his fellow mortal.

Parva quidem fateor pro magnis munera reddi,

Cum pro concessa vsrba salute damus.
Sed qui, quam potuit, dat maxima, gratus abunde est*

Et finem pietas contigit ilia suum.

As far as these pages are concerned, my poor remem

• Lib. vii.
o

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