Page images
[ocr errors]

It greeved Nature muche

To see the cruell deede :
Mee seemes I see hir, how she wept

To see hir dearling bleede.


Wel yet, quod fhe, this hurt

Shal have some helpe I trowe :
And quick with skin the coverd it,

That whiter is than snowe.


Wherwith Dan Cupide fled,

For feare of further flame,
When angel-like he saw hir shine,

Whome he had smit with shame.


Lo, thus was Bridges hurt

In cradel of hir kind.
The coward Cupide brake hir browe

To wreke his wounded mynd.


The skar still there remains;

No force, there let it bee :
There is no cloude that can eclipse

So bright a funne, as Mhe.

*** The Lady here celebrated was Catharine, daughter of Edmond second Lord Chandos, wife of William Lord Sands. See Collins's Peerage, vol. II. p. 133, ed. 1779.

Ver. 62. In cradel of hir kind: i. e, in the cradle of ber family. Se Wartor's Observations, vol. II. p. 137.



FAIR ROSAMOND: Most of the circumstances in this popular story of king Henry 11. and the beautiful Rofamond have been taken for fact by our English Historians; who, unable to account for the unnatural conduct of queen Eleanor in stimulating her fors to rebellion, have attributed it to jealousy, ani suppofed that Henry's amour with Rofamond was the object of that passion.

Our o'd Englis annalists feem, most of them, to have followed Higuen the monk of Chester, whose account, with

some enlargements

, is thus given by Stow. * Rofamond the fayre daughter of Walter lord Clifford, concubine to Henry II. (poisoned by queen Elianor, as some thought) dyed at " Woodstocke [Ă. D. 1177.] where king Henry had made for her a house of wonderfull working : fo that no man

or woman might come to her, but he that was instructed " by the king, or such as were right secret with him touch

ing the matter. This house after some was named Labyrinthus, or Dedalus worke, which was wrougöt like ur

knot in a garden, called a Maze * ; but it was commonly said, that lastly the queene came to her by a clue of thridde, or silke, and to dealt with her, that the liveid not long after : but when she was dead, fee was buried

at Godslow in an house of nunnes, beside Oxford, with these verses upon her tombe: “ Hic jacet in tumba, Rosa mundi, non Rosa munda:

“ Non redolet, fed olet, quæ redolere folet.

to a

* Consisting of vaults under ground, arched and walled with brick ana fione, according to Drayton. See note on bis Epistle of Rosamund.

In English

, thus:

66 Is now

" The role of the world, but not the cleane Alocure,


graven; to whom beauty was lent: " In this grove full darke nowe is her bowre,

That by her life was faveete and redolent:

But now that she is fiom this life blent, " Though the were faveete, now foully doth she flinke. A mirrour good for all men, that on her thinke.

Stowe's Annals, Ed. 1631, p. 154.

[ocr errors]

6 the

Hoco the queen gained admittance into Rosamond's bower is differently related. Helling Shed speaks of it, as

common report of the people, that the queene, founde "hir out by a filken thread, which the king had drazene

after him out of hir chamber with his foot, and dealt " with hir in such Jharpe and cruell wise, that she lived

not long after.Vol. III. p. lli. On the other hand, in Speede's Hift

. we are told that the jealous queen found her out " by a clew of filke, fallen

from Rosamund's lappe, as shee fate to take ayre, and fucilenly fleeing from the fight of the searcher, the end of her filke fastened to her "foot, and the cleru fill unwinding, remained behinde : " which the queene followed, till fhee bad found what she

fought, and upon Rosamund so venteil her spleene, as the * lary lived not long after.3d Edit. p. 509. Our ballal-maker with more ingenuity, and probably as much truth, tells us the clue was gained, by surprise, from the knight, who was left to guard her borver.

It is observible, that none of the old writers attribute Rofumond's death to poison. (Stow, above, mentions it merely es a slight conjecture); they only give us to understand, that the queen treated her har/lily; avith furious menaces, que may lutof, and sharp expoftulations, which had such effe&t on ber jpirits, that like diel not long survive it. Indeed 01


her tomb-ftone, as we learn from a person of credit *, among other fine sculptures, was engraven the figure of a cup. This, which perhaps at first was an accidental ornament, (perhaps only the Chalice) might in after times suggest the notion that she was poisoned; at least this conftruétion was put upon it, when the stone came to be clemolished after the nunnery was disolved. The account is, that the tombstone

of Rosamund Clifford was taken up at Godstow, and broken in pieces, and that upon it were interchangeable

weavings drawn out and decked with roses red and green, " and the pi&ture of the cup, out of which she drank the

poison given her by the queen, carved in stone."

Rofamond's father having been a great benefactor to the nunnery of Godfow, where she had also resided herself in the innocent part of her life, her body was conveyed there, and buried in the middle of the choir; in which place it remained till the year 1191, wlien Hugh biskop of Lincoln caused it to be removed. The fact is recorded by Hoveden, a contemporary writer, whose words are thus translated by Stow: Hugh bishop of Lincolne came to the abbey of nunnes, called Godfow, and when he had entred * the church to pray, he saw a tombe in the middle of the

quire, covered with a pall of silke, and set about with lights of waxe: and demanding whole tomb it was, he was answered, that it was the tombe of Rofamond, that

was some time lemman to Henry II..... who for the " love of her had done much good to that church. Then

quoth the bishop, take out of this place the harlot, and * bury her without the church, left Chriftian religion should

grow in contempt, and to the end that, through example of wher, other women being made afraid may beware, and keepe themselves from unlawfull and advouterous company

Annals, P 159, History further informs us, that king Fohn repaired GodStow nunnery, and endowed it with yearly revenues,

so that of these holy virgins might releeve with their prayers, the " foules of his father king Henrie, and of laxy Rosamund

Tbo. Allen of Gloc. Hall, Oxon. who died in 1632, aged 90. See Hearne's rambling discourse concerning Roomond, at ike end of Gul. Neubrig. Hift. vol. III. p. 739. VOL. II.


66 there

abb with men.

" there interred.* In what situation her remains were found at the dissolution of the nunnery, we learn from Leland, Rosamundes tumbe at Godfowe nunnery was taken up [of ) late; it is a stone with this inscription, 6 TUMBA ROSAMUNDÆ. Her bones were clofid in lede, " and withyn that bones were closyd yn lether. When it

was opened a very swete smell came owt of it t." See Hearne's discourse above quoted, written in 1718; at which time he tells us, were still seen by the pool at Woodstock the foundation of a very large building, which were believed to be the remains of Rofamond's labyrinth.

To conclude this (perhaps too prolix) account, Henry had two sons by Rosamond, from a computation of whose ages, a modern hisorian has endeavoured to invalidate the received Rory. These were William Longue-espé; for Long-sword) carl of Salisbury, and Geoffrey bishop of Lincolne 1. Geofrey was the younger of Rofamond's fons, and yet is fald to have been twenty years old at the time of his election to that fee in 1173. Hence this writer concludes, that king Henry fell in love with Rofamond in 1149, when in king Stephen's reign be came over to be knighted by the king of Scots; he also thinks it probable that Henry's commerce with this lady broke of upor his marriage with Eleanor (in 1152) and " that the young lady, by a natural effect of grief and resent"ment at the defection of her lover, entered on tbat occasion into the nunnery of Godstowe, where she died probably be.

'fore the rebellion of Henry's fons in 1173." (Carte's Hift. Pol. I. p.652.] But let it be observed, that Henry was but fixteen years old when he came over to be knighted ; that he faid but eight months in this islanıl, and was almost all the time with the king of Scots; that he did not return back to England till 1113, the year after his marriage with Eleanor; and that no writer drops the least hint of Rosamonel's having ever been abriad with her lover, nor" indeed is it probable That a boy of fixteen should venture to carry over a mistress to

* Vid. Reign of Henry II. in Speed's Hiß. writ by Dr. Barcbam, Dean of Bocking.

+ This would bave passed for miraculous, if it had happened in the tomb of any clerical person, and a proof of bis being a saint.

Afterwards dichbishop of York, temp. Riche L

« PreviousContinue »