Page images
PDF
EPUB

HERALDRY. *

9)

It was a pretty fancy of one of our Surely there can be nothing offensive to elder dramatists, that the successes and the purest Democracy, in a man's being revulsions in human affairs were pre- proud that his ancestors were honest cisely on the principle of an ocean-wave, men ; “ that all the sons were brave, which retires from the beach upon which and all the daughters virtuous,” provided it has hurled itself, but to return again that he does not force the feelings of with a force increased or diminished ac others to keep pace with his own, and cording to circumstances; but still to re that he bears in mind the apothegm of turn, in the language of Longfellow, to Pope

-break

“ What can ennoble sots, or fools, or cowUpon the idle sea-shore of the Mind."

ards ? To reduce this abstract principle to the Alas! not all the blood of all the Howards." concrete, is but to excite the reaction Why should we pay more regard to the which now pervades the Anglo-Saxon pedigree of Durham heifers and Goworit, in regard to the reverence for the dolphin nags than to our own? time-worn usages of yescerday. For a At all events, this feeling appears to century and-a-half, the things pertaining have seated itself very firmly in the to antiquity have been gradually falling esteem of a certain portion of the literary into disuse, until at length this contempt world of Great Britain, as appears from has reached its ebb, and the tide sets the the publication and getting up of a series other way. The effects of this reaction

of works upon this subject within the need not be cited. They are to be found last few years, among which will be in the recent excitement in the Church of found that the title of which heads this England concerning the Ancient Ritual, article. To look upon this volume, one and, in a more long-lived form, in the would say that the art of Chromo-lithoparty known in the Trans-Atlantic world graphy had, in it, been carried to the of politics as “ Young England.”. Wit- summit of perfection. To the encourageness, also, the more romantic effusions of ment thus given, the author, in the preall the authors of the present day, and face, promises a liberal return. chiefly of him who divides with Bulwer the throne of English Fiction—the author “A recent writer observes,” says he, of Sibyl. Such the extent to which “that the language of Heraldy is occasionthis feeling is carried, that its advocates ally barbarous in sound and appearance, but already tremble for its permanency, fearing it is always peculiarly expressive; and a that its very violence will prove its own

practice which involves habitual concisedestruction. We can sympathize with

ness and precision in their utmost attainthe nonplussed father in the vicinity of able degree, and in which tautology is

viewed as fatally detrimental, may inOxford, whose daughter complains that sensibly benefit the student in other more her mother refuses to lead off a Christmas important occasions. But Heraldry is useball in a measure with the family butler, ful on higher grounds than these, and and insists upon her papa's erecting her particularly as an aid to the right underan Elizabethan pig-sty. Such cases are, standing of that important period of the perhaps, not uncommon. But one of the history of Christendom, the reign of Feudalmost beautiful effects of this innovation ism. An eminent French writer, Victor upon the utilitarian spirit of the age, is Hugo, declares, that for him who can deto be found in the increased attention cipher it, Heraldry is an Algebra, a lanwhich is now paid to the study of Her- guage. The whole history of the second

half of the middle ages is written in blazon, As a leisure amusement, we can

as that of the preceding period is in the imagine none more befitting or interest- symbolism of the Roman Church. To the ing to an American gentleman, who dates student of history, then, Heraldry is far his origin from an European stock. from useless.”

ALDRY.

* The Curiosities of Heraldry. By M. A. Lower, author of the History of English Sur.

1 vol. 8vo. pp. 319. London, 1845.

names.

Fully agreeing with our author, we We may add, that from a portrait of will take the liberty of differing with Dame Julyan, attired in her monastic some of his predecessors, with whom, garb, which we have seen, no one would judging from his tone in divers parts of infer that she could slay a fly. And with. his works, he seems to be on terms of all due deference to Mr. Lower's judgfamiliarity, rather than respect. Never- ment, we do not think he is entirely cortheless, despite the candor he exhibits in rect in his assumptions as to the rude disaliowing the absurd clainis of some of complexion of the habits of her order and the over-zealous advocates of his subject, her sex in that age. How different is the Mr. Lower occasionally makes a slip idea which we draw from that “ well of himself.

English undefiled”-old Geoffry Chaucer, From the curious list of the various who spared neither church nor sex in his treatises on Heraldry which we notice, the sarcastic allusions—of the nature of a sisinference is clear that the author must ter Prioress. The reader must excuse have had access to, or must himself pos- the introduction of a passage, so seemsess, a most unique library, Let us briefly ingly irrelevant, in this place. The merits glance at the contents and titles of one or of the verses will plead their own pardon. two. One of the earliest productions of (Prol. Cant. Tales, v. 118, et seq.) the English press hears a particular refer- “ Ther also was a nonne, a Prioresse, ence to this subject, viz: the far-famed That of hire smiling was ful simple and coy; BOKE OF ST. ALBANS. Its authoress has Hire gretest othe n'as but by saint Eloy; become renowned in the annals of Rox. And she was cleped madame Eglentine. burghe and of Althorpe, in the pages of Dibdin and Brunet, to an extent she could And sikerly she was of grete disport, not possibly have ever dreamed of, And ful plesant, and amiable of port, through the scarcity of her famous tome, And peined hire to contrefeton chere “ Now cheaply purchased at its weight in

Of court, and ben estatelich of manere,

And to ben holden digne of reverence. gold.”

But for to speken of hire conscience, Harken to Mr. Lower's description of it, She was s& charitable and pitous, he having enjoyed a perusal of its pages: She wolde wepe if that she saw a mous the monastery from which it is designated, Of small houndes hadde she, that she fedde

" It was printed within the precincts of Caughte in a trappe, if it were dede or in the year 1186. This singular work con

With rosted fleshe, and milk, and wastel tained tracts on hunting, hawking, and

brede. "coot-armuris; the last constituting the But sore wept she if on of hem were dede, greater portion of the volume. It is printed

Or if men smote it with a yerde smert: in a type resembling the text-hand written

And alle was conscience and tendre herte." at the period, and with all the abbreviations employed in manuscript. The margin . And this, too, a century before the era of contains exemplifications of the arms de; the Prioresse of Sopewell! scribed in the text, stained with colored ink. This edition, like others of that early Julyan was concerned, was slow in its

Truly, civilization, as far as Dame. date, is now exceedingly scarce, there being probably not more than five or six paces. Yet the language of this volume, copies extant. Another edition was pub- although bearing the sanction of a high lished by William Copeland in 1496, and a dignitary in the Christian Church, accords single copy occurs of the same date, with but too well with the sentiments we have the imprint of Wynkyn de Worde.

referred to. At the present day, it would The entire work was attributed for the first be, very properly, considered as blasphethree centuries after its publication to Dame mous in the extreme. What would be Julyan Berners, Prioress of Sopewell, and said of a lady or prelate of the nineteenth sister of Richard Lord Berners-a woman

century thus expressing herself: of great personal and mental endowments. That a woman, and especially the superior “ Noah came a gentylman by kinde, and of a religious sisterhood, shouid have de- had iij sonnys begetyn by kind ; yet in voted her pen to the secular subjects of theys inj sonnys, gentylnes and ungentylnes heraldry and field-sports, at first sight, ap. was. fownde.

Of the ofispring of pears singular; but the rude complexion of the gentylman Japheth, came Habraham, the times in which she lived, renders little Moyses, Aron, and the profettys, and also apology necessary for this apparent violation the kyng of the right fyne of Mary, of whom of propriety; and we may fairly venerate that gentylman Jhesus, kyng of the londe the memory of this gentle lady as a pro. of Jude and of Jhues, gentylman by his moter of English literature." :

modre Mary, pryncesse of cote armure." VOL. II.-NO. VI.

43

Such abominable language admits of laments over the probable ennui of Adam, but one excuse; that, in employing it, who could not conveniently have the pleathe authoress intended, and doubtless sure of examining his own pedigree ! imagined she succeeded in paying the Among savage nations, our former highest possible tribute to the Majesty of remarks are universally applicable. No the Redeemer. Another extract of a cen tribe is so rude as not to possess vague tury later in date (Bossewell's Workes of traditions of its by-gone glories, and its Armorie: London, 1597. Second Edi- distinguished or even Divine extraction. tion, p. 56,) will tend to amuse the reader, The American aborigines furnish the who may have been disgusted by the most convenient instances, and, in many preceding quotation. To the naturalist cases, (see Catlin, Tanner, Cooper, &c., we especially commend it:

for their Totems, and other devices,) the

foundations of a rude heraldry may be “ The fielde is of the Saphire, on a chiefe Pearle, a Musion ermines. This plainly traced. We can do no better than beaste is called a Musion, for that he is en- employ a quotation entirely embodying nemie to Myse and Rattes; he is shye and

our ideas : wittie, and seeth so sharplıe that he overcometh darknes of the nighte by the

“ It has been observed, that among barshyninge lighte of his eyen. In shape of body Men are known by titles of honor, by titles

barous nations there are no family names. he'is like unto a Leoparde,and hathe a greate mouth. He doth delighte that he enjoyeth of disgrace, or by titles given them on achis libertie ; and in his youthe he is swiste,

count of some individual quality. A brave

man will be called the lion; a ferocious plyante and merye. He maketh a rufuli noyse and a gastefull when he profereth to

one, the tiger. Others are nanied after a fighte with an other. He is a cruell beaste, signal act of their lives, or from some pewhen wilde, and falleth on his owne feeté culiarity of their personal appearance: from moste highe places, and neyther is such as the slayer-of-three-bears, the hurte therewith. When he hathe a faire taker-of-so-many-scalps; or straight-limbs, skinne, he is, as it were, prowde thereof, long-nose, and so on. Some of these, and then he goeth about to be seene.”

especially such as express approbation or

esteem, are worn as proudly by their savNeed the reader, asks Mr. Lower, be age owners, as that of Duke or Marquis is informed that this beaste of the rufull of remark, that among the North American

by European nobles. It is not unworthy noyse,” which “falleth from bighe places Indians symbols are employed for the puron his owne feete,” is the common house pose of distinguishing their tribes. The CAT?

Shawanese nation, for example, was originWe beg our wearied readers to excuse ally divided into twelve tribes, which were our dwelling so long upon this, perhaps, subdivided into septs or claus, recognized to them, “unintelligible jargon;" but we by the appellations of the Bear, the Turtle, plead our excuse, that' in this dialect the Eagle, etc. In some cases, individuals, spake Elizabeth and Raleigh, Essex and particularly the more eminent warriors, Mary Stuart ; in this “unintelligible jar of their prowess. And this, says Mr. R.

assumed similar devices, commemorative gon” sung Chaucer and Spencer, Shakspeare and Ben Jonson. In short, it is the INDIAN HERALDRY—as useful, as com

C. Taylor, an American Antiquary, is characteristic of the golden age of English memorative, as inspiriting to the red warliterature.

rior and his rece, as that when, in the The custom of ascribing a prodigious days of the Crusades, the device and the antiquity to a particular family, which motto, the crest and the war-cry, the ban. undoubtedly was one of the primary ner and the pennon, exercised their potent causes of the adoption of Heraldry, is com

influence upon European chivalry.” mon to almost every people of whom we It might be added, that later ages have any account. Among the Spaniards would have done wisely in adhering to and Welsh, to cite from the enlightened

the chaste simplicity evinced by the first parts of the globe. pedigrees are fondly employers of significant emblems. A traced, even at this day, up to Noah, and

poor reward is it, after a life's toil and thence to Adam. Sylvanus Morgan labor, be enabled to raise a smile upon (whose real name, we think, was Water

every face by the absurdity of the coathouse, the butt of Anthony a Wood,) of-arms bestowed upon you. strenuously contends for the dignity of Nevertheless, considerable ingenuity our first parents, and their right to bear is occasionally exhibited in the devices as armor, and even goes into a technical well as mottoes of some of the heraldic description of it. Another enthusiast adornments of various families. From

semper viret.

the list of punning mottoes set forth by among the high-sounding titles of the Mr. Lower, we cuil the following: To peerage that we are to seek for that rarer the first upon the roll, that of Fortesque, acquisition, pure blood, nor yet for that appertains an interesting historical le. still more precious boon which no earthly gend, which, as our author appears not potentate can bestow, that accompanito have noticed, we may be excused for ment of every Christian gentleman, withadding here : On the field of Hastings, out which Sir Richard le Forte saved the life of his Jeader, the Norman duke, by interposing

“ How low, how little are the proud, his shield between his liege and the as

How indigent the great!” sailant. In memory of this, he added Well said King James, when implored by the fortunate shield, which served in a

his nurse to assist her son:.“ Woman, 1 measure to change the whole aspect of can make your boy a lord, but it is out the world, to his cognizance; and, in- of my power to make him a gentleman." stead of le Forte, by aid of his addition, While we cherish, with a just and be(a shield, Fr. escue,) his descendants are coming pride, these relics and testimonies styled Fortescue. He also assumed this of our ancestral fame, let us not be witty motto

unmindful of their paltry insignificance, Forte scu-tum salus ducum—a strong when weighed in the balance with the shield is the general's safety.”

nobler qualities of the mind. To quote Vernon-Ver-non semper viret, or Vernon again from one of our most perfect

poets : FANE (Earl of Westmoreland, of the family of Neville)- Ne vile Fano.

“ The boast of Heraldry, the pomp of VERE (Earls of Oxford)-Vero nil Verius. power, SETON (Earls of Wintoun)-Set on! Set on! And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er

Many others of equal significance may Await alike the inevitabte hour : be found at length in this volume. We The paths of glory lead but to the grave." add one more : Dr. Cox Macro, the learned Cambridge divine, consulting a In conclusion, we heartily concur in friend upon the choice of a motto, was Mr. Lower's praises of the eloquent repithily answered with—“ Cocks may marks of Lord Lindsay upon this subject, crow."

of which the following extract is a speThe talented author of this very enter- cimen : taining and yet valuable work will perhaps be gratified to hear that a growing

" Pride is of all sins the most hateful in interest in his subject exists upon this the sight of God; and of the proud, who side of the Atlantic, where, many of his is so mean, who so despicable, as he who countrymen imagine, nothing Þut the values himself on the merits of others ? rankest agrarianism can flourish. Indeed, boasted ancestors ? Were they all Chris

And were they all so meritorious, these very many of our republican brethren tians? Remember, remember, if some of trace their genealogical tree higher, by them have deserved praise, others have far, than several-aye, more than would equally merited censure; if there have been be supposed--peers who now occupy a stainless knights, never yet has there seat at Si. Stephen's. And instances are been a stainless family since Adam's fall. not unknown where American citizens Where, then, is boasting? for we would have refused to accept those hereditary not, I hope, glory in iniquity. distinctions which had accrued to them

Only the actions of the just under monarchical institutions. It is not Smell sweet, and blossoin in the dust.''

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]

accom

In our last article we brought the of Great Britain and Prussia natural as history of Prussia down to the Treaty that of family ; but the hatred of George of Aix-la-Chapelle—the famous Treaiy II. to his brother-in-law, Frederic Wilwhich suspended war, but so far from liam, was extended to Frederic II., and removing the causes of war, left undressed prevented any cordiality between either those wounds, which festered in silence. the nations or their rulers. Yet with every counteractive, Christian The great rival of Prussia, Austria, Europe had, in all its extent, relations with wounds not yet staunched, received and population, progressed in meliora- in the two recent Silesian wars, though tion ; though in political and military possessed of resources too vast to sink, points of view, that fine section of the needed repose and renovation ; and the earth was divided into two great factions. young and energetic female sovereign One included, as the most powerful seemed to breathe her spirit over the nucleus, Austria with part of Germany, whole empire. The first interest of all Russia, Great Britain, Holland and Sar- states, the finances, had to recover from dinia ; the other, France, Spain, the the dilapidations of war, and a system Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, Prussia and more uniform to be established over an Sweden. We state these two great empire so heterogeneous in its political combinations as general, only. Diversity and national organization. This was of national interest, language, position, effected, and in the interval between the and what still had great influence politi- close of the second Silesian war, and the cally, religion, prevented either unity of commencement of that of seven years, a views or concert in action. Suspicion most rapid augmentation was reigned with more or less force over Eu- plished in the finances of Austria. rope, and delayed only to render war At that time Austria possessed one of more general and inveterate. Without those men who only appear when needed extending our views to Spain and Italy, -Leopold Count Daun-cool, calm and too weak, divided, and distant from Prus- collected as Fabius, and as keen to avail sia, we must contine our views to those himself of every fault of an enemy as states with which the Prussian monarch Cæsar. To him after the Treaty of Aix-lahad relations more intimate, or rivalries Chapelle, was confided the arduous and more imminent.

necessary task of reorganizing the AusFrance, in all the elements of power trian army. Composed of Germans, Boand advance in civilization, stood at the hemians, Hungarians, Italians, Croats, head of Europe ; and its most vital inter- and other nations of less note, all brave est called the French nation to support and war-like, but differing not only in the King of Prussia. Louis XV., still in language, but each having their own the flower of his age, might and ought to military habits, it was no ordinary task have been the arbiter of Europe; but, to reduce them, even when united into careless rather than weak, and with a one army, to any effective system ; and court whose policy was pleasure and though much was done in the intermeobject wealth, national and foreign in- diate time, the organization of the Austerests were neglected, and of course trian military force was, until about the misunderstood, he was consequently in- close of the French Revolution, far beefficient in war, and unsafe and changeful hind that of Prussia. in alliance and in peace.

Count Kaunitz-Rietberg was in the Great Britain, from insular position, cabinet what Daun was in the fieldfreedom of the people, extended com an able diplomatist, truly Austrian in merce, and rising arts, was, in proportion inflexibility, with an appearance of levi. to extent of territory and population, the ty, Possessing, perhaps, more general most powerful European state, and had, political knowledge than any other man more than any other state of Europe, the of his time ; the real rival of Frederic in means to choose peace or war. Interests conceiving and counteracting the designs of every kind, and the family alliance of of other cabinets, and mortal personal their monarchs, rendered the connection enemies of each other, Kaunitz and Fred

« PreviousContinue »