« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
county, remained lords of their estates, moulded by foar centuries of Ronnan on the condition of doing homage for taxation. By their feelings as well as them to the king. Many became vas- by their condition, they were the sals of Norman barons, and remained broken remains, but also the living proprietors on this condition. A elements, of a free people. They did greater number became spcagers, that not suffer the extremities of oppres is, free proprietors, bur lened with a sion. They constituted the body of tax, but possessed of the right of alien- the nation, the laborious, courageous ating their property; and the Saxon body which supplied its energy. TH. villeins found patrons in these, as the great barons felt that they must plebs formerly did in the Italian nobles rely upon them in their resistance to who were tran; planted to Rome. The the king. Very soon, in stipulating patronage of tne Saxons who preserved for themselves, they stipulated for al, Their integral position was effective, freemen,* even for merchants and vilfor they were not isolated : marriages leins. Thereafter “No merchant shall from the first united the two races, as be dispossessed of his merchandise, nc it had the patricians and plebeians of villein of the instruments of his labor Ronie ; * a Norman brother-in-law to no freeman, merchant, or villein shal a Saxon, defended himself in defend-be taxed unreasonably for a smal: ing him. In those turbulent times, crime ; no freeman shall be arrested and in an armed community, relatives or imprisoned, or disseized of his land, and allies were obliged to stand shoul- or outlawed, or destroyed in any mander to shoulder in order to keep their ner, but by the lawful judgment of bis ground. After all, it was necessary peers, or by the law of the land." for the new-comers to consider their Thus protected they raise themselves subjects, for these subjects had the and act. In each county there was a heart and courage of men : the Sax- court, where all freeholders, smali or ons, like the plebeians at Rome, re- great, came to deliberate about the membered their native rank and their municipal affairs, administer justice, original independence. We can rec- and appoint tax-assessors. The red. ognize it in the complaints and indig- bearded Saxon, with his clear comnation of the chroniclers, in the growl- plexion and great white teeth, came ing and menaces of popular revolt, in and sate by the Norman's side ; these the long bitterness with which they were franklins like the one whom Chau. continually recalled their ancient liber- cer describes : ty, in the favor with which they cherished the daring and rebellion of out
“ A Frankelein was in this compagnie;
White was his berd, as is the dayerie. laws. There were Saxon families at
Of his complexion he was sanguin, the end of the twelfth century, who had Wel loved he by the morwe a sop in viu. bound themselves by a perpetual vow,
To liven in delit was ever his wone, to wear long beards from father to son
For he was Epicures owen sone,
That held opinion that plein delis in memory of the national custom and
Was veraily felicite parfite. of the old country. Such men, even An housholder, and that a grete was 54 though fallen to the condition of soca
Seint Julian he was in his contree. gers, even sunk into villeins, had a
His brede, his ale, was alway after 00 ;
A better envyned man was no wher 103. stiffer neck than the wretched colonists
Withouten bake mete never was his hcae of the Continent, trodden down and Of fish and flesh, and that so plenteous,
It snewed in his hous of mete and drinks According to Ailred (temp. Hen. II.), “ a Of all deintees that men coud of thinke ; king, many bishops and abbots, many great After the sondry sesons of the yere, earls and noble knights descended both from So changed he his mete and his soupere. English and Norman blod, constituted a sup- Ful many a far partrich had he in mewe, port to the
one and an honor to the other." And many a breme, and many a luce in storite At p.esent," says another author of the same
Wo was his coke but it his sauce were period, " as the English and Normans dwell Poinant and sharpe, and redy all his gert. togetber, and have constantly intermarried, the His table, dormant in his halle alway Iwo nations are so completely ningled together, Stode redy covered alle the longe day. that at least as regards freemen, one can scarce
At sessions ther was Le lord and cire. ly distinguish who is Norman and who English. Ful often time he was knight of the shira ... The villeins attached to the soil,” he says Agai, are alone of pure Saxon blood."
* Magna Charta, 1219.
An anelace and a gipciere all of silk, elect them.* They have now entered Heng at his girdle, white as morwe milk.
upon public life, and the advent of a A shereve hadde he ben, and a contour. Was no wher swiche a worthy vavasour." *
new reinforcement gives them a per
petual standing in their changed posiWith him occasionally in the as- tion. The towns laid waste by the Con sembly, oftenest among the audience, quest are gradually repeopled. These were the yeomen, farmers, foresters, obtain or exact charters; the towing Tadesmen, his fellow-countrymen, mus- men buy themselves out of the arbi cular and resolute men, not slow in trary taxes that were imposed on them, he defence of their property, and in they get possession of the land on whice rapporting him who would take their their houses are built ; they unite them cause in hand, with voice, fist, and selves under mayors and aldermer weapons. Is it likely that the discon- Each town now within the meshes of the tent of such men, to whom the follow- great feudal net, is a power. The Earl ing description applies, could be over- of Leicester, rebelling against the king, looked ?
summons two burgesses from each The Miller was a stout carl for the nones,
town to Parliament, t to authorize and Ful bigge he was of braun and eke of bones ; support him. From that time the That proved wel, for over all ther he came, conquered race, both in country and At wrastling he wold bere away the ram. He was short shuldered brode, a thikke town, rose to political life. If they
were taxed, it was with their consent; gnarre, Ther n'as no dore, that he n'olde heve of they paid nothing which they did not barre,
agree to. Early in the fourteenth cenOr breke it at a renning with his hede.
tury their united deputies composed His berd as any sowe or fox was rede, And therto brode, as though it were a spade.
the House of Commons; and already Upon the cop right of his nose he hade at the close of the preceding century, A wert, and thereon stode a tufte of heres, the Archbishop of Canterbury, speak: Rede as the bristles of a sowes eres:
ing in the name of the king, said to His nose-thiries blacke were and wide. A swerd and bokeler bare he by his side.
the pope, “It is the custom of the His mouth as wide was as a forneis,
kingdom of England, that in all affairs He was a jangler and a goliardeis,
relating to the state of this kingdom, And that was most of sinne, and harlotries.
the advice of all who are interested in Wel coude he stelen corne and tollen thries, And yet he had a thomb of gold parde.
them should be taken." A white cote and a blew hode wered he. A baggepipe wel coude he blowe and soune,
VII. And therwithall he brought us out of toune." Those are the athletic forms, the because they have obtained them by
If they have acquired liberties, it is square build, the jolly John Bulls of force; circumstances have assisted, but the period, such as we yet find them, character has done more. The protecnourished by meat and porter, sus- tion of the great barons and the alliance ained by bodily exercise and boxing of the plain knights have strengthened These are the men we must keep be- them; but it was by their native rough. fore us, if we will understand how
ness and energy that they mairuted political liberty has been established their independence. Look at the con in this country: Gradually they find trast they offer at this moment to their the simple knights, their colleagues in neighbors. What occupies the mind of the county court, too poor to be pres; the French people? The fabliaux, the ent with the great barons at the royal naughty tricks of Reynard, the art of assemblies, coalescing, with them. deceiving Master Isengrin, of stealing They become united by community his wife, of cheating him out of his din: of interests, by similarity of manners, ner, of getting him beaten by a third by nearness of condition; they take party without danger to one's self; in them for their representatives, they short, the triumph of poverty and clever. • Chaucer's Works, ed. Sir H. Nicholas, 6
ness over power united to folly. ter, 1845, Pro-agus to the Canterbury Tales, * From 1214, and also in 1925 and to ra D. 11, 1. 333.
Guizot, Origin of the Representative Commo Prologue to the Canterbury Taks, č. p. in England, pp. 297-392 1%6. 147.
popular hero is already the artful ple- | draw his bow before the sheriff's eyes beian, chaffing, light-hearted, who later and to his face; ready with blows on, will ripen into Panurge and Figaro, whether to give or take. He slew not apt to withstand you to your face, fourteen out of fifteen foresters who too sharp to care for great victories came to arrest him; he slays the sher. and habits of strife, inclined by the iff
, the judge, the town gatekeeper; he nimbleness of his wit to dodge round is ready to slay as many more as like an obstacle ; if he but touch a man to come; and all this joyously, jovially with the tip of his finger, that man like an honest fellow who eats well tumbles into the trap. But bere we has a hard skin, lives in the open air, have other customs: it is Robin Hood, and revels in animal life. a i aliant outlaw, living free and bold in the green forest, waging frank and “ In somer when the shawes be sheyne,
And leves be large and long, open war against sheriff and law.* If
Hit is fulle mery in feyre foreste ever a man was popular in his country, To here the foulys song." it was he.
* It is he,” says an old historian, “ whom the common people That is how many ballads begin; and love so dearly to celebrate in games the fine weather, which makes the stags and comedies, and whose history, sung and oxen butt with their horns, inspires by fiddlers, interests them more than them with the thought of exchanging any other.". In the sixteenth century blows with sword or stick. Robin he still had his commemoration day, dreamed that two yeomen were thrashobserved by all the people in the small ing him, and he wants to go and find towns and in the country. Bishop them, angrily repelling Little John, who Latimer, making his pastoral tour, an offers to go first: nounced one day that he would preach
“ Ah John, by me thou settest noe store in a certain place. On the morrow, And that I farley finde : proceeding to the church, he found the How offt send I my men before, doors closed, and waited more than an And tarry myselfe behinde? hour before they brought him the key. “ It is no cunnin a knave to ken, At last a man came and said to him, An a man but heare him speake ; Syr, thys ys a busye day with us ; we
And it were not for bursting of my love, cannot heare you : it is Robyn Hoodes
John, I thy head wold breake." *. Daye. The parishe are gone abrode He goes alone, and meets the roburi to gather for Robyn Hoode. ... I was yoeman, Guy of Gisborne: fayne there to geve place to Robyn
“ He Hoode.” † The bishop was obliged to
had neyther beene kythe nor kin,
Might have seen a full fayre fight, divest himself of his ecclesiastical gar- To see how together these yeomen wert ments and proceed on his journey,
With blades both browne and bright, leaving his place to archers dressed in “ To see how these yeomen together they green, who played on a rustic stage the fought parts of Robin Hood, Little John, and
Two howres of a summer's day ;
Yett neither Robin Hood nor sir Guy their band. In fact, he was the nation- Them fettled to flye away." al hero. Saxon in the first place, and waging war against the men of law, You see Guy the yeoman is as bravo against bishops and archbishops, whose as Robin Hood; he came to seek hin sway was so heavy; generous, more in the wood, and drew the bow almost over, giving to a poor ruined knight as well as he. This old popular poetry dothes, horse, and money to buy back is not the praise of a single bandit, but the land he had piedged to a rapacious of an entire class, the yeomanry. “God ábbot ; compassionate too, and kind to haffe mersey on Robin Hodys solle,
That is the poor, enjoining his men not to and saffe all god yemanry. injure yeomen and laborers ; but above how many ballads end. The brave all rash, bold, proud, who would go and yeoman, inured to blows, a good archer,
clever at sword and stick, is the favor * Aug. Thierry, iv. 56. Ritson's Robinite. There were also redoubtablo Hood, 1832.
† Latimer s Sermons, ed. Arber, 6th Sermon, * Ritson, Robin Hood Ballads, i. iv. v. 41-4 1869, p. 178
1 Ibid. u. 145-152.
armed townsfolk, accustomed to make " Who are you, then ?” says
Robin : ase of their arms. Here they are at
"I am a tanner,' bold Arthur reply'd, work:
• In Nottinghamn long I have wrought;
And if thou'st come there, I vow and swear * O that were a shame,' said jolly Robin, I will tan thy hide for nought.'
We being three, and thou but one,
“. God a mercy, good fellow,' said jolly Robin foot,
Since thou art so kind and free ; 'Twas thirty good foot and one.
And if thou wilt tan my hide for nought
I will do as much for thee.' " *
With these generous offers, they en And there he fought a long summer's day, brace; a free exchange of honest blows
J A summer's day so long;
always prepares the way for friendship 'Till that their swords on their broad bucklers It was so Robin Hood tried Little Were broke fast into their hands.”+
John, whom he loved all his life after
Little John was seven feet high, and Often even Robin does not get the ad- being on a bridge, would not give way vantage :
Honest Robin could not use his bow " ' I pass not for length,' bold Arthur reply'd, against him, but went and cut a stick My staff is of oke so free ;
seven feet long; and they agreed ami. Eight foot and a half, it will knock down a cably to fight on the bridge until one calf,
should fall into the water. They fall And I hope it will knock down thee.'
to so merrily that “ their bones ring." Then Robin could no longer forbear,
In the end Robin falls, and he feels He gave him such a knock,
only the more respect for Little John. Quickly and soon the blood came down Another time, having a sword with him, Before it was ten a clock.
he was thrashed by a tinker who had • Then Arthur he soon recovered himself, only a stick. Full of admiration, he
And gave him such a knock on the crown, gives him a hundred pounds. Again
fused him toll; then by a shepherd.
They fight to wile away time. Even Then Robin raged like a wild boar,
nowadays boxers give each other a As soon as he saw his own blood :
friendly grip before setting to ; they Then Bland was in hast, he laid on so fast, As though he had been cleaving of wool.
knock one another about in this country
honorab's without malice, fury, oi And about and about and about they went, shame. Broken teeth, black eyes,
Like two wild bores in a chase, Striving to aim each other to maim,
smashed ribs, do not call for murderous Leg, arm, or any other place.
vengeance : it would seem that the
bones are more solid and the nerves And knock for knock they lustily dealt, less sensitive in England than else
Which held for two hours and more, Till all the wood rang at every bang,
where. Blows once exchanged, they They ply'd their work so sore.
take each other by the hand, and dance
together on the green grass ; "Hold thy hand, hold thy hand,' said Robin .) Hood,
" Then Robin took them both by the hands, And let thy quarrel fall ;
And danc'd round about the oke tree. For here wa may thrash our bones all to For three merry men, and three merry men mesh,
And three merry men we be.'”
Moreover, these people, in each parish,
practised the bow every Sunday, and • God a mercy for nought, my freedom I were the best archers in the world, bought,
from the close of the fourteenth cena I may thank my staff, and not thee.'” I
tury the general emanı ipation of the
villeins multiplied their number great- pinder's task was to pin the sheep in the ly, and you can now understand how, fold, cattle in the pen-fold or pound (Richard- amidst all the operations and changes non). --Tr.
of the great central powers, the liberty Ritson, ü. 3, v. 1926. i Toid. 6 v. 58-89.
• Ibid. v. 94-101.
of the subject survived. After all, the the country, and fought with those who only permanent and unalterable guar- came to seize them. The inhabitants antee, in every country and under every of the towns were obliged to gathes constitution, is this unspoken declara- together with those of the reighboring tion in the heart of the mass of the towns, with hue and cry, to pursue and people, which is well understood on all capture them. Under Edward III. sides : " If any man touches my prop- there were barons who rode abou erty, enters my house, obstructs or with armed escorts and archers, seiz. molests me, let him beware. I have ing the manors, carrying off ladies patience, but I have also strong arms, and girls of high degree, mutilatino, God comrades, a good blade, and, on killing, extorting ransoms from people occasion, a firm resolve, happen what in their own houses, as if they were in may, to plunge my blade up to its hilt an enemy's land, and sometimes como in his throat.
ing before the judges at the sessions
in such guise and in so great force VII.
that the judges were afraid and dared
not administer justice* Thus thought Sir John Fortescue, letters of the Paston family, under
Read the Chancellor of England under Henry Henry VI. and Edward IV., and you VI., exiled in France during the Wars will see how private war was at every of the Roses, one of the oldest prose- door, how it was necessary for a man writers, and the first who weighed and
to provide himself with men and arms, explained the constitution of his
to be on the alert for defence of his country.* He says :
property, to be self-reliant, to depend “It is cowardise and lack of hartes and
on his own strength and courage. It corage that kepeth the Frenchmen from rys- is this excess of vigor and readiness to yng, and not povertye ; t which corage no fight which, after their victories in Frenche man hath like to the English man. France, set them against one another It hath ben often seen in Englond that iij or iv hefes, for povertie, hath sett upon vij or viij in England, in the butcheries of the sue men, and robbyd them al. But it hath not Wars of the Roses.
The strangers ten seen in Fraunce, that vij or viij thefes have who saw them were astonished at their Sen hardy to robbe iij or iv true men, Wherfor bodily strength and courage, at the It is right seld that Frenchmen be hangyd for robberye, for that they have no hertys to do so great pieces of beef "which fed their terryble an acte. There be therfor mo men muscles, at their military habits, their hangyd in Englond, in a yere, for robberye and fierce obstinacy, as of savage boasts.” † manslaughter, than ther be hangid, in Fraunce They are like their bulldogs, an un for such cause of crime in vij yers." I
tamable race, who in their mad cour. This throws a startling and terrible light age “cast themselves with shut eyes on the violent condition of this armed into the den of a Russian bear, and community, where sudden attacks are get their head broken like a rotten an every-day matter, and every one, ich apple.” This strange condition of a and poor, lives with his hand on his militant community, so full of danger, sword. There were great oands of male and requiring so much effort, does not factors under Edward I., who infested make them afraid. King Edward * The Difference between an Absolute and
having given orders to send disturberg Limited Monarchy -A learned Commenda of the peace to prison without legal tion of the Politic Laws of England (Latin) proceedings, and not to liberate them I frequently quote from the second work, which on bail or otherwise, the Commons is more full and complete.
+ The courage which finds utterance here is declared the order "horribly vex coarse; the Erglish instincts are combative atious ; ” resist it, refuse to be too much and independent. The French race, and the protected. Less peace, but more inde vaals generally are perhaps the most reckless pendence. They maintain the guar: of life of any. * The Difference, etc., 3d ed. 1724, ch. xiii.
antees of the subject at the expense of There are nowadays in France 42 * Statute of Winchester, 1285; Ordinance of highway robberies as against 738 in England. 1378. In 1843, there were in England four times as | Benvenuto Cellini, quoted by Froade, i. 30 many accusations of crires and offences as in Hist. of EnglandShakspeare, Henry V.: France, having regard to the number of inhabi- conversation of French lords before the battis mants (Mareas de yonnès).