Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

“ To take these dogs unto the Seigneur of Bearn—was't not ?"

“ Tut, tut-not a jot on't. Her Grace sent me not for that purpose— 'twas quite a different matter; and 'twas his Grace the King who took advantage of my coming, to give the dogs into my charge.”

Truly then, I know not, nor guess, her Grace's object.”

“ I will relate the story then, that you may judge how great and gracious a Lady, Queen Philippa is."

CHAPTER XXII.

“ You know that, being in England, I was promoted to be chaplain to her Grace; well, I oft employed my leisure time in celebrating, well as in my poor power lay, the charms of my mistress, whom I had left behind, in verse; assuaging thus, in some degree, the anguish which I suffered in reflecting on her espousals with my rival.

“ One of these pieces--it was a rondel-the subject, my departure ; but stay, methinksay, yes, indeed, behold !-here it is. Take it'tis somewhat soiled I see; but—or stay, best let me read it to you.” He then unfolded the paper and read the following rondel, which,

together with some some other poetry, has been preserved with the rest of his works :

“ Le corps s'en va, mais le cour vous demeure ;

Très chère Dame, adieu jusqu'au retour,
Trop me sera lontaine ma demeure.
Le corps s'en va, mais le cœur vous demeure ;
Très chère Dame, adieu jusqu'au retour.
Mais doux pensez que j'aurai à tout heure,
Adoucera grant part de ma douleur.
Très chère Dame, adieu jusqu'au retour,
Le corps s'en va, mais le cour vous demeure."

“ Well,” he continued, having finished the paper, folded it up, and replaced it with some others—“I ask you not to praise my verses,though, by the bye, a little flattery seldom comes amiss to us poets; we are a vain set, I can tell you! But, as I was saying, I once ventured to present them to her Grace, and telling her they were verses made for mere pastime and through idleness, I took leave to enquire how she thought of them. Her Grace took, and reading them over, looked at me and smiled, and said

“I fear me, Messire Froissart, you are a false knight, and have not spoken truth; for how will you pretend to tell me that you penned these for pastime, when I, by reading them, can plainly find, that you have left some fair damsel, some bonnibel, in Hainault, whose loss you deplore, and who, perchance, grieveth still more for the loss of you."

“I know not why, but I was silly enough to feel abashed at these her Grace's words, and with much confusion attempted to deny the charge, but she would not listen to me, and said, I spoke as a false disloyal knight, and that she would have me punished for a traitor, and guard the rondel in her keeping, till such time as she should cite me into court, and bring it up in evidence against me. At that moment King Edward entering, drew her Grace from out of the chamber, so that she could talk with me no more at that season.

“ It might have been about eight or ten days from this time, the Court being then at Windsor, that I was lying 'neath a canopy without the palace, apart from the wassailers, who had been making merry at the board, and were just then calling for the minstrels : when I beheld the Queen, accompanied by some others, and 'midst them the King himself, approaching me.

I arose to salute them, but they not noted it,and her Grace, seating herself with much solemnity, addressed the others who stood around, encompassing me about,

"Brave Seigneurs and beauteous Dames, . I need not tell you of the commission delegated to me by our Sovereign, in this English realm of Cupid. He hath ordained, that the griefs of lovers shall be subject to my decision, and that from my judgments there shall be no appeal. He hath appointed me to reward the well-deserving, and to punish evil faytors, and such as be guilty of leze-feodalité to his sacred person.

««• Seigneurs and dames,' her Grace continued— I now cite to answer to us in this the court of Cupid, Jean Froissart-priest, canon, poet, historian, and lover-for the crime of leze-feodalité to his Lord and Sovereign Cupid, in as much as he hath most feloniously and traitorously quitted his own land of Hainault, and coming over to wonne in England, there left some dame or damsel, whose name appeareth not, to mourn over, and bewail his absence and

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »