ページの画像
PDF
ePub

sing mass, with a dalmatic like a tunic, and a stole about his neck" (the latter, as some learned antiquaries affirm, " in imitation of that the high priests had, which they laid on the back of the sacrifice when they ledd it to the alter";) and that every order of bishop, priest, and deacon, is represented in one part or other of his sacred vestments-what mortal canst thou suppose to have miracles attend his steps if this be not He? According to our most respectable chroniclers, one prodigy of this kind furnishes him with a substantial regal seat or coronationchair; another with the form and manner, at least, of his anointing, if not with the identical vessel through which the sacred unction is poured; while a third supplies "the wedding-ring of England" with which he is married-symbolically, to the state. As thus writeth Peter Langtoft

"To William the rede king
Is gyven the coroun,
At Westmynstere tok he
In the abbay of Londoun."

ryng

An Irish monarch, we are told, of very credible name, Simon Brech, brought from Spain the marble seat of that which will now be the chair of the United Kingdom, (and no longer the “England's chair" of Shakspeare, merely,) about 700 years before the Christian era; having received it from a Greek, as Holinshed say's, "the sonne of Cecrops, who builded the citie of Athens," and who was contemporary with Moses. It is the identical stone, it is added, on which Jacob originally slept and "poured oil," at Bethel; although it escaped the patriarch himself on his second visit to that place, and he seems to have consecrated another. We are quite sure that the identity and transmission of this stone must be allowed to involve a series of miracles, equal to any that were wrought at the shrine of St. Thomas à Becket, who is deeply connected, however, with the next in order. The martyr, we know, was for a while sent into banishment by the sacrilegious prince who afterwards instigated his murder. Here, at Sens in France, the blessed Virgin is said to have appeared to him, while at his devotions, and to have presented him with a golden eagle and a small vial of stone or glass; assuring him of the happy effects which would be produced upon those kings that should be anointed with the oil it contained. These vessels were afterwards brought to England, and deposited in the Tower, Henry IV. being the first prince who was anointed with them. Happily, when the regicides destroyed the regalia there deposited, in the great rebellion, they left an inventory of what, "accordinge to order of

• See Mr. Taylor's learned "Glory of Regality," p. 81.

† Buck's "Richard III."

Compare Gen. 29. 18, with Gen. 35. 14.

VOL. II. No. 7.-1821.

N

parliament," were "totallie broken and defaced," in which the sacred eagle is not included-only, " a dove of gould, sett with stones and pearle, in a box sett with studds of silver gilt,' valued at 261. We fear the sacred oil of King Clovis has not been less irreverently treated by the regicides of the French Revolution-although, according to Menin, the Holy Spirit itself, "in the visible form of a dove," brought it to the hands of the minister; and it remained ever after undiminished, though constantly used in the anointing of the French kings, for 900 years. The ring of "faith" and "kingly dignity" was received from St. John the Evangelist, says the Golden Legende (Julyan Notary, 1503), through the hands of Edward the Confessor. A certain "fayre old man" asking alms of the king, he presented him with a ring, which he received with great thankfulness. Shortly after two English pilgrims lost their way in the Holy Land, when "there came to them a fayr ancient man wyth whyte heer for age. Thenne the olde man axed theym what they were and of what regyon. And they answerde that they were pylgryms of Englond, and hadde lost theyr fellyshyp and way also. Thenne thys olde man comforted theym goodly, and brought theym in to a fayre cytee; and whanne they had well refreshyd theym, and rested there alle nyhte, on the morne, this fayre olde man wente with theym, and broughte theym in the ryght waye agayne. And he was gladde to here theym talke of the welfare and holynesse of theyr kynge Saynt Edward. And whan he shold departe fro theym, thenne he tolde theym what he was, and sayd, I am Johan the Evangelyst, and saye ye vnto Edward your kyng that I grete hym well by the token that he gatt to me, thys rynge, with hys one hondes."-Neither again, reader, is this or any other ring among "all the plate and jewells" destroyed by the regicides.

If from miracles we should descend to trace the history of the regalia, we should find amongst them some very interesting memorials of the monarchy, and of the manners and policy of our ancestors. The Fatal Stone is unquestionably a relic of remote antiquity. It is called by one learned person, "the antientest respected monument in the world, for though some others may be more antient as to duration, yet thus superstitiously regarded they are not;" and may be traced, after the best authorities, to Ireland, from whence it had been brought into

That this story was current in the reign of Henry III. would appear evident from Pennant and Stow. By the former we are told, "Within the tower is a very ancient chapel dedicated to St. John. That patron of the arts, Henry III., gave directions about the ornamenting of this chapel; among other things Depingi faciatis patibulum et trabem ultra altare ejusdem capel' bene et bonis coloribus; et fieri faciatis et depingi duas ymagines pulchras, ubi melius et decentius fieri possint in eadem capel', unam de sancto Edwardo tenente annulum, et donante et tendente s'cto Johan' Evangeliste," &c. London, p. 242.

Toland's "History of the Druids," p. 104.

Argyleshire some time before the reign of Kenneth, or A.D.834. That prince removed it to the abbey of Scone, where all the Scottish kings were crowned upon it until the year 1296, when Our Edward I. brought it into England. An Irish prophecy is still extant, and quoted by Mr. Taylor, which declares the possession of this stone necessary to the preservation of the regal power of that country; and the Scottish prediction of similar import is well known.* It is remarkable that George IV. in ascending the throne of the United Kingdom, and as having outlived the Stuart family, will combine more various and undisputed pretensions to the possession of this royal seat than any of his predecessors. The antiquary will connect it with the rude enthronement of the Celtic, and northern nations. At or near a consecrated stone, we know also from Scripture that it was an ancient Eastern custom to declare and appoint kings. This furnished a ready method of setting the chieftain "up on high;" it marked the place of popular convention,† at which it generally remained; and sometimes we find the royal seat surrounded with a circle of other and less elevated stones, on which the attending nobles were placed. Here also, afterwards, public justice was frequently administered.

“ Εκ δ' ελθων, κατ' αρ' εξετ' επιξεστοισι λίθοισιν
Οιοι εσαν προπαροιθε θυράων υψηλαίων,
Λευκοί, αποστιλβοντες αλειφατος· οις επι μεν πριν
Νηλεύς ιζεσκεν, θεοφιν μηστωρ, αταλαντος.99

"The old man early rose, walk'd forth, and sate
On polish'd stone, before his palace gate;
With unguent smooth the lucid marble shone,
Where ancient Neleus sate, a rustic throne."

* Thus given in Camden's " Perthshire,”–

HOм. Odyss. г. v. 406–10.

There is an amusing account of the inauguration of the ancient Dukes of Carinthia, in the Histoire des Inaugurations of the Kings of France, which we give (in the translation of Mr. Taylor) as presenting a bold picture of some of the vital parts of our own ceremony. "Near the city of Saint Veit is a plain, where the vestiges of a former town are still to be seen; and in a meadow just by, a large stone, raised about two cubits from the ground. On this stone was placed a peasant, who enjoyed, by descent, the right of presiding at the inauguration of the dukes, having near him, on his right hand, a black cow with a calf, and, on his left, a lean and hungry mare; the people of

POPE.

"Or fate is blind, or Scots shall find,
Where'er this stone, a royal throne."

The hill on which the King of Man was crowned, is still called Tinwaldhill, signifying the place of convention.-Johnson's "Celto-Norm. Antiquities."

6

'

C

St. Veit, and a crowd of peasants, being assembled around him. The duke, in a countryman's bonnet and shoes, with a shepherd's crook in his hand, drew near to the assembly, accompanied by the senators clad in scarlet, and the great officers bearing their insignia. The man upon the stone seeing the train come nigh, cried out, Who is this, that comes with such magnificence? The people answered, It is the prince of the country. Is he a just judge?' replied the peasant; Doth he seek the welfare of the state? Is he of free condition, worthy of honour, obedient to the laws, and a defender of the Christian religion? They cried, he is, and he will be such.' The peasant then demanded by what right he would remove him from his seat? To which the master of the duke's court replied, This place is bought for sixty deniers; these beasts are thine, thou shalt be clothed in the garments which the duke will take off, and thy house shall be free, and exempt from tribute.' The peasant then quitted the stone, giving the duke an admonition to do justice, and the prince placed himself upon it, brandishing a naked sword, and promising the people equity.'

"

""

At the coronation of our kings in modern times, the Fatal Stone has been entirely covered by the trappings that have been meant to adorn it. We look to the present conductor of that ceremony for a little better taste in this respect.

None of the other appendages of English royalty have any claim to antiquity; but the changing fashion of them is on record, and has varied in no other instance more than in the form of the crown,

"The high imperial type of this earth's glory."

Selden discusses its regular growth, horizontal, perpendicular and transverse, from the fillet "given on absolutely good authority to the kings of Pontus, Armenia, and others," and the tying on of which "was the chief part of the inauguration," to the diadem of gold and stones adopted by Constantine, as he says, from "the fashion of the kings of the Jews." Even now, however, it was only a diadem, or fillet of gold and precious stones; it afterward "went from eare to eare," and, at length, "over a gold helm on a cap." Our Anglo-Saxon kings are represented as wearing only a fillet of pearls, or a radiated diadem; on the coins of Ethelred and Ælfred a crescent is added in front. But the still more remarkable addition of "two little bells" is given to a crown called King Alfred's, in the inventory of 1642, before quoted; and there seems good reason to conjecture that the name was correctly bestowed.* We should like to see what a Sir John Ferne would have made of "the mani

See Taylor, pp. 94, 5.

fold significations" of these expressive ornaments of royalty. Not one of the twelve principal gems of the crown is without its due "exposition," it seems. The crown of William I. and II. has an addition that might have been worn with more propriety by some of their successors, and provokingly reminding one of the fable of the "Ass in the Lion's skin,"-" a cap, or helm, adorned with points, and with labels hanging at each ear." The Plantagenets wore a diadem ornamented with fleurs de lis, or strawberry leaves; Richard III. or Henry VII. introduced the crosses; and, at about the same period, the arches were thrown over the head of the crown, the first use of them being ascribed to Edward IV., while they first appear on the coins of Henry VII. From this period, little deviation occurs in the form of the crown, except that of the elevation or depression of the arches. When, on the Restoration of the Monarchy, the people having been "reduced to their reason and vnderstanding," Charles II. issued a commission for the "remakeing such royall ornaments and regalia” as are now in use," the old names and fashion" were directed to be carefully sought after and retained;* but upon what ground the national crown, with which the act of coronation was and is still performed, is denominated St. EDWARD's, the reader must now judge for himself, There is a second crown, used at the feast of the coronation, and on other state occasions, which is of far superior workmanship and value, and which has recently, we understand, been entirely remodelled.

The king has a sceptre for each hand, a circumstance that considerably detracts from the energy of the royal figure when he is enthroned, and in which, according to the addresses of the archbishop, there seems to be no great signification. We shall be happy, therefore, to see his Majesty deprived of one of them, as he will be in the procession from the abbey.

The orb, surmounted by a cross, may be taken for a prophecy of the Millenium, and, generally, as a symbol of the prophetic power of our kings; it having been borne before them as an emblem of imperial sway long prior to the discovery of the globular shape of the earth!

Mr. Taylor cannot seriously furnish us with the origin of the name Curtana, which is given to the principal sword of state on this occasion. We suggest the Latin curto. Monarchs frequently cut justice short, both in mercy and from less amiable impulses; and it is remarkable that this sword is pointless. The sword of justice to the spirituality is rather "obtuse" at the point, we are told; while that of justice to the temporality is

* Sir Edward Walker's Account of "The Preparations for His Majesty's Coronation, &c." Large 8vo. London, first printed in 1820.

« 前へ次へ »