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But see, the man who spacious regions gave
A beast or subject slain were equal crimes. This alludes to the circumstance, that William's subjects were forbidden to kill wild animals which should be found in the New Forest; and that the punishment which the law inflicted upon him who took the life of a man, was no greater than that, to which he who should kill a hare or a rabbit, was liable.
Stretch'd on the lawn his second hope survey, &c. The sons of William I. were peculiarly unfortunate. William Rufus, who succeeded his father, was accidentally killed in the New Forest; and Robert, the eldest son, was deprived of the Duchy of Normandy by his brother Henry I. This cruel brother afterwards caused Robert's eyes to be put out, and kept him a prisoner at Cardiff castle in Wales twenty years.
THE CRUSADES. The crusades were religious wars. After his death, the Romans were masters of Jerusalem, and of the whole country which had been the scene of the life and labours of Jesus. Near the middle of the fourth century, the Roman Empire became partially Christian, and Helena, the mother of Constantine, took upon herself to identify the very spot at Jerusalem where the Lord lay," and also to erect churches and other monuments on the places consecrated by his living actions. After the erection of these edifices, and the establishment of convents in the Holy Land, as Palestine began to be called, religious persons from different and distant countries of Europe thought it a duty to make journeys thither, in order to visit the shrines or sacred buildings, which had been raised in honour of Christ. These pious travellers were called Pilgrims, and their journey was a Pilgrimage.
The pilgrims chiefly begged their way through the countries over which they travelled, and were regarded with universal respect by all Christians. They usually dressed in a plain garb, carried a scrip, or bag for their food, and sustained themselves upon a staff surmounted by a cross, and had fastened to the front of their hats a scallop shell. When they returned from the Holy Land they frequently brought with them a branch of palm,'a tree of that country, whence they were called Palmers.
Spenser describes a Palmer thus:
"A silly man in simple weeds foreworn,
His weary limbs upon; and eke behind
Faery Queen, Book I. Canto 6.
is among the principles of their religion; and the Sa. racens took every opportunity, by the abuse of its zealous professors, the Pilgrims, to show their contempt for the religion of Christ. These deluded men suffered all manner of indignities from the Mahommedans, but at length princes, nobles, and all classes of fanatics in Europe, thought it their duty to leave their homes, and their 'nearer obligations, in order to punish the Infidels, for their cruelties to the Pilgrims, and to tear from their sacrilegious hands the holy places. .
Vast armies were fitted out by different princes, and from A. D. 1097 to A. D. 1248, about one hundred and fifty years, four different Crusades were undertaken. More than two millions of men, from England and southern Europe, are supposed to have marched into Asia upon these expeditions, and the greater number lost their lives. These wars were called Crusades, from the circumstance that a figure of the cross was a badge of these warriorsit was painted upon their banners, engraved on their shields, and embroidered in their garments.
RICHARD CEUR DE LION. The most distinguished of those saints-errant who led the Crusades, was Richard I. King of England, called Cour de Lion, or the lion-hearted, because of his fearless and warlike disposition. Richard embarked in the third of these expeditions, A. D. 1190: Dr. Warton has celebrated his voyage to the Holy Land in the subjoined ode. It is an animated and interesting picture.
** Syrian virgins, wail and weep, English Richard ploughs the deep! Tremble, watchmen, as ye spy, Froin distant towers, with anxious eye, The radiant range of shield and lance Down Damascus' hills advance : From Sion's turrets as afar Ye ken the march of Europe's war! Saladin, thou paynim king, From Albion's isle revenge we bring! On Acon's spiry citadel, Though to the gale thy banners swell, Pictur'd with the silver moon; England shall end thy glory soon! In vain, to break our firm array, Thy brazen drums hoarse discord bray : Those sounds our rising fury fan: English Richard in the van, On to victory we go, A vaunting infidel the foe."
Blondel led the tuneful band, And swept the wire with glowing hand. Cyprus, from her rocky mound, And Crete, with piny verdure crown’d, Far along the smiling main Echo'd the prophetic strain.
Soon we kiss'd the sacred earth That gave a murder'd Saviour birth; Then, with ardour fresh endu’d, Thus the solemn song renew'd: “ Lo, the toilsome voyage past, Heav'n's favour'd hills appear at last! Object of our holy vow, We tread the Tyrian valleys now. From Carmel's almon-shaded steep We feel the cheering fragrance creep : O'er Engaddi's shrubs of balm Waves the date-empurpled palm.
See Lebanon's aspiring head,
Proud Saracen, pollute no more