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“he lamented while himselfe did live,” having left nothing undone that affection and grief could suggest to do honour to her manes, sunk from a state of restless and active affliction to one of the most profound and morbid melancholy. Accustomed for years to the fond companionship, the soothing attentions, the wise counsels, and the ready sympathy of the most faultless of wives, he pined in his lonely wretchedness; and though actively engaged in the commencement of that war with Scotland, which with little intermission occupied the remaining years of his reign, not all the cares and unceasing anxieties attendant upon his position could drive from his heart the brooding sorrow that preyed upon him, until at last, unable longer to endure this state of solitary woe, he turned to the resource so frequently adopted alike by those who seek to repair a cruel loss, or to indemnify themselves for past annoyances in the matrimonial state, by the possession of an object which they anticipate will secure their future felicity in that condition.
Edward, therefore, began at last to turn his thoughts towards a second alliance, and hearing much of the charms of Blanche, daughter of Philippe le Hardi, the late, and sister of Philippe le Bel, the present king of France, he sent ambassadors to ascertain whether the reputation she had acquired was merited, and, such being the case, to treat for her hand. The reports of her exquisite beauty being so fully confirmed by those deputed to judge the point, that she was pronounced to be faultlessly lovely,
“ Creature fairer none might be,”— Edward became so enamoured of her yet unseen perfections, that he entered upon the terms for the marriage with a haste and want of caution greatly out of keeping with his usual wise and thoughtful mode of proceeding.
Philippe le Bel, crafty and unprincipled, resolved to take advantage of his intended brother-in-law's anxiety to
Piery of Langtoft.
complete the match, and declared that before he would consent, Edward must settle the duchy of Guienne on any son he might have by Blanche, after which it was to descend to the heirs of this son, finally reverting to England in the event of a failure of issue in that line. To this the king agreed, and surrendered the duchy to Philip according to the forms of feudal tenure, which demanded that the French king should be put in seisin of the province for the term of forty days to enable him to make a new feoffment of it to Edward, to be held by him during his life, afterwards descending to his posterity as stated above. But independent of the charms of Blanche, Edward had another reason for desiring the match-his wish to be at peace with France. Edward and Philip had been at issue since the preceding year, owing originally to a quarrel between an English and a Norman sailor, who meeting at a well at Bayonne, disputed about their precedence in drawing water, and coming to blows, the Norman drew a dagger, which the Englishman endeavouring to wrest from him, a struggle ensued, wherein the Norman fell upon his own weapon and was killed on the spot. This had given rise to a series of contentions which were encouraged by Philip; and although the most reasonable terms that were consistent with his dignity had been offered by Edward for a reconciliation, he long refused to listen to them. At length, after much parley, a treaty was entered into by Edmund earl of Lancaster, brother to Edward, who, having married Blanche, queen of Navarre, mother to Jeanne, the consort of Philip, was in a position to treat between the two monarchs; his endeavours were seconded by these two queens, and also by Queen Marie, widow of Philippe le Hardi; and the affair terminated, as we perceive, by the arrangements for the marriage of Edward and Blanche, leading to the treacherous retention of Guienne by Philip. But this was not enough ; for in the treaty the name of the beautiful Blanche was erased, and that of her younger sister Marguerite,- a mere child, of whose charms but little account is given,- substituted.
The cause of this second act of bad faith seems to have been, that Philip saw a prospect of his lovely sister's becoming Empress of Austria, by a marriage with Rodolphe, eldest son of the emperor, Albert I., to whom she was betrothed in 1299. Six years afterwards she died, leaving a reputation which leads us to infer that she would have been infinitely less calculated to ensure Edward's domestic felicity than the gentle and unpretending Marguerite.
A fierce war was the inevitable result of these shameless acts of injustice and treachery; and when Edward had with much trouble and at a vast expense raised an army, and bought, or otherwise obtained, the assistance of various princes, to regain his territory of Guienne, he was suddenly compelled to turn his attention to Wales, where an insurrection, which soon became general, now commenced. This rebellion, which broke out in July 1294, was not qnelled till the July of the following year; thus Edward was compelled during that time to carry on two wars together, he himself beading his forces in Wales, while his nephew Jolin de Bretagne, earl of Richmond, John de St. John, and other experienced officers, commanded the forces sent against Philip.
Two years later the war in Scotland called him thither. John Baliol, to whom Edward had awarded the Scottish throne, and who had done homage to him as his superior, taking advantage of the position of England, entered into a secret treaty with France, which Edward discovering, he marched against him with a powerful army to Newcastle
In most of our authorities, this fact is not stated, the name of Marguerite alone being mentioned as the intended spouse of Edward, but Piers of Langtoft affirms that Blanche was the first betrothed to him, and as he was a contem. porary and gives many details that form strong circumstantial evidence, we can hardly admit a doubt of the fact.