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and dejected, determined to resume years, when the circumstances were their search early in the morning. nearly forgotten, a discovery was Nancy spent a sleepless night'; made, which promised to lead to the sometimes, in her waking dreams, detection of the wretches. she fancied she saw him strug. Not far from the place wbere gling in the Linn. Such suspense Edward's mangled corpse was found, was horrible ; she got up, and would there was a turf-dyke, or fence, have gone out to search for him her. which, in the lapse of years, had self, had she been permitted. Day fallen into decay. This it had been at length dawned, and with it the found necessary to repair, in the search recommenced. After traversing course of which the workmen found many miles, they came into a deep a ring, which was recognised as beplace of the forest, when the mangled longing to the unfortunate Edward. body of Edward met their sight; This caused a further search to be his clothes were covered with clotted made, when there were also found blood, which had issued from several several other trinkets belonging to wounds he had received in different Edward, wrapped up in a piece of parts of the body. His friends were linen, on the corner of which was horror-struck. Who could have been the name of a man who had hitherto the author of this diabolical deed ? not been even suspected of being caThey conveyed the body to the pable of committing such an act. nearest dwelling. When the sad He was taken before a magistrate, intelligence was conveyed to Nancy, when he confessed that he and several she swooned away. Long were their companions had murdered Edward attempts to recover her fruitless ; at in a paroxysm of rage, on his remonlength, however, she recovered, but strating with them on the cruelty of reason had fled. Steps were immee some of their sports. His companions diately taken to bring the murderers were apprehended, and on being to justice : all attempts to discover made acquainted with his confession, them at that time were, however, they also confessed, and received the unavailing. In the course of a few just retribution of their crime.
THE HILL OF THE MINSTRELS; AN ANCIENT LEGEND OF AUVERGNE AND
PROVENCE The love of traditionary lore I do indeed, who look with a cold eye not pretend to define, appearing, as upon her venerable aspect, and turn it does in different minds, under a deaf ear to her voice; whose bosons modifications so subtle and diversi swell not at a tale of other times, nor fied. But in all, I believe, it is die cherish the names of Auvergne, of rected and regulated by the opera- Languedoc, and of Provence. Yet in tions of the fancy. To many a poet these luxuriant and romantic lands and antiquary the fountains of tra. did Poetry choose her dwelling, when dition are sealed; nor are they to be a pilgrim and almost a stranger upon quaffed from a tombstone, a cathe earth. There did she erewhile te dral, or the relics of a saint. To pose from her wanderings, and thence the true lover of tradition, monastie send forth those legends, whose vaults and dungeons are a dreary sweet melody so well accords with abode; he delights to wander among the beauties of the land from whence the halls and chambers once devoted they spring. Alas! for the splento the festivities of life, which wito dour worthy " the golden harp with nessed the gallantries of knighthood, silver strings," with which the minand resounded to the harps of the strel gratified the high lords and laminstrel. There, the spirit of Anti- dies who listened to the inspiration quity captivates his imagination, of his song! directs it to whatever is beautiful, Among the mountains of the Ce splendid, or mysterious; and entices vennes, that separate Languedoc anal him to her hoary legends, from the Auvergne, there rises one more lofty pursuits of commoner and more use- solitary, and precipitous than the ul knowledge. There are some, rest. On one side it shelves gta dually down to a flourishing and fere regarded almost with superstitious tile plain, which presents a delicious veneration. The Free Companies contrast to the bold, rugged scenery had long desolated that portion of of the mountain land. In time past, France; and here the peasantry that hill, from the tradition which I pointed out the remains of their fora am about to record, was known in iresses, reared on the loftiest heights, the surrounding district by the name and defended by the most frightful of the Hill of the Minstrels ;" and precipices. Yet there was one reoften would the warrior or pilgrim, gion, the boundary of these preci, journeying to some distant shrine, pices, and of the regular and gentle cross himself on hearing that name, ascent, above all others distinguishand invoke his patron saint, wonder. ed in the lays and tales of the rustic ing that minstrels should ever have minstrelsy. There the mountain, unfolded their art in a place where dividing itself, formed a valley of mirth could never have resounded. considerable extent, inclosed by alSome listened to the tale that every most perpendicular rocks; and on peasant could give ;-others rode one side of these was a gate of Na. merrily along, though they did not ture's own handiwork, which, though soon forget the Hill of the Minstrels, rough and unseemly, opened into a even in the Plain of Germigny, that dell of irfinite beauty and grandeur. lay below it ; and he must have had The description that Gerald du Barri the music of melancholy, or the sae has given of the scenery around the vage poetry of Bertrand du Born, most famous monastery of Wales, incessantly thrilling through his soul, might, with some propriety, have who would not have been calm and been applied to this. Yet, as it was joyous there. The mountain-streams less extensive, so it had something now slumbered within their banks, more awful in its expression. In and now flowed onward in a reluc- ages long past, a Palmer from the tant but melodious current. The east, who had heard that the Gates myrtle, the asphodel, and rose of of the Caspian were haunted by trac Provence, increased the loveliness of ditionary spirits, related these marthat extended Glen, whose verdure vels to the inhabitants of the val. was so pure, and whose bowers were 'ley, and tales somewhat similar were so enchanting, to every loyal knight. soon related of the Gate of the MounThere, in an age of crime and of tain Glen. Some imagined that, contention, dwelt a tribe of primitive though beautiful, it was one of the and contented peasants, some of inlets to the invisible world ; and whom pursued the labours of agri- for this whimsical and incongruous culture; others tended their flocks notion many reasons were assigned. among those pastoral mountains; and Nor was this superstition diminished, all at times listened to the voice of when shepherds narrated, or rude song, which softened their labours, poet's sang, the fate of that Troyand gratified their repose. Such badour, who, after having traversed they seemed to the stranger, who, Spain, and examined the chronicles contrasting their valley with the of Anjou and Brittany, for the scenery that surrounded it, might double purpose of finding the Holy well deem it a terrestrial Paradise; Cup, and of enriching his mind with and when about to strike into more traditionary lore, came at night bebarren plains, he might pause upon side these haunted gates, and in the its border, and cast towards the Hill morn was not to be found, nor ever of the Minstrels a glance of admira. more appeared upon earth. Often, tion and regret. For, apart from the on those summer evenings, when the Associations with which it was con setting sun flings over the earth a nected, it had upon the prospect an glorious embroidered tissue of gold effect so peculiar, that, of all the and purple, the peasants ascended wonders of the valley, it was the the mountain to join in the rustic latest seen and the longest remem- dance, and to enjoy the loveliness of bered. But to those who dwelt be, the prospect. Sometimes, on such neath the shade of that majestic hill, occasions, while they talked of love, and knew every tradition with which and the gallant deeds of the old it was connected, it was, I may say, Dauphins of Auvergne, the miser« able fate of the once famous, but supernatural. This minstrel had now almost forgotten Guyot, would been attached to the household of start to their minds; and when they the Comte de Dammartin, one of the glanced upon the dell where he was ministers of Charles VII., but this fabled to have perished, not even its had not prevented him from visiting beauties could dissolve the terror of many other courts and castles; and their souls. · But such impressions not only these, but more unpropi' operated with more force in those tious regions, to satiate his thirst seasons, when the eye is shrouded for legendary learning. He had in darkness, and the ear assailed by journeyed into Brittany, to hear the storms; then did the simple people old lays of King Arthur, and to visit feel all the sublimities and terrors of those places embellished by his tradition. As the tale went round, name; and, under the protection of they would contract into a closer cir. the minstrel character, he had even cle, pile fresh faggots on the hearth, sailed into Wales, there to enjoy the or kindle them into a brighter blaze; wild romance of Cimbric poesy. and often turn in trembling solici Nor was he ignorant of the traditude, half expecting to behold near tions of the north, whose bards were them some of those terrible spirits, So justly honoured ; and he frequentwhich many a benighted traveller ly mentioned with applause, that was said to have seen assembled Olave of Norway, who, going to round the “ Gate of Hell.” Most battle surrounded by his minstrels, of these legends have become extinct exclaimed, “ Now you shall relate, with the people who entertained not what you have heard, but that them. Their valley is inhabited by which you yourselves have witnessa new race; and the curtain of time ed.” But Geoffrey de Ventadour has fallen over the scene of their had abandoned this roaming life. traditions, which are supplied by He had relinquished the castles of narrations of a later and less roman. the Comte de Dammartin; and netic period. One rude traditionary glecting the benefits he might have story has survived. It speaks not of enjoyed from the favour of one so the spirits of the unfathomable deep, powerful at the court of his Sovenor of lad ye love, nor of any of those reign, had retired to this silent spot, subjects current in Europe during with the appearance, indeed, but the middle ages; but of a company without the spirit of a hermit. Ram. of minstrels, for some time unknown baut de Vaqueiras followed his lord, to the inhabitants of the valley, and the Marquis of Montferrat, into Rowhose history, discovered at their mania, and had from him large posdeath by the melancholy circum- sessions in the kingdom of Thessastances attending it, endeared them lonica. • Geoffrey de Ventadoür had to their memory, and formed a sad not the ambition, and did not follow but uniform close to the tenor of the example of this Troubadour. It their existence. These minstrels of was, or had been, a practice not upAuvergne were known by the name frequent among minstrels, but espe of that mountain which they had cially the Jongleurs, to end their chosen for their habitation or asylum, lives in monasteries, exercising reand some of them yet live in the ligious contemplation, when, like page of history.
Pierre de Vernique, or Arnaud Da. About the middle of the 15th niel, they were reduced to poverty: eentury, a minstrel had chosen a or, in atonement to the holy church, lonely dwelling in that very glen for having spent their days in the with which the peasants had asso- cultivation of their unballowed art". ciated so much, that was terrible and But Geoffrey, at least, had no con
• It was certainly an unhallowed art in the notions of some ; and indeed it was not always, in the traditionary literature of the times, spoken of as unconnected with the dangerous science of Necromancy. Hother, the King of Sweden, by the excellence of his minstrelsy, procured from the Nymphs the sacred meat, and the girdle of Victory, which enabled him to overcome Baldar, the son of Odin, Perhaps similar legendary fables influenced the conduct of Henry the Blackbeard, Emperor of Germany, when he allowed, at his nuptials with the daughter of the Earl of Portica, an trition for his past mode of life, and mer morn, whose freshness gave he took care that this should not be elasticity to their spirits, and the supposed. In his habitation, he promise of a glorious noon. The still displayed all the tokens of his waves of light softly curling through art, and all the robes and golden the atmosphere, dispelled from glade, chains he had received from the ge- brook, and bower, the shadows of nerous and the noble ; nor was the the preceding night. The laugh one unemployed, nor the givers of was loud and long, betokening the the other unsung. The harp, the easy vacant minds of them all, ready favourite of minstrelsy, stood con- to welcome every jest, and to imagine spicuously in his dwelling. The one where it was not. For, as the tabor and clanricorde, the guitar Testament of Love says, “ Many and the rote, and the viol with se- men there ben that, with eeres venteen cords, all were there. The openly spread, so moche swalowen sound of them was often heard, as the deliciousnesse of jestes and ryme the hermit minstrel told to himself by queynt knittinge coloures, that of the old gestes of King Arthur, or the goodnesse or of the badnesse of the high Paladins. A roundelay the sentence take the litel hede, or composed his matins. For his vese else none.” The merriments uddenly pers, he had a romance of Provence paused at the sound of minstrelsy or Spain. There was a monastery from the glen in which the minstrel of the order of St. Dominick about resided. They heard the sound of a mile distant; but to its monks he several instruments, and even thought paid no attention, so strange must they could recognise the progress of the motives of his seclusion have a poetical contest between two or been; nay, when he passed one of more candidates. The music was them, or they approached the pre- more formed, regular, and polished, cincts of his reign, a smile almost of than theirs. It had more of the air scorn and hatred was visible on his and the accent of antiquity. It countenance. He was not, however, seemed fitted for the high and noble, a melancholy man, nor given to the rather than for those whose simplis superstitions of the greater number city or ignorance admitted not the of bis fellow-poets. Mild and gen- introduction of very refined song. tle even in his extravagances, hu- Their doubts, however, were soon mave even in his carelessness of God satisfied. At the entrance of the and man, he spent a solitary, but not glen, gaily attired in minstrel habits, a troubled existence; and while as if to suit the richness of that early many, surprised at the place he had dawn, sat minstrels exercising their chosen for his loneliness, and at the tuneful art ; though the subjects manner of it too, indulged in sur- they celebrated were not animated mises as to the cause whence it could with the gladness which smiled be have arisen, circumstances always nignantly from the surrounding appeared not entirely reconcilable prospect. Their song was partly with the suppositions they were in- melancholy. I say partly, for in clined to form.
those times few lays were addressed
exclusively to the deep sympathies « The busy larke, the messager of day, of our nature. In the midst of the Saleueth in hire song the morne gray; most pathetic descriptions there were And firy Phebus riseth up so bright, 'That all the orient laugheth at the sight,
strokes of wit and humour, which we
call unappropriate, but they felt to And with his stremes drieth in the greves ha de
be delightful. The silver dropes hanging on the leaves."
Thus sang these
minstrels. On their part, the rustics A large band of peasantry ascended could not imagine who they were, the hill, rejoicing in that fair sum- or whence they had come. Curiosity
infinite number of minstrels, empty and hungry, without food and rewards, to depart sorrowing." But although his monks praised him for this action, all ecclesiastics would not have united in commendation of it. What would those merry friars of Old England have said, who refused admission to their brethren into their monastery, but willingly received a troop of minstrels, from whose lays entertainment might be derived ?
occupied their minds entirely; and music spoke loudly the independence ihat happy dawn which, a short of the nobility in more feudal times. while beforc, had breathed the breath Like Satan, he seemed fallen from a of life into their souls, rose over higher state. He had the relics them almost as it would have risen of something about him that showed over the parched sandy deserts of him to have been once greater than Araby, unnoticed and unfelt. By he then was, for it was only in the degrees they half-timidly approached summer of his memory, when the the minstrels, and reached that fountain of past joys and affections bower which stood opposite to the was broken open, that his form and orient sun-a natural bower, im countenance assuined their natural proved by the care of Geoffrey de dignity. He was a minstrel seemVentadour. A sort of familiarity ingly. He was one, if a liking to was soon established between the their poetry could make him so. But peasants and that minstrel band, who it might have been feared, that most endeavoured to impress their visitants minstrels, on a strict examination, with the belief, that, tired of atten- would have rejected his title to be dance of courts, even where they one of the brotherhood. Little did were encouraged, and disheartened he seem qualified to attend at the by the scoffs beginning to prevail table of any master, contending with against their art, which they loved other minstrels for the amusement for its own sake, they had abandon- of Counts and Countesses, making ed them for ever, happily to spend himself a buffoon, as sometimes they the remainder of their days on the were compelled to do ; or, if the largesses benefactors had made heralds cried “ largess," celebrating, them, in the midst of song and by his music, the liberality of the gaiety; forgotten by all, yet still audience. He was rather like some speaking of the old romances, in the lord of great renown, comparable to diffusion of which they had labour the aged and venerable oak, or the ed so much. “ There,” they said, last remaining tower of a time-woru “ with Geoffrey de Ventadour, whose fortress ; dark and dismal, though fame would have been great in the still beautiful, but disdaining that days of Arnaud Daniel, we shall talk beauty, and standing proudly as the of them to each other." They had, representative of other times. Of too, a King Antoine de. Born, like such times, indeed, Antoine de Born the troops of minstrels of old, who, seemed to be enamoured. Of many whatever might have been the rea a romance did he at that time speak sons for his elevation, was sufficient. This was a subject never devoid of ly haughty and reserved ; and yet it interest to him. The romances was evident, that his promotion could talked of chivalry and love ; but, not have been occasioned by the su what was most interesting, in them periority of his minstrelsy. He did he learned the reverses of fortune to not regulate the course of their lays. which all knighthood was subject, This might be unnecessary in their and the prosperous end to which circumstances. Yet he did not even good and valiant men were destined join in them often; and when he by Heaven. did, it was with manifest inequality. Thus that morn passed on. The But he listened to the melody made minstrels told traditionary tales to with pleasure, and, most of all, each other; and the silvery aspect of when it told the numerous adven- the plain beneath softened the rugtures of the renowned Sir Tristram, ged features of the traditions that his loves, his dangers, his restoration were narrated. “Ah !" said one of to the favour of bis Sovereign. Of the peasants, as he cast a basty these he often heard ; and then his glance over the blooming landscape, eye appeared to brighten, as if a as if anxious to collect all the joys of feeling once all-powerful in his breast his life into that one short moment, had been rekindled for a moment; "was not this the very day that the and the happiness which then beam wandering Palmer, who had left our ed across his countenance was rival, minstrel Hely on the other side of led only if the praise of ancient war. the mountains, said he intended riors was given, and the harmony of again to revisit his long-left home?"