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Proud Nimrod first the bloody chase began,
Whom e'en the Saxon spared, and bloody Dane,
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.
Stretched 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 were religious wars. After the death of Christ, the Romans were masters of Jerusalem, and of the whole coun. try which had been the scene of his life and labours. 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 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 respect by all Christians. They usually dressed in a plain garb; carried a scrip, or bag for their food; 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,
upon; and eke behind
Faery Queen, Book I., Canto 6. Persons who wished to conceal their real name and business, when they engaged in some dangerous undertaking, would as
sume a Palmer's habit because in that disguise they were sure of being admitted any where, and of being well treated among Christians. In the seventh century, the Saracens, followers of Mahomet, took Palestine and occupied the land. Abhorrence of Christians is among the principles of the Mahommedan religion ; and the Saracens took every opportunity, by the abuse of its zealous professors, the "Pilgrims, to show their contempt for the religion of Christ. These pious 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 western 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 the badge of these warriors – it was painted upon their banners, engraved on their shields, and embroidered in their garments.
RICHARD CŒUR DE LION.
The most distinguished of those saints-errant who led the Crusades, was Richard I. King of England, called Cæur de Lion, or the lion-hearted, because of his fearless and warlike disposition. Richard engaged 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.
Bound for holy Palestine,
Syrian virgins, wail and weep,
Tremble, watchman, as ye spy,
range of shield and lance
Blondel led the tuneful band, And swept the wire with glowing hand. Cyprus, from her rocky mound, And Crete, with piny verdure crowned, Far along the smiling main Echoed the prophetic strain.
Soon we kissed the sacred earth That gave a murdered Saviour birth; Then, with ardour fresh endued, Thus the solemn song renewed: “ Lo, the toilsome voyage past, Heaven's favoured hills appear at last ! Object of our holy vow, We tread the Tyrian vallies 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, Wide his immortal umbrage spread ! Hail, Calvary, thou mountain hoar, Wet with our Redeemer's gore ! Ye trampled tombs, ye fanes forlorn, Ye stones, by tears of pilgrims worn ; Your ravished honours to restore, Fearless we climb your hostile shore !
And thou, the sepulchre of God !
Proud Saracen, pollute no more
Salem, in ancient majesty
All in azure steel arrayed. This alludes to the armour, worn by the soldiers; it consisted sometimes of what is called chain mail, and sometimes of scale mail—the former was the hauberk, a garment composed of interlaced rings of metal, which covered the person—the latter was formed of scales of steel fitted to the body. Steel arınour sometimes exhibited a blue tint.
The trophied prow. Prow, the head of a ship--that part which