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They are no less important to Fables and The Secular Masque. My dissertation explores the idea that Fables involves an earnest, if covert, appraisal of both the merits and the flaws of William and Mary, as well as a reappraisal of the strengths and weaknesses of the monarchs before them, including all of the Stuarts in relation to the legendary Plantagenets.

In assessing the connections and evaluating the careers of past and present monarchs, Dryden draws on several themes, particularly the tensions between family and individual, love and war, persuasion and force, involvement and detachment, and ultimately the historical versus the personal. And throughout, he is aware of the analogy between the ordering art of the poet or narrator and that of the King.

The traits of an ideal king traditionally have been expressed in terms of concordia discors and the balance between Mars and Venus. The satirical epilogue The Secular Masque touches on the failures of subsequent English monarchs. Chapter Two focuses on a related pattern involving persuasion Venus and force Mars , which is explored further through marriage persuasion and rape force. These symbols have political significance: James I and Robert Filmer codified the typical views in the s regarding the state as a family, and rape was a common image for usurpation.

Finally, Dryden's genius in Fables lies in the artist's eye that perceives large historical patterns, but remains acutely aware of the individual characters that are part of those patterns. On the western side of London, as still [Pg 71] may be seen, there was an abbey of St. Peter, which had for a long time been greatly impoverished; it is situate on an island of the Thames called Zonee Thorn-ee [13] , so named because there were plenty of thorns upon it, and water around it; for the English call an island 'ee,' and what the French call 'espine' they call 'zon' thorn ; so that 'Zon-ee' Thorn-ee in English means 'isle d'espine' in French.

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The name of Westminster was given to it afterwards, when the minster was built King Edward perceived that there was much to improve at Westminster; he saw that the brotherhood were poor, and the minster decayed; and by counsel of clerks and laymen, while the country was in prosperity, he with great labour and attention, restored and amply endowed it with lands and other wealth.

He gave indeed so much of his own, of fair villages, rich manors and lands, crosses and other goodly gifts, that the place will never know want, if things are managed honestly. But when each monk wants much service, [Pg 72] is greedy of money, and makes a purse; the common stock soon wastes accordingly.

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Thus, however, the king restored Westminster, and held the spot dear, and loved it well. He also afterwards gave so much to St. Edmund Bury , that the monks who dwell there are very rich.

King Edward was now of a good age; his reign had been long, and to his sorrow he had no child, and no near relation to take his kingdom after him, and maintain it. He considered with himself who should inherit it when he died; and often bethought him, and said he would give his inheritance to duke William his relation, as the best of his lineage. Robert his father had brought him up, and William himself had been of much service to him; and, in fact, all the good he had received had come from that line, and he had loved none so well, however kindly he might behave to any one else.

For the honor thereof of his good kinsman, with whom he had been brought up, and on account of the great worth of William himself, he determined to make him heir to the realm. See the last note to Chapter VI. The anonymous continuer of Wace's Brut says of her;. Hastivement mer passa E a Willam bastard se maria.


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He then relates that after the conquest, Matilda revenged herself on this Brictrich-Mau, by seizing him 'a Hanelye, a sun maner,' and carrying him to Winchester, where he died 'par treison. If Wace meant to assert that the institution originated there, it is of course erroneous. It had existed in other countries twenty years before; but the Normans resisted its introduction among them, till enforced by William's authority, as a measure of restraint on their excesses.

See Jolimont, Monuments de Calvados , page 42, and plate xx, as to the ruins of the church of St.


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Most of the old historians are silent about it; but it admits of little question, and had important influence on subsequent events. See Thierry , i. Zonee or Zon-ey is of course Thorn-ey; the Saxon 'th' being turned into 'z. Pluquet, has, 'in loco qui Thornie tune dicebatur, et sonat quasi—spinarum insula,' One of William's first religious donations was to this his predecessor's favourite establishment; and he records in the charter his title to the kingdom of England, and the mode he adopted for vindicating it.

Now in that country of England there was a seneschal [1] , Heraut [2] by name, a noble vassal, who on account of his worth and merits, had great influence, and was in truth the most powerful man in all the land. He was strong in his own men, and strong in his friends, and managed all England as a man does land of which he has the seneschalsy. On his father's side he was English, and on his mother's Danish; Gite [3] his mother being a Danish woman, born and brought up in great wealth, a very gentle lady, the sister of King Kenut.

She was wife to Godwin, mother to Harold, and her daughter Edif [4] [Pg 76] was queen. Harold himself was the favourite of his lord, who had his sister to wife. When his father had died being choked at the feast , Harold, pitying the hostages, was desirous to cross over into Normandy, to bring them home.

So he went to take leave [5] of the king. But Edward strictly forbade him, and charged and conjured him not to go to Normandy, nor to speak with duke William; for he might soon be drawn into some snare, as the duke was very shrewd; and he told him, that if he wished to have the hostages home, he would choose some messenger for the purpose. So at least I have found the story written [6]. But another book tells me that [Pg 78] the king ordered him to go, for the purpose of assuring duke William, his cousin, that he should have the realm after his death.

How the matter really was I never knew, and I find it written both the one way and the other. Whatever was the business he went upon, or whatever it was that he meant to do, Harold set out on his way, taking the risk of what might fall out. What is fated to happen no man can prevent, let him be who he will. What must be will come to pass, and no one can make it nought. He made ready two ships, and took the sea at Bodeham [7]. I know not how the mischief was occasioned; whether the steersman erred, or whether it was that a storm arose; but this I know, that he missed the right course, and touched the coast of Pontif, where he could neither get away, nor conceal himself.

A fisherman of that country, who had been [Pg 79] in England and had often seen Harold, watched him; and knew him, both by his face and his speech; and went privily to Guy, the count of Pontif [8] , and would speak to no other; and he told the count how he could put a great prize in his way, if he would go with him; and that if he would give him only twenty livres, he should gain a hundred by it, for he would deliver him such a prisoner, as would pay a hundred livres or more for ranson. The count agreed to his terms, and then the fisherman showed him Harold. They seized and took him to Abbeville; but Harold contrived to send off a message privily to duke William in Normandy, and told him of his journey; how he had set out from England to visit him, but had missed the right port; and how the count of Pontif had seized him, and without any cause of offence had put him in prison: and he promised that if the duke would deliver him from his captivity, [Pg 80] he would do whatever he wished in return.

Guy guarded Harold mean time with great care; fearing some mischance, he sent him to Belrem [9] , that he might be further from the duke. But William thought that if he could get Harold into his keeping, he might turn it to good account; so he made so many fair promises and offers to the earl, and so coaxed and flattered him, that he at last gave up his prisoner [10] ; and the duke thus got possession of him, and gave in return to the count Guy a fair manor lying along the river Alne [11].

He took him to many rich tournaments, arrayed him nobly, gave him horses and arms, and led him with him into Britanny—I am not certain whether three or four times—when he had to fight with the Bretons [12]. And in the meantime he bespoke Harold so fairly, that he agreed to deliver up England to him, as soon as king Edward should die; and he was to have Ele [13] , one of William's daughters, for his wife if he would; and to swear to all this if required, William also binding himself to those terms.

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To receive the oath, he caused a parliament to be called. It is commonly said that it was at Bayeux [14] that he had his great council assembled. When Harold placed his hand upon it, the hand trembled, and the flesh quivered; but he swore, and promised upon his oath, to take Ele to wife, and to deliver up England to the duke: and thereunto to do all in his power, according to his might and wit, after the death of Edward, if he should live, so help him God and the holy relics there! Many cried "God grant it [16]! Then when all was ready for his journey homeward, he took his leave; and William exhorted him to be true to his word, and kissed him in the name of good faith and friendship.

And Harold passed freely homeward, and arrived safely in England. Benoit de Sainte-More sends the archbishop of Canterbury to William, at Edward's desire, to convey his intention of leaving to the duke the inheritance of the English crown.

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L'arcevesque de Cantorbire, Li plus hauz hom de son empire, Out en Normendie tramis, Les anz avant, si cum je vos dis, Por afermer ce qu'il li done, Tot le reaume e la corone. And Harold's mission is described as being expressly intended, in the following year, to confirm the same bequest:. Por estre plus certains e meres, E qu'il n'i sorsist encombrier, Resout l'ovre plus esforcier. See Ellis, Domesday, i.

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Guy, after being captured at Mortemer, was, according to Ordericus Vitalis , p. See our previous notes on this family, and a subsequent one on Aumale. Benoit states positively that a storm carried Harold to Ponthieu:. La pristrent port, Eissi ateint e eissi mort; Mieux vousissent estre en sezile. Benoit ascribes the surrender to William's threats and military preparations, for which purpose.

Benoit de Sainte-More says of this part of the story,.

According to Ordericus Vitalis it was Agatha, another daughter. He adds a pathetic story as to her felling in love with Harold, and dying of grief at her disappointment, and at an attempt made to consign her to a new match with the king of Gallicia. See Maseres's note, p.

The story of her attachment to Harold is rather inconsistent with the date of , usually assigned to William's marriage; as his daughter would not be more than eleven years old at Harold's visit. See a note in M. Deville's volume on St. Georges de Bocherville. According to Benoit de Sainte-More, it was part of the agreement that Harold should not only have "Aeliz la proz e la sage," but with her "del regne une moitie.