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Christians. He reminded them that the glorious company of heaven were looking down upon them; "that Christ himself would take up his shield and arise to their aidthen turning to Aumerle, the commander, he placed his hand within his, and said, "I faithfully promise thee to conquer the Scots this day or lose my life." Joyfully and manfully was this solemn pledge of the lord of Hamlake re-echoed by every knight, noble, and vassal. Robert de Bruce and Bernard de Baliol, as feudatories of the Scottish king, sent formal renunciation of their allegiance; and the devoted band drew up in battle array upon Cuton Moor.
Ere however the first shaft was loosed from the English bows, a last effort was made by the assembled nobles to dissuade David, who was respected by all, from giving battle. Robert de Bruce, a baron who had been bred up in his court, proffered his services, and advanced to the Scottish side. He was introduced to David ; and addressing him with much simple pathos, he shewed him how determined were the nobles, how dreadful would be the carnage, how kindly on a former occasion those very barons had entreated him (having chivalrously aided him but a short time since), and he finally concluded by expressing his sorrow that he should be forced to behold his good and early friend, his most dear and worthy master, either unhappily slain, or worse— disgracefully flying. This chivalrous appeal was broken off by the sobs of the brave knight; David, overcome, burst also into tears. Nor would he that day have disgracefully fled; nor would the tale of North Allerton plain been recorded by the chronicler, had not his nephew pressed forward, and, rendered vainly confident by his late victory at Clitheroe, given a decided negative to the pacific recommendation of de Bruce, whom he scornfully stigmatized as traitor. All thought of accommodation was now at an end,—a second time de Bruce renounced allegiance, and then departed.
Scarcely had he regained the English side, when the vanguard of the Scots army advanced with loud and savage yells, and charged upon them with fury. Long did the battle prevail, and right valiantly fought both knight and noble, who with singular determination had dismounted from their destreres, and caused them to be sent to a distance, lest their vassals should think they might seek safety in flight. At length prince William made a violent attack on the English phalanx, and it began to give way; when an English soldier, whose name is unknown, having cut off the head of a body near him, held it up, crying aloud—" The head of the Scottish king!" These words re-animated his companions—a panic seized the Scots, who believed that their king was indeed slain; and to pursue and to slay was all that remained for the victors. David, who had watched the changing fortunes of the day, vainly attempted to rally the flying multitude; and desperate at this realization of his worst fears, determined to die on the field. A few of his bravest nobles, however, surrounding him, placed him on horse-back, and bore him away. Never was victory more complete ; when night closed in, ten thousand Scots lay dead on Cuton Moor, while thousands more, in their flight through Northumberland, fell victims to the vengeance of the exasperated peasantry; and the victor army, which had lost but one knight and very few common soldiers, returned back in triumph to York, to sing " Te Deum," and record the proud tale of the battle of the Standard.*
While these events took place in the North, the town of Dover was sustaining a severe siege, undertaken by the queen, with the assistance of her subjects of Boulogne, who brought a powerful fleet to blockade the harbour, and thus prevent the arrival of succours which the empress might send from France. Very frequently has the biographer to lament, that while on subjects of comparative indifference, ample information can be obtained on points which place the character in a new and important light a slight remark, a mere passing notice, is all that can be found. This is peculiarly the case in regard to Maude of Boulogne. While the events of many a siege are detailed by the contemporary chroniclers with wearisome minuteness, those far more important, in which she was personally engaged, scarcely receive more than a parenthetical notice. Thus all that we can learn respecting this important contest is, that after sustaining the blockade for some time, Dover at length capitulated.
The trumpet of war was now blown ; and swiftly
* The battle of the Standard, although so very characteristic of the spirit of the times, has been passed completely over by most of our popular historians; and it is, therefore, inserted.
did every baron in the land range himself under the banner either of Stephen or of the empress Maude; and the affrighted husbandman, in the trampled harvest and the burning barn, saw but the beginning of those troubles which were his lot for nearly fifteen years. A full detail of the events of these disastrous times falls within the province of the historian, rather than of the biographer: those incidents therefore, which are necessary to complete the memoir of Maude of Boulogne, will alone be noticed; while those referring more particularly to the empress will be treated in the following chapter. The next notice that we find of the queen is in the spring of the succeeding year, when David of Scotland having again crossed the border, to maintain the right of the empress, advanced as far as Durham. Thither the queen went, and by entreaty and persuasion at length prevailed on her uncle to conclude a peace with her husband; which, although considered by Stephen's partizans scarcely so advantageous as had been expected, still relieved for a short season the northern parts of the kingdom from the incursions of a dreaded foe. But although the northern counties were now enjoying a short interval of repose, peace throughout the whole land was a blessing which Stephen did not for many years enjoy. The various towns belonging to the earl of Gloster were all in a state of warlike activity; while Milo, earl of Hereford, also a warm partizan of the empress, was ravaging with fire and sword the counties of Worcester and Warwickshire. Alarmed at the numerous castles which were rising on every side, indignant at the solemn renunciation of fealty which the earl of Gloster had just before sent, and dreading the influence of the prelates— who, not content with their spiritual power, were taking large bodies of retainers into their pay, and building impregnable castles,—Stephen in an evil hour, forgetful of the advantages he had derived from their convenient time-serving, seized the bishops of Ely, Lincoln, and Salisbury, threw them into prison, and treated them with every indignity, to compel them to give up their castles. Henry his brother, the bishop of Winchester, and the pope's legate, indignant at his brother's conduct, summoned him, the king of England, to appear before a higher tribunal than his royal council, even that of the church, whose power he had insulted in the persons of her ministers; and, as legate, commanded a council to be held at Winchester, on the 29th day of August. Our English histories give full accounts of the proceedings of this council, which broke up without coming to any ultimate decision; but from that day Henry of Blois was no longer the friend of his brother; and when, in the following month, Stephen heard the disastrous intelligence, that the empress Maude and her gallant and devoted half brother had landed, he discovered, too late, the irreparable injury he had done to his own cause, by irritating the self-will, and love of domination, of his arrogant, but most clear-sighted brother.