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heads of the second Henry and Elinor of Aquitaine.
In the following February, Henry, the second son, was born; and as the summer advanced, the king and queen made a progress through the northern parts of their dominions; during which time Plantagenet, by a judicious combination of mildness and severity, fully established peace in the land; while, by dismissing the Flemish mercenaries, by mitigating the rigor of some of the laws, and above all by destroying those strongholds of cruelty and oppression, the castles of the refractory nobles, he gained a popularity which even surpassed that of his predecessor Stephen. He next, with Elinor, passed over to Normandy; and from thence proceeding into the dominions of Louis, did homage for Anjou, Mans, Tours, all Normandy and Aquitaine, fiefs so extensive and so important, that the lord and the vassal might have exchanged places.
The following fifteen years beheld Plantagenet holding with firm grasp the sceptre of England, and Elinor presiding over a court which for its splendour, its wealth, and its liberal patronage of literature, was second to none in Europe; and many a troubadour came from afar with song and homage to the daughter of the warrior minstrel of Aquitaine,* and many a trouvere laid his spirited romance, or his metrical history, at the feet of the literary Elinor.
* One, who occupied no mean place among them, Bernard de Ventadour, has left many chansons which breathe so ardent and so admiring a homage, that some writers, unacquainted with the extravagance which characterize the amatory poetry of the langue d'oc, have actually believed that he was her lover.
During these years, Plantagenet and Elinor seem to have lived quietly, though not happily; for soon did the indignant wife see herself superseded in her husband's affection by a mistress,* and learn the bitter truth that her princely possessions, not herself, were the charm that won him. Still, during this period, she enjoyed the state and the honours of a queen; nor does Plantagenet appear to have been wanting in outward shew of respect, since on more than one occasion during his absence he constituted her regent of Normandy and Anjou. To her rising family, therefore, she seems to have turned for that affection which from Plantagenet she had sought in vain; and the mother of three fair daughters and four promising sons, three of whom were heirs of domains so wide that each might almost be termed a kingdom, she appears to have viewed them with pride, and to have watched over them with anxious solicitude.
The spring of 1170 was, therefore, a proud season for Elinor. Plantagenet, at her request, had given up the duchy of Aquitaine to her second son Richard; and the royal court proceeded to Poictou,
*The name of Plantagenet's earlier mistress, the mother of Geoffrey, archbishop of York, is unknown; she has been considered by some writers to have been the celebrated Rosamond Clifford, but the date of Geoffrey's birth (1159) disproves this opinion, since Brompton, under the year 1173, describes her as a young girl. The same writer mentions her residence at Woodstock, and that Henry caused a labyrinth to be erected there, "that the queen might not easily discover her"—the probable foundation of the popular tradition. He also relates, that subsequently to the imprisonment of Elinor, the king " openly and shamelessly" brought his beautiful mistress into public notice. So far, therefore, from fair Rosamond owing her death (for she died soon after), to the vengeance of the queen, it is far more probable that the queen owed her imprisonment to the passion of Henry for Rosamond.
to witness the inauguration of the boy (now scarcely fourteen years old), who, in after-years, was to gain himself a name beyond every other Christian knight, as duke of his mother's hereditary dominions. The laborious researches of the editors of the "Recueil des Historiens" have discovered the form of prayer appointed for these occasions; and it affords so characteristic a specimen of the combination of warlike and devotional feeling which distinguished those days, when each candidate for knighthood pledged himself to maintain the Christian faith "by the aid of his good sword," and when each symbol of rule or of dignity was received from the hands of the church as the gift of Heaven, that a few extracts shall be inserted.
From this form we learn, that, on the appointed day, the bishop of Limoges, in his pontifical vestments, followed by the choir wearing silken copes, and bearing texts, incense, and holy water, shall come to the great door of the church of St. Hilary in solemn procession. "And there, before the church door shall the duke stand, the bishop giving him holy water, and clothing him in a silken robe, with this prayer, 'Omnipotent and sempiternal God, Ruler of all things in heaven and earth, who hast thought thy servant worthy of elevation to the dukedom; grant, we pray thee, that, being freed from the power of the enemy, and the gift of spiritual peace being afforded, we may arrive at the joys of eternal blessedness, through the grace of our Lord.'" After another prayer the " ring of the blessed Valeria" (she was supposed to have been the first duchess of Aquitaine) is placed on the duke's finger by the bishop, with this address : " Take the ring of dignity, and by it recognize the sign of the universal faith— for this day art thou constituted duke and prince of Aquitaine, to the end that, blessed in works and rich in faith, thou mayest finally enjoy glory with the Lord of lords." The circlet (circulum) is next, with an appropriate prayer, placed on the duke's head; and then that knightly symbol, the lance and banner, is put into his hand, with this chivalrous address: "Take the rod of power and equity, by which thou shalt aid the good, affray the reprobate, direct the erring, assist the fallen, scatter the proud, and raise the humble ;—for thou shalt love righteousness, and hate all iniquity." After another prayer, the duke thus adorned with mantle, ring, and coronet, and bearing in his hand the lance with the banner, is led by the bishop into the church, while the choir follow singing. Before the altar the last and proudest badge of his high office, the sword, is placed in his hand; and how must the lion-heart of the noble boy have bounded, at the spirited admonition which accompanied its presentation: "Take this sword, divinely appointed for defence of the holy church of God, and be thou mindful of what the psalmist prophesied, saying, ' Gird thy sword on thy thigh, and ride forth, O most mighty! that by this, through Him who is the Lord of lords, thou mayest put forth the strength of righteousness, and valiantly beat down the strongholds of iniquity, and fight for and protect the holy church of God, and all her faithful ones. Nor less, know that by thy faith, thou art bound to execrate all enemies of the Christian name, and shall destroy them; but thou shall clemently assist and defend all widows and orphans, restore the desolate, uphold the repentant, avenge all injustice, and confirm all good things, through the aid of our Lord Jesus Christ." Then the duke, thus invested, took the oath to protect the rights of the church of Limoges, and afterward returned to the choir, where he occupied during the service the principal stall, supported on each side by his seneschal and some other illustrious follower; the seneschal holding upright the unsheathed sword, and the other the lance and banner. Ere the mass was concluded the duke was to return to the altar, and there, kneeling, the bishop solemnly pronounced the following benediction: "May the Lord bless and keep thee, and, as He hath willed thee to be duke over this people, may he grant thee in this present life felicity, and eternal blessedness in that which is to come. May he grant thee triumphant victory over all enemies of the Christian faith, visible or invisible; and mayest thou become the most blessed bestower of peace and quietness, both far and wide. May thy peeple, so long as thou shalt hold the government of Aquitaine, be subject unto thee, and hold the faith of the Christian name. And, henceforward, we all enjoying peace and tranquillity, when thou shalt be gathered unto the council of good princes, may we be found worthy to receive, together with thee, everlasting felicity and joy." The duke finally takes off the robe, the coronet, the ring and the banner, and with two prayers, in one of which it is supplicated that