The Bible of Amiens/Under the Drachenfels

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I. Without ignobly trusting the devices of artificial memory—far less slighting the pleasure and power of resolute and thoughtful memory—my younger readers will find it extremely useful to note any coincidences or links of number which may serve to secure in their minds what may be called Dates of Anchorage, round which others, less important, may swing at various cables' lengths.

Thus, it will be found primarily a most simple and convenient arrangement of the years since the birth of Christ, to divide them by fives of centuries, —that is to say, by the marked periods of the fifth, tenth, fifteenth, and, now fast nearing us, twentieth centuries.

And this—at first seemingly formal and arithmetical—division, will be found, as we use it, very singularly emphasized by signs of most notable change in the knowledge, disciplines, and morals of the human race.

2. All dates, it must farther be remembered, falling within the fifth century, begin with the number 4 (401, 402, etc.); and all dates in the tenth century with the number 9 (901, 902, etc.); and all dates in the fifteenth century with the number 14 (1401, 1402, etc.)

In our immediate subject of study, we are concerned with the first of these marked centuries—the fifth—of which I will therefore ask you to observe two very interesting divisions.

All dates of years in that century, we said, must begin with the number 4.

If you halve it for the second figure, you get 42. And if you double it for the second figure, you get 48.

Add 1, for the third figure, to each of these numbers, and you get 421 and 481, which two dates you will please fasten well down, and let there be no drifting about of them in your heads.

For the first is the date of the birth of Venice herself, and her dukedom, (see 'St. Mark's Rest,' Part I., p. 30); and the second is the date of birth of the French Venice, and her kingdom; Clovis being in that year crowned in Amiens.

3. These are the great Birthdays—Birthdates—in the fifth century, of Nations. Its Deathdays we will count, at another time.

Since, not for dark Rialto's dukedom, nor for fair France's kingdom, only, are these two years to be remembered above all others in the wild fifth century; but because they are also the birth-years of a great Lady, and greater Lord, of all future Christendom—St. Genevieve, and St. Benedict.

Genevieve, the ' white wave' (Laughing water)—the purest of all the maids that have been named from the sea-foam or the rivulet's ripple, unsullied,—not the troubled and troubling Aphrodite, but the Leucothea of Ulysses, the guiding wave of deliverance.

White wave on the blue—whether of pure lake or sunny sea—(thenceforth the colours of France, blue field with white lilies), she is always the type of purity, in active brightness of the entire soul and life—(so distinguished from the quieter and restricted innocence of St. Agnes),—and all the traditions of sorrow in the trial or failure of noble womanhood are connected with her name; Ginevra, in Italian, passing into Shakespeare's Imogen; and Guinevere, the torrent wave of the British mountain streams, of whose pollution your modern sentimental minstrels chant and moan to you, lugubriously useless;—but none tell you, that I hear, of the victory and might of this white wave of France.

4. A shepherd maid she was—a tiny thing, bare-footed, bareheaded—such as you may see running wild and innocent, less cared for now than their sheep, over many a hillside of France and Italy. Tiny enough;—seven years old, all told, when first one hears of her: "Seven times one are seven, (I am old, you may trust me, linnet, linnet[1])," and all around her—fierce as the Furies, and wild as the winds of heaven—the thunder of the Gothic armies reverberated over the ruins of the world.

5. Two leagues from Paris, {Roman Paris, soon to pass away with Rome herself,) the little thing keeps her flock, not even her own, nor her father's flock, like David; she is the hired servant of a richer farmer of Nanterre. Who can tell me anything about Nanterre?—which of our pilgrims of this omni-speculant, omni-nescient age has thought of visiting what shrine may be there? I don't know even on what side of Paris it lies,[2] nor under which heap of railway cinders and iron one is to conceive the sheep-walks and blossomed fields of fairy Saint Phyllis. There were such left, even in my time, between Paris and St. Denis, (see the prettiest chapter in all the "Mysteries of Paris," where Fleur de Marie runs wild in them for the first time), but now, I suppose, Saint Phyllis's native earth is all thrown up into bastion and glacis, (profitable and blessed of all saints, and her, as these have since proved themselves!), or else are covered with manufactories and cabarets. Seven years old she was, then, when on his way to England from Auxerre, St. Germain passed a night in her village, and among the children who brought him on his way in the morning in more kindly manner than Elisha's convoy, noticed this one—wider-eyed in reverence than the rest; drew her to him, questioned her, and was sweetly answered That she would fain be Christ's handmaid. And he hung round her neck a small copper coin, marked with the cross. Thence-forward Genevieve held herself as "separated from the world."

6. It did not turn out so, however. Far the contrary. You must think of her, instead, as the first of Parisiennes. Queen of Vanity Fair, that was to be, sedately poor St. Phyllis, with her copper-crossed farthing about her neck! More than Nitocris was to Egypt, more than Semiramis to Nineveh, more than Zenobia to the city of palm trees—this seven-years-old shepherd maiden became to Paris and her France. You have not heard of her in that kind?—No: how should you?—for she did not lead armies, but stayed them, and all her power was in peace.

7. There are, however, some seven or eight and twenty lives of her, I believe; into the literature of which I cannot enter, nor need, all having been ineffective in producing any clear picture of her to the modern French or English mind; and leaving one's own poor sagacities and fancy to gather and shape the sanctity of her into an intelligible, I do not say a credible, form; for there is no question here about belief,—the creature is as real as Joan of Arc, and far more powerful;—she is separated, just as St. Martin is, by his patience, from too provocative prelates—by her quietness of force, from the pitiable crowd of feminine martyr saints.

There are thousands of religious girls who have never got themselves into any calendars, but have wasted and wearied away their lives—heaven knows why, for we cannot; but here is one, at any rate, who neither scolds herself to martyrdom, nor frets herself into consumption, but becomes a tower of the Flock, and builder of folds for them all her days.

8. The first thing, then, you have to note of her, is that she is a pure native Gaul. She does not come as a missionary out of Hungary, or Illyria, or Egypt, or ineffable space; but grows at Nanterre, like a marguerite in the dew, the first "Reine Blanche" of Gaul.

I have not used this ugly word 'Gaul' before, and we must be quite sure what it means, at once, though it will cost us a long parenthesis.

9. During all the years of the rising power of Rome, her people called everybody a Gaul who lived north of the sources of Tiber. If you are not content with that general statement, you may read the article "Gallia" in Smith's dictionary, which consists of seventy-one columns of close print, containing each as much as three of my pages; and tells you at the end of it, that "though long, it is not complete." You may, however, gather from it, after an attentive perusal, as much as I have above told you.

But, as early as the second century after Christ, and much more distinctly in the time with which we are ourselves concerned—the fifth—the wild nations opposed to Rome, and partially subdued, or held at bay by her, had resolved themselves into two distinct masses, belonging to two distinct latitudes. One, fixed in habitation of the pleasant temperate zone of Europe—England with her western mountains, the healthy limestone plateaux and granite mounts of France, the German labyrinths of woody hill and winding thai, from the Tyrol to the Hartz, and all the vast enclosed basin and branching valleys of the Carpathians. Think of these four districts, briefly and clearly, as ' Britain,' 'Gaul,' 'Germany,' and ' Dacia.'

10. North of these rudely but patiently resident races, possessing fields and orchards, quiet herds, homes of a sort, moralities and memories not ignoble, dwelt, or rather drifted, and shook, a shattered chain of gloomier tribes, piratical mainly, and predatory, nomade essentially; homeless, of necessity, finding no stay nor comfort in earth, or bitter sky: desperately wandering along the waste sands and drenched morasses of the flat country stretching from the mouths of the Rhine to those of the Vistula, and beyond Vistula nobody knows where, nor needs to know. Waste sands and rootless bogs their portion, ice-fastened and cloud-shadowed, for many a day of the rigorous year: shallow pools and oozings and windings of retarded streams, black decay of neglected woods, scarcely habitable, never loveable; to this day the inner mainlands little changed for good[3]—and their inhabitants now fallen even on sadder times.

11. For in the fifth century they had herds of cattle[4] to drive and kill, unpreserved hunting-grounds full of game and wild deer, tameable reindeer also then, even so far in the south; spirited hogs, good for practice of fight as in Meleager's time, and afterwards for bacon; furry creatures innumerable, all good for meat or skin. Fish of the infinite sea breaking their bark-fibre nets; fowl innumerable, migrant in the skies, for their flint-headed arrows; bred horses for their own riding; ships of no mean size, and of all sorts, flat-bottomed for the oozy puddles, keeled and decked for strong Elbe stream and furious Baltic on the one side,—for mountain-cleaving Danube and the black lake of Colchos on the south.

12. And they were, to all outward aspect, and in all 'felt force, the living powers of the world, in that long hour of its transfiguration. All else known once for awful, had become formalism, folly, or shame:—the Roman armies, a mere sworded mechanism, fast falling confused, every sword against its fellow;—the Roman civil multitude, mixed of slaves, slave-masters, and harlots; the East, cut off from Europe by the intervening weakness of the Greek. These starving troops of the Black forests and White seas, themselves half wolf, half drift-wood, (as we once called ourselves

Lion-hearts, and Oak-hearts, so they), merciless as the herded hound, enduring as the wild birch-tree and pine. You will hear of few beside them for five centuries yet to come: Visigoths, west of Vistula;—Ostrogoths, east of Vistula; radiant round little Holy Island (Heligoland), our own Saxons, and Hamlet the Dane, and his foe the sledded Polack on the ice,—all these south of Baltic; and, pouring across Baltic, constantly, her mountain-ministered strength, Scandinavia, until at last site for a time rules all, and the Norman name is of disputeless dominion, from the North Cape to Jerusalem.

13. This is the apparent, this the only recognised world history, as I have said, for five centuries to come. And yet the real history is underneath all this. The wandering armies are, in the heart of them, only living hail, and thunder, and fire along the ground. But the Suffering Life, the rooted heart of native humanity, growing up in eternal gentleness, howsoever wasted, forgotten, or spoiled, —itself neither wasting, nor wandering, nor slaying, but unconquerable by grief or death, became the seed ground of all love, that was to be born in due time; giving, then, to mortality, what hope, joy, or genius it could receive; and—if there be immortality—rendering out of the grave to the Church her fostering Saints, and to Heaven her helpful Angels.

14. Of this low-nestling, speechless, harmless, infinitely submissive, infinitely serviceable order of being, no Historian ever takes the smallest notice, except when it is robbed, or slain. I can give you no picture of it, bring to your ears no murmur of it, nor cry. I can only show you the absolute 'must have been' of its unrewarded past, and the way in which all we have thought of, or been told, is founded on the deeper facts in its history, unthought of, and untold.

15. The main mass of this innocent and invincible peasant life is, as I have above told you, grouped in the fruitful and temperate districts of (relatively) mountainous Europe,—reaching, west to east, from the Cornish Land's End to the mouth of the Danube. Already, in the times we are now dealing with, it was full of native passion—generosity—and intelligence capable of all things. Dacia gave to Rome the four last of her great Emperors,[5]Britain to Christianity the first deeds, and the final legends, of her chivalry,—Germany, to all manhood, the truth and the fire of the Frank,—Gaul, to all womanhood, the patience and strength of St. Genevieve.

16. The truth, and the fire, of the Frank,—I must repeat with insistance,—for my younger readers have probably been in the habit of thinking that the French were more polite than true. They will find, if they examine into the matter, that only Truth can be polished: and that all we recognize of beautiful, subtle, or constructive, in the manners, the language, or the architecture of the French, comes of a pure veracity in their nature, which you will soon feel in the living creatures themselves if you love them: if you understand even their worst rightly, their very Revolution was a revolt against lies; and against the betrayal of Love. No people had ever been so loyal in vain.

17. That they were originally Germans, they themselves I suppose would now gladly forget; but how they shook the dust of Germany off their feet—and gave themselves a new name—is the first of the phenomena which we have now attentively to observe respecting them.

"The most rational critics," says Mr. Gibbon in his tenth chapter, "suppose that about the year 240" {suppose then, we, for our greater comfort, say about the year 250, half-way to end of fifth century, where we are,—ten years less or more, in cases of 'supposing about' do not much matter,but some floating buoy of a date will be handy here.)

About' A.D. 250, then, "a new confederacy was formed under the name of Franks, by the old inhabitants of the lower Rhine and the Weser."

18. My own impression, concerning the old inhabitants of the lower Rhine and the Weser, would have been that they consisted mostly of fish, with superficial frogs and ducks; but Mr. Gibbon's note on the passage informs us that the new confederation composed itself of human creatures, in these items following.

1. The Chauci, we are not told where.'
2. The Sicambri ,, in the Principality of Waldeck.
3. The Attuarii ac}|,, in the Duchy of Berg.
4. The Bructeri ,, on the banks of the Lippe.
5. The Chamavii ,, in the country of the Bructeri.
6. The Catti ,, in Hessia.

All this I believe you will be rather easier in your minds if you forget than if you remember; but if it please you to read, or re-read, (or best of all, get read to you by some real Miss Isabella Wardour,) the story of Martin Waldeck in the 'Antiquary' you will gain from it a sufficient notion of the central character of " the Principality of Waldeck" connected securely with that important German word; 'woody'—or 'woodish,' I suppose? —descriptive of rock and half-grown forest; together with some wholesome reverence for Scott's instinctively deep foundations of nomenclature.

19. But for our present purpose we must also take seriously to our maps again, and get things within linear limits of space.

All the maps of Germany which I have myself the privilege of possessing, diffuse themselves, just north of Frankfort, into the likeness of a painted window broken small by Puritan malice, and put together again by ingenious churchwardens with every bit of it wrong side upwards;—this curious vitrerie purporting to represent the sixty, seventy, eighty, or ninety dukedoms, marquisates, counties, baronies, electorates, and the like, into which hereditary Alemannia cracked itself in that latitude. But under the mottling colours, and through the jotted and jumbled alphabets of distracted dignities—besides a chain-mail of black railroads over all, the chains of it not in links, but bristling with legs, like centepides,—a hard forenoon's work with good magnifying-glass enables one approximately to make out the course of the Weser, and the names of certain towns near its sources, deservedly memorable.

20. In case you have not a forenoon to spare, nor eyesight to waste, this much of merely necessary abstract may serve you,—that from the Drachenfels and its six brother felsen, eastward, trending to the north, there runs and spreads a straggling company of gnarled and mysterious craglets, jutting and scowling above glens fringed by coppice, and fretful or musical with stream: the crags, in pious ages, mostly castled, for distantly or fancifully Christian purposes;—the glens, resonant of woodmen, or burrowed at the sides by miners, and invisibly tenanted farther, underground, by gnomes, and above by forest and other demons. The entire district, clasping crag to crag, and guiding dell to dell, some hundred and fifty miles with intervals) between the Dragon mountain above Rhine, and the Rosin mountain, 'Hartz' shadowy still to the south of the riding grounds of Black Brunswickers of indisputable bodily presence;—shadowy anciently with 'Hercynian' (hedge, or fence) forest, corrupted or coinciding into Hartz, or Rosin forest, haunted by obscurely apparent foresters of at least resinous, not to say sulphurous, extraction.

21. A hundred and fifty miles east to west, say half as much north to south—about a thousand square miles in whole—of metalliferous, coniferous, and Ghostiferous mountain, fluent, and diffluent for us, both in mediaeval and recent times, with the most Essential oil of Turpentine, and Myrrh or Frankincense of temper and imagination, which may be typified by it, producible in Germany;—especially if we think how the more delicate uses of Rosin, as indispensable to the Fiddle-bow, have developed themselves, from the days of St. Elizabeth of Marburg to those of St. Mephistopheles of Weimar.

22. As far as I know, this cluster of wayward cliff and dingle has no common name as a group of hills; and it is quite impossible to make out the diverse branching of it in any maps I can lay hand on: but we may remember easily, and usefully, that it is all north of the Maine,—that it rests on the Drachenfels at one end, and tosses itself away to the morning light with a concave swoop, up to the Hartz, (Brocken summit, 3700 feet above sea, nothing higher): with one notable interval for Weser stream, of which presently.

23. We will call this, in future, the chain, or company, of the Enchanted mountains; and then we shall all the more easily join on the Giant mountains, Riesen-Gebirge, when we want them: but these are altogether higher, sterner, and not yet to be invaded; the nearer ones, through which our road lies, we might perhaps more patly call the Goblin mountains; but that would be scarcely reverent to St. Elizabeth, nor to the numberless pretty chatelaines of towers, and princesses of park and glen, who have made German domestic manners sweet and exemplary, and have led their lightly rippling and translucent lives down the glens of ages, until enchantment becomes, perhaps, too canonical, in the Almanach de Gotha.

We will call them therefore the Enchanted Mountains, not the Goblin; perceiving gratefully also that the Rock spirits of them have really much more of the temper of fairy physicians than of gnomes: each—as it were with sensitive hazel wand instead of smiting rod—beckoning, out of sparry caves, effervescent Brunnen, beneficently salt and warm.

24. At the very heart of this Enchanted chain, then—(and the beneficentest, if one use it and guide it rightly, of all the Brunnen there,) sprang the fountain of the earliest Frank race; "in the principality of Waldeck,"—you can trace their current to no farther source; there it rises out of the earth.

'Frankenberg' (Burg), on right bank of the Eder, nineteen miles north of Marburg, you may find marked clearly in the map No. 18 of Black's General Atlas, wherein the cluster of surrounding bewitched mountains, and the valley of Eder-stream otherwise (as the viliage higher up the dell still calls itself) "Engel-Bach," "Angel Brook," joining that of the Fulda, just above Cassel, are also delineated in a way intelligible to attentive mortal eyes. I should be plagued with the names in trying a woodcut; but a few careful pen-strokes, or wriggles, of your own off-hand touching, would give you the concurrence of the actual sources of Weser in a comfortably extricated form, with the memorable towns on them, or just south of them, on the other slope of the watershed, towards Maine. Frankenberg and Waldeck on Eder, Fulda and Cassel on Fulda, Eisenbach on Werra, who accentuates himself into Weser after taking Fulda for bride, as Tees the Greta, by Eisenach, under the Wartzburg, (of which you have heard as a castle employed on Christian mission and Bible Society purposes), town-streets below hard paved with basalt—name of it, Iron-ach, significant of Thuringian armouries in the old time,—it is active with mills for many things yet.

25. The rocks all the way from Rhine, thus far, are jets and spurts of basalt through irony stone, with a strip of coal or two northward, by the grace of God not worth digging for; at Frankenberg even a gold mine; also, by Heaven's mercy, poor of its ore; but wood and iron always to be had for the due trouble; and, of softer wealth above ground,—game, corn, fruit, flax, wine, wool, and hemp! Monastic care over all, in Fulda's and Walter's houses—which I find marked by a cross as built by some pious Walter, Knight of Meiningen on the Boden-wasser, Bottom water, as of water having found its way well down at last: so "Boden-See," of Rhine well got down out of Via Mala.

26. And thus, having got your springs of Weser clear from the rock; and, as it were, gathered up the reins of your river, you can draw for yourself, easily enough, the course of its farther stream, flowing virtually straight north, to the North Sea. And mark it strongly on your sketched map of Europe, next to the border Vistula, leaving out Elbe yet for a time. For now, you may take the whole space between Weser and Vistula (north of the mountains), as wild barbarian (Saxon or Goth); but, piercing the source of the Franks at Waldeck, you will find them gradually, but swiftly, filling all the space between Weser and the mouths of Rhine, passing from mountain foam into calmer diffusion over the Netherland, where their straying forest and pastoral life has at last to embank itself into muddy agriculture, and in bleak-flying sea mist, forget the sunshine on its basalt crags.

27. Whereupon, we must also pause, to embank ourselves somewhat; and before other things, try what we can understand in this name of Frank, concerning which Gibbon tells us, in his sweetest tones of satisfied moral serenity—"The love of liberty was the ruling passion of these Germans. They deserved, they assumed, they maintained, the honourable epithet of Franks, or Freemen." He does not, however, tell us in what language of the time—Chaucian, Sicambrian, Chamavian, or Cattian,—'Frank' ever meant Free: nor can I find out myself what tongue of any time it first belongs to; but I doubt not that Miss Yonge ('History of Christian Names,' Articles on Frey and Frank), gives the true root, in what she calls the High German "Frang," Free Lord. Not by any means a Free Commoner, or anything of the sort! but a person whose nature and name implied the existence around him, and beneath, of a considerable number of other persons who were by no means 'Frang,' nor Frangs. His title is one of the proudest then maintainable;—ratified at last by the dignity of age added to that of valour, into the Seigneur, or Monseigneur, not even yet in the last cockney form of it, 'Mossoo' wholly understood as a republican term!

28. So that, accurately thought of, the quality of Frankness glances only with the flat side of it into any meaning of 'Libre' but with all its cutting edge, determinedly, and to all time, it signifies Brave, strong, and honest, above other men.[6] The old woodland race were never in any wolfish sense 'free,' but in a most human sense Frank, out-spoken, meaning what they had said, and standing to it, when they had got it out. Quick and clear in word and act, fearless utterly and restless always; — but idly lawless, or weakly lavish, neither in deed nor word. Their frankness, if you read it as a scholar and a Christian, and not like a modern half-bred, half-brained infidel, knowing no tongue of all the world but in the slang of it, is really opposed, not to Servitude,—but to Shyness![7] It is to this day the note of the sweetest and Frenchest of French character, that it makes simply perfect Servants. Unwearied in protective friendship, in meekly dextrous omnificence, in latent tutorship; the lovingly availablest of valets,—the mentally and personally bonniest of bonnes. But in no capacity shy of you! Though you be the Duke or Duchess of Montaltissimo, you will not find them abashed at your altitude. They will speak 'up' to you, when they have a mind.

29. Best of servants: best of subjects, also, when they have an equally frank King, or Count, or Captal, to lead them; of which we shall see proof enough in due time;—but, instantly, note this farther, that, whatever side-gleam of the thing they afterwards called Liberty may be meant by the Frank name, you must at once now, and always in future, guard yourself from confusing their Liberties with their Activities. What the temper of the army may be towards its chief, is one question—whether either chief or army can be kept six months quiet,—another, and a totally different one. That they must either be fighting somebody or going somewhere, else, their life isn't worth living to them; the activity and mercurial flashing and flickering hither and thither, which in the soul of it is set neither on war nor rapine, but only on change of place, mood—tense, and tension;—which never needs to see its spurs in the dish, but has them always bright, and on, and would ever choose rather to ride fasting than sit feasting,—this childlike dread of being put in a corner, and continual want of something to do, is to be watched by us with wondering sympathy in all its sometimes splendid, but too often unlucky or disastrous consequences to the nation itself as well as to its neighbours.

30. And this activity, which we stolid beef-eaters, before we had been taught by modern science that we were no better than baboons ourselves, were wont discourteously to liken to that of the livelier tribes of Monkey, did in fact so much impress the Hollanders, when first the ingenious Franks gave motion and current to their marshes, that the earliest heraldry in which we find the Frank power blazoned seems to be founded on a Dutch endeavour to give some distantly satirical presentment of it. "For," says a most ingenious historian, Mons. André . Favine,—'Parisian, and Advocate in the High Court of the French Parliament in the year 1620'—"those people who bordered on the river Sala, called 'Salts,' by the Allemaignes, were on their descent into Dutch lands called by the Romans "Franci Salici"—(whence 'Salique' law to come, you observe) " and by abridgment 'Salii,' as if of the verb 'salire,' that is to say 'saulter,' to leap "—(and in future therefore—duly also to dance—in an incomparable manner)—"to be quicke and nimble of foot, to leap and mount well, a quality most notably requisite for such as dwell in watrie and marshy places; So that while such of the French as dwelt on the great course of the river "(Rhine)" were called 'Nageurs,' Swimmers, they of the marshes were called 'Saulteurs' Leapers, so that it was a nickname given to the French in regard both of their natural disposition and of their dwelling; as, yet to this day, their enemies call them French Toades, (or Frogs, more properly) from whence grew the fable that their ancient Kings carried such creatures in their Armes."

31. Without entering at present into debate whether fable or not, you will easily remember the epithet 'Salian' of these fosse-leaping and river swimming folk, (so that, as aforesaid, all the length of Rhine must be refortified against them)—epithet however, it appears, in its origin delicately Saline, so that we may with good discretion, as we call our seasoned Mariners, 'old Salts,' think of these more brightly sparkling Franks as 'Young Salts,'—but this equivocated presently by the Romans, with natural respect to their martial fire and elan,' into 'Salii'—exsultantes,[8]—such as their own armed priests pf war: and by us now with some little farther, but slight equivocation, into useful meaning, to be thought of as here first Salient, as a beaked promontory, towards the France we know of; and evermore, in brilliant elasticities of temper, a salient or out-sallying nation; lending to us English presently—for this much of heraldry we may at once glance on to—their 'Leopard,' not as a spotted or blotted creature, but as an inevitably springing and pouncing one, for our own kingly and princely shields.

Thus much, of their 'Salian' epithet may be enough; but from the interpretation of the Frankish one we are still as far as ever, and must be content, in the meantime, to stay so, noting however two ideas afterwards entangled with the name, which are of much descriptive importance to us.

32. "The French poet in the first book of his Franciades " (says Mons. Favine; but what poet I know not, nor can enquire) " encounters " (in the sense of en-quarters, or depicts as a herald) " certain fables on the name of the French by the adoption and composure of two Gaulish words joyned together, Phere-Encos which signifieth ' Beare-Launce,' (—Shake-Lance, we might perhaps venture to translate,) a lighter weapon than the Spear beginning here to quiver in the hand of its chivalry—and Fere-encos then passing swiftly on the tongue into Francos;"—a derivation not to be adopted, but the idea of the weapon most carefully,—together with this following—that "among the arms of the ancient French, over and beside the Launce, was the Battaile-Axe, which they called Anchon, and moreover, yet to this day, in many Provinces of France, it is termed an Achon, wherewith they served themselves in warre, by throwing it a farre off at joyning with the enemy, onely to discover the man and to cleave his shield. Because this Achon was darted with such violence, as it would cleave the Shield, and compell the Maister thereof to hold down his arm, and being so discovered, as naked or unarmed; it made way for the sooner surprizing of him. It seemeth, that this weapon was proper and particuler to the French Souldior, as well him on foote, as on horsebacke. For this cause they called it Franciscus. Francisca, securis oblonga, quam Franci librabant in Hostes. For the Horseman, beside his shield and Francisca (Armes common, as wee have said, to the Footman), had also the Lance, which being broken, and serving to no further effect, he laid hand on his Francisca, as we learn the use of that weapon in the Archbishop of Tours, his second book, and twenty-seventh chapter."

33. It is satisfactory to find how respectfully these lessons of the Archbishop of Tours were received by the French knights; and curious to see the preferred use of the Francisca by all the best of them—down, not only to Cceur de Lion's time, but even to the day of Poitiers. In the last wrestle of the battle at Poitiers gate, " Là, fit le Roy Jehan de sa main, merveilles d'armes, et tenoit une hache de guerre dont bien se deffendoit et combattoit,—si la quartre partie de ses gens luy eussent ressemble, la journee eust ete pour eux." Still more notably, in the episode of fight which Froissart stops to tell just before, between the Sire de Verclef, (on Severn) and the Picard squire Jean de Helennes: the Englishman, losing his sword, dismounts to recover it, on which Helennes casts his own at him with such aim and force " qu'il acconsuit l'Anglois es cuisses, tellement que l'espée entra dedans et le cousit tout parmi, jusqu'au hans."

On this the knight rendering himself, the squire binds his wound, and nurses him, staying fifteen days 'pour l'amour de lui' at Chasteleraut, while his life was in danger; and afterwards carrying him in a litter all the way to his own chastel in Picardy. His ransom however is 6000 nobles—I suppose about 25,000 pounds, of our present estimate; and you may set down for one of the fatallest signs that the days of chivalry are near their darkening, how "devint celuy Escuyer, Chevalier, pour le grand profit qu'il eut du Seigneur de Verclef."

I return gladly to the dawn of chivalry, when, every hour and year, men were becoming more gentle and more wise; while, even through their worst cruelty and error, native qualities of noblest cast may be seen asserting themselves for primal motive, and submitting themselves for future training.

34. We have hitherto got no farther in our notion of a Salian Frank than a glimpse of his two principal weapons,—the shadow of him, however, begins to shape itself to us on the mist of the Brocken, bearing the lance light, passing into the javelin,—but the axe, his woodman's weapon, heavy;—for economical reasons, in scarcity of iron, preferablest of all weapons, giving the fullest swing and weight of blow with least quantity of actual metal, and roughest forging. Gibbon gives them also a 'weighty' sword, suspended from a 'broad' belt: but Gibbon's epithets are always gratis, and the belted sword, whatever its measure, was probably for the leaders only; the belt, itself of gold, the distinction of the Roman Counts, and doubtless adopted from them by the allied Frank leaders, afterwards taking the Pauline mythic meaning of the girdle of Truth— and so finally; the chief mark of Belted Knighthood.

35. The Shield, for all, was round, wielded like a Highlander's target:—armour, presumably, nothing but hard-tanned leather, or patiently close knitted hemp; "Their close apparel," says Mr. Gibbon, "accurately expressed the figure of their limbs," but 'apparel' is only Miltonic-Gibbonian for 'nobody knows what' He is more intelligible of their persons. "The lofty stature of the Franks, and their blue eyes, denoted a Germanic origin; the warlike barbarians were trained from their earliest youth to run, to leap, to swim, to dart the javelin and battle-axe with unerring aim, to advance without hesitation against a superior enemy, and to maintain either in life or death, the invincible reputation of their ancestors" (vi. 95). For the first time, in 358, appalled by the Emperor Julian's victory at Strasburg, and besieged by him upon the Meuse, a body of six hundred Franks "dispensed with the ancient law which commanded them to conquer or die." "Although they were strongly actuated by the allurements of rapine, they professed a disinterested love of war, which they considered as the supreme honour and felicity of human nature; and their minds and bodies were so hardened by perpetual action that, according to the lively expression of an orator, the snows of winter were as pleasant to them as the flowers of spring " (iii. 220).

36. These mental and bodily virtues, or indurations, were probably universal in the military rank of the nation: but we learn presently, with surprise, of so remarkably 'free' a people, that nobody but the King and royal family might wear their hair to their own liking. The kings wore theirs in flowing ringlets on the back and shoulders,—the Queens, in tresses rippling to their feet,—but all the rest of the nation "were obliged, either by law or custom, to shave the hinder part of their head, to comb their short hair over their forehead, and to content themselves with the ornament of two small whiskers."

37. Moustaches,—Mr. Gibbon means, I imagine: and I take leave also to suppose that the nobles, and noble ladies, might wear such tress and ringlet as became them. But again, we receive unexpectedly embarrassing light on the democratic institutions of the Franks, in being told that "the various trades, the labours of agriculture, and the arts of hunting and fishing, were exercised by servile hands for the emolument of the Sovereign."

'Servile' and 'Emolument,' however, though at first they sound very dreadful and very wrong, are only Miltonic-Gibbonian expressions of the general fact that the Frankish Kings had ploughmen in their fields, employed weavers and smiths to make their robes and swords, hunted with huntsmen, hawked with falconers, and were in other respects tyrannical to the ordinary extent that an English Master of Hounds may be. "The mansion of the long-haired Kings was surrounded with convenient yards and stables for poultry and cattle; the garden was planted with useful vegetables; the magazines filled with corn and wine either for sale or consumption; and the whole administration conducted by the strictest rules of private economy."

38. I have collected these imperfect, and not always extremely consistent, notices of the aspect and temper of the Franks out of Mr. Gibbon's casual references to them during a period of more than two centuries,—and the last passage quoted, which he accompanies with the statement that "one hundred and sixty of these rural palaces were scattered through the provinces of their kingdom," without telling us what kingdom, or at what period, must I think be held descriptive of the general manner and system of their monarchy after the victories of Clovis. But, from the first hour you hear of him, the Frank, closely considered, is always an extremely ingenious, well meaning, and industrious personage;—if eagerly acquisitive, also intelligently conservative and constructive; an element of order and crystalline edification, which is to consummate itself one day, in the aisles of Amiens; and things generally insuperable and impregnable, if the inhabitants of them had been as sound-hearted as their builders, for many a day beyond.

39. But for the present, we must retrace our ground a little; for indeed I have lately observed with compunction, in re-reading some of my books for revised issue, that if ever I promise, in one number or chapter, careful consideration of any particular point in the next, the next never does touch upon the promised point at all, but is sure to fix itself passionately on some antithetic, antipathic, or antipodic, point in the opposite hemisphere. This manner of conducting a treatise I find indeed extremely conducive to impartiality and largeness of view; but can conceive it to be—to the general reader—not only disappointing, (if indeed I may flatter myself that I ever interest enough to disappoint), but even liable to confirm in his mind some of the fallacious and extremely absurd insinuations of adverse critics respecting my inconsistency, vacillation, and liability to be affected by changes of the weather in my principles or opinions. I purpose, therefore, in these historical sketches, at least to watch, and I hope partly to correct myself in this fault of promise breaking, and at whatever sacrifice of my variously fluent or re-fluent humour, to tell in each successive chapter in some measure what the reader justifiably expects to be told.

40. I left, merely glanced at, in my opening chapter, the story of the vase of Soissons. It may be found (and it is very nearly the only thing that is to be found respecting the personal life or character of the first Louis) in every cheap popular history of France; with cheap popular moralities engrafted thereon. Had I time to trace it to its first sources, perhaps it might take another aspect. But I give it as you may anywhere find it—asking you only to consider whether even as so read—it may not properly bear a somewhat different moral.

41. The story is, then, that after the battle of Soissons, in the division of Roman, or Gallic spoil, the king wished to have a beautifully wrought silver vase for—'himself' I was going to write—and in my last chapter 'did mistakenly infer that he wanted it for his better self,—his Queen. But he wanted it for neither;—it was to restore to St. Remy, that it might remain among the consecrated treasures of Rheims. That is the first point on which the popular histories do not insist, and which one of his warriors claiming equal division of treasure, chose also to ignore. The vase was asked by the King in addition to his own portion, and the Frank knights, while they rendered true obedience to their king as a leader, had not the smallest notion of allowing him what more recent kings call 'Royalties'—taxes on everything they touch. And one of these Frank knights or Counts—a little franker than the rest—and as incredulous of St. Remy's saintship as a Protestant Bishop, or Positivist Philosopher—took upon him to dispute the King's and the Church's claim, in the manner, suppose, of a Liberal opposition in the House of Commons; and disputed it with such security of support by the public opinion of the fifth century, that—the king persisting in his request—the fearless soldier dashed the vase to pieces with his war-axe, exclaiming "Thou shalt have no more than thy portion by lot."

42. It is the first clear assertion of French 1 Liberté, Fraternité and Egalité,' supported, then, as now, by the destruction, which is the only possible active operation of " free " personages, on the art they cannot produce.

The king did not continue the quarrel. Cowards will think that he paused in cowardice, and malicious persons, that he paused in malignity. He did pause in anger assuredly ; but biding its time, which the anger of a strong man always can, and burn hotter for the waiting, which is one of the chief reasons for Christians being told not to let the sun go down upon it. Precept which Christians now-a-days are perfectly ready to obey, if it is somebody else who has been injured; and indeed, the difficulty in such cases is usually to get them to think of the injury even while the Sun rises on their wrath.[9]

43. The sequel is very shocking indeed—to modern sensibility. I give it in the, if not polished, at least delicately varnished, language of the Pictorial History.

"About a year afterwards, on reviewing his troops, he went to the man who had struck the vase, and examining his arms, complained that they were in bad condition!" (Italics mine) "and threw them" (What? shield and sword?) on the ground. The soldier stooped to recover them; and at that moment the King struck him on the head with his battle-axe, crying 'Thus didst thou to the vase at Soissons.'" The Moral modern historian proceeds to reflect that "this—as an evidence of the condition of the Franks, and of the ties by which they were united, gives but the idea of a band of Robbers and their chief." Which is, indeed, so far as I can myself look into and decipher the nature of things, the Primary idea to be entertained respecting most of the kingly and military organizations in this world, down to our own day; and, (unless perchance it be the Afghans and Zulus who are stealing our lands in England—instead of we theirs, in their several countries.) But concerning the manner of this piece of military execution, I must for the present leave the reader to consider with himself, whether indeed it be less Kingly, or more savage, to strike an uncivil soldier on the head with one's own battle-axe, than, for instance, to strike a person like Sir Thomas More on the neck with an executioner's,—using for the mechanism, and as it were guillotine bar and rope to the blow—the manageable forms of National Law, and the gracefully twined intervention of a polite group of noblemen and bishops.

44. Far darker things have to be told of him than this, as his proud life draws towards the close,—things which, if any of us could see clear through darkness, you should be told in all the truth of them. But we never can know the truth of Sin; for its nature is to deceive alike on the one side the Sinner, on the other the Judge. Diabolic—betraying whether we yield to it, or condemn: Here is Gibbon's sneer—if you care for it; but I gather first from the confused paragraphs which conduct to it, the sentences of praise, less niggard than the Sage of Lausanne usually grants to any hero who has confessed the influence of Christianity.

45. "Clovis, when he was no more than fifteen years of age, succeeded, by his father's death, to the command of the Salian tribe. The narrow limits of his kingdom were confined to the island of the Batoerans, with the ancient dioceses of Tournay and Arras; and at the baptism of Clovis, the number of his warriors could not exceed five thousand. The kindred tribes of the Franks who had seated themselves along the Scheldt, the Meuse, the Moselle, and the Rhine, were governed by their independent kings, of the Merovingian race, the equals, the allies, and sometimes the enemies of the Salic Prince. When he first took the field he had neither gold nor silver in his coffers, nor wine and corn in his magazines; but he imitated the example of Caesar, who in the same country had acquired wealth by the sword, and purchased soldiers with the fruits of conquest. The untamed spirit of the Barbarians was taught to acknowledge the advantages of regular discipline. At the annual review of the month of March, their arms were diligently inspected; and when they traversed a peaceful territory they were prohibited from touching a blade of grass. The justice of Clovis was inexorable; and his careless or disobedient soldiers were punished with instant death. It would be superfluous to praise the valour of a Frank; but the valour of Clovis was directed by cool and consummate prudence. In all his transactions with mankind he calculated the weight of interest, of passion, and of opinion; and his measures were sometimes adapted to the sanguinary manners of the Germans, and sometimes moderated by the milder genius of Rome, and Christianity.

46. "But the savage conqueror of Gaul was incapable of examining the proofs of a religion, which depends on the laborious investigation of historic evidence, and speculative theology. He was still more incapable of feeling the mild influence of the Gospel, which persuades and purifies the heart of a genuine convert. His ambitious reign was a perpetual violation of moral and Christian duties: his hands were stained with blood, in peace as well as in war; and, as soon as Clovis had dismissed a synod of the Gallican Church, he calmly assassinated all the princes of the Merovingian race."

47. It is too true; but rhetorically put, in the first place—for we ought to be told how many 'all' the princes were;—in the second place, we must note that, supposing Clovis had in any degree "searched the Scriptures " as presented to the Western world by St. Jerome, he was likely, as a soldier-king, to have thought more of the mission of Joshua[10] and Jehu than of the patience of Christ, whose sufferings he thought rather of avenging than imitating: and the question whether the other Kings of the Franks should either succeed him, or, in envy of his enlarged kingdom, attack and dethrone, was easily in his mind convertible from a personal danger into the chance of the return of the whole nation to idolatry. And, in the last place, his faith in the Divine protection of his cause had been shaken by his defeat before Aries by the Ostrogoths; and the Frank leopard had not so wholly changed his spots as to surrender to an enemy the opportunity of a first spring.

48. Finally, and beyond all these personal questions, the forms of cruelty and subtlety—the former, observe, arising much out of a scorn of pain which was a condition of honour in their women as well as men, are in these savage races all founded on their love of glory in war, which can only be understood by comparing what remains of the same temper in the higher castes of the North American Indians; and, before tracing in final clearness the actual events of the reign of Clovis to their end, the reader will do well to learn this list of the personages of the great Drama, taking to heart the meaning of the name of each, both in its probable effect on the mind of its bearer, and in its fateful expression of the course of their acts, and the consequences of it to future generations.

I. Clovis. Frank form, Hluodoveh. 'Glorious Holiness', or consecration. Latin Choldovisus, when baptized by St. Remy, softening afterwards through the centuries into Lhodovisus, Ludovicus, Louis.

2. Albofleda. 'White household fairy'? His youngest sister; married Theodoric (Theutreich, 'People's ruler '), the great King of the Ostrogoths.

3. Clotilde. Hlod-hilda. 'Glorious Battle-maid' His wife. 'Hilda' first meaning Battle, pure; and then passing into Queen or Maid of Battle. Christianized to Ste Clotilde in France, and Ste Hilda of Whitby cliff.

3. Clotilde. His only daughter. Died for the Catholic faith, under Arian persecution.

4. Childebert. His eldest son by Clotilde, the first Frank King in Paris. 'Battle Splendour,' softening into Hildebert, and then Hildebrandt, as in the Nibelung.

5. Chlodomir. 'Glorious Fame.' His second son by Clotilde.

6. Clotaire. His youngest son by Clotilde; virtually the destroyer of his father's house. 'Glorious Warrior.'

7. Chlodowald. Youngest son of Chlodomir. Glorious Power,' afterwards ' St. Cloud.'

49. I will now follow straight, through their light and shadow, the course of Clovis' reign and deeds.

A.D. 481. Crowned, when he was only fifteen. Five years afterwards, he challenges, "in the spirit, and almost in the language of chivalry," the Roman governor Syagrius, holding the district of Rheims and Soissons. "Campum sibi praeparari jussit—he commanded his antagonist to prepare him a battle field"—see Gibbon's note and reference, chap, xxxviii. (6,297). The Benedictine abbey of Nogent was afterwards built on the field, marked by a circle of Pagan sepulchres. "Clovis bestowed the adjacent lands of Leuilly and Coucy on the church of Rheims."[11]

A.D. 485. The Battle of Soissons. Not dated by Gibbon: the subsequent death of Syagrius at the court of (the younger) Alaric, was in 486—take 485 for the battle.

50. A.D. 493. I cannot find any account of the relations between Clovis and the King of Burgundy, the uncle of Clotilde, which preceded his betrothal to the orphan princess. Her uncle, according to the common history, had killed both her father and mother, and compelled her sister to take the veil— motives none assigned, nor authorities. Clotilde herself was pursued on her way to France, [12] and the litter in which she travelled captured, with part of her marriage portion. But the princess herself mounted on horseback, and rode, with part of her escort, forward into France, "ordering her attendants to set fire to everything that pertained to her uncle and his subjects which they might meet with on the way."

51. The fact is not chronicled, usually, among the sayings or doings of the Saints: but the punishment of Kings by destroying the property of their subjects, is too well recognized a method of modern Christian warfare to allow our indignation to burn hot against Clotilde; driven, as she was, hard by grief and wrath. The years of her youth are not counted to us; Clovis was already twenty-seven, and for three years maintained the faith of his ancestral religion against all the influence of his queen.

52. A.D. 496. I did not in the opening chapter attach nearly enough importance to the battle of Tolbiac, thinking of it as merely compelling the Alemanni to recross the Rhine, and establishing the Frank power on its western bank. But infinitely wider results are indicated in the short sentence with which Gibbon closes his account of the battle. "After the conquest of the western provinces, the Franks alone retained their ancient possessions beyond the Rhine. They gradually subdued and civilized the exhausted countries as far as the Elbe and the mountains of Bohemia; and the peace of Europe was secured by the obedience of Germany."

53. For, in the south, Theodoric had already "sheathed the sword in the pride of victory and the vigour of his age—and his farther reign of three and thirty years was consecrated to the duties of civil government." Even when his son-in-law, Alaric, fell by Clovis' hand in the battle of Poitiers, Theodoric was content to check the Frank power at Aries, without pursuing his success, and to protect his infant grandchild, correcting at the same time some abuses in the civil government of Spain. So that the healing sovereignty of the great Goth was established from Sicily to the Danube—and from Sirmium to the Atlantic ocean.

54. Thus, then, at the close of the fifth century, you have Europe divided simply by her watershed; and two Christian kings reigning, with entirely beneficent and healthy power—one in the north—one in the south—the mightiest and worthiest of them married to the other's youngest sister: a saint queen in the north—and a devoted and earnest Catholic woman, queen mother in the south. It is a conjunction of things memorable enough in the Earth's history,—much to be thought of, oh fast whirling reader, if ever, out of the crowd of pent up cattle driven across Rhine, or Adige, you can extricate yourself for an hour, to walk peacefully out of the south gate of Cologne, or across Fra Giocondo's bridge at Verona—and so pausing look through the clear air across the battlefield of Tolbiac to the blue Drachenfels, or across the plain of St. Ambrogio to the mountains of Garda. For there were fought—if you will think closely—the two victor-battles of the Christian world. Constantine's only gave changed form and dying colour to the falling walls of Rome; but the Frank and Gothic races, thus conquering and thus ruled, founded the arts and established the laws which gave to all future Europe her joy, and her virtue. And it is lovely to see how, even thus early, the Feudal chivalry depended for its life on the nobleness of its womanhood. There was no vision seen, or alleged, at Tolbiac. The King prayed simply to the God of Clotilde. On the morning of the battle of Verona, Theodoric visited the tent of his mother and his sister, "and requested that on the most illustrious festival of his life, they would adorn him with the rich garments which they had worked with their own hands."

55. But over Clovis, there was extended yet another influence—greater than his queen's. When his kingdom was first extended to the Loire, the shepherdess of Nanterre was already aged,—no torch-bearing maid of battle, like Clotilde, no knightly leader of deliverance like Jeanne, but grey in meekness of wisdom, and now "filling more and more with crystal light." Clovis's father had known her; he himself made her his friend, and when he left Paris on the campaign of Poitiers, vowed that if victorious, he would build a Christian church on the hills of Seine. He returned in victory, and with St. Genevieve at his side, stood on the site of the ruined Roman Thermae, just above the "Isle" of Paris, to fulfil his vow: and to design the limits of the foundations of the first metropolitan church of Frankish Christendom.

The King "gave his battle-axe the swing," and tossed it with his full force. Measuring with its flight also, the place of his own grave, and of Clotilde's, and St. Genevieve's. There they rested, and rest,—in soul,—together. "La Colline tout entiere porte encore le nom de la patronne de Paris; une petite rue obscure a garde celui du Roi Conquerant.'

The Bible of Amiens Plate III Amiens.jpg

Drawn by J Ruskin Engraved by G Allen

Plate III


  1. Miss Ingelow.
  2. On inquiry, I find in the flat between Paris and Sèvres.
  3. See generally any description that Carlyle has had occasion to give of Prussian or Polish ground, or edge of Baltic shore.
  4. Gigantic—and not yet fossilized! See Gibbon's note on the death of Theodebert: "The King pointed his spear—the Bull overturned a tree on his head,—he died the same day."—vii. 255. The Horn of Uri and her shield, with the chiefly towering crests of the German helm, attest the terror of these Aurochs herds.
  5. Claudius, Aurelian, Probus, Constantius; and after the division of the empire, to the East, Justinian. "The emperor Justinian was born of an obscure race of Barbarians, the inhabitants of a wild and desolate country, to which the names of Dardania, of Dacia, and of Bulgaria have been successively applied. The names of these Dardanian peasants are Gothic, and almost English. Justinian is a translation of Uprauder (upright); his father, Sabatius,—in Graeco-barbarous language, Stipes—was styled in his village 'Istock' (Stock)."—Gibbon, beginning of chap. xl. and note.
  6. Gibbon touches the facts more closely in a sentence of his 22nd chapter. "The independent warriors of Germany, who considered truth as the noblest of their virtues, and freedom as the most valuable of their possessions." He is speaking especially of the Frankish tribe of the Actuarii, against whom the Emperor Julian had to re-fortify the Rhine from Cleves to Basle: but the first letters of the Emperor Jovian, after Julian's death, "delegated the military command of Gaul and Illyrium (what a vast one it was, we shall see hereafter), to Malarich, a brave and faithful officer of the nation of the Franks;" and they remain the loyal allies of Rome in her last struggle with Alaric. Apparently for the sake only of an interesting variety of language,—and at all events without intimation of any causes of so great a change in the national character,—we find Mr. Gibbon in his next volume suddenly adopting the abusive epithets of Procopius, and calling the Franks "a light and perfidious nation" (vii. 251). The only traceable grounds for this unexpected description of them are that they refuse to be bribed either into friendship or activity, by Rome or Ravenna; and that in his invasion of Italy, the grandson of Clovis did not previously send exact warning of his proposed route, nor even entirely signify his intentions till he had secured the bridge of the Po at Pavia; afterwards declaring his mind with sufficient distinctness by "assaulting, almost at the same instant, the hostile camps of the Goths and Romans, who, instead of uniting their arms, fled with equal precipitation."
  7. For detailed illustration of the word, see ' Vald'Arno,' Lecture VIII.; ' Fors Clavigera,' Letters XLVI. 231, LXXVII. 137 ; and Chaucer, ' Romaunt of Rose,' 1212 — "Next him" (the knight sibbe to Arthur) " daunced dame Franchise;" — the English lines are quoted and com- mented on in the first lecture of ' Ariadne Florentina ' ; I give the French here:—

    "Apres tous ceulx estoit Franchise
    Que ne fut ne brune ne brise.
    Ains fut comme la neige blanche
    Courtoyse estoit, joyeuse, et franchie.
    Le nez avoit long et tretis,
    Yeulx vers, riants; sourcilz faitis ;
    Les cheveulx eut tres-blons et longs
    Simple fut comme les coulous
    Le cceur eut doulx et debonnaire.
    Elle n'osait dire nefaire
    Nulle riens que fair e ne deust."

    And I hope my girl readers will never more confuse Franchise with 'Liberty.'

  8. Their first mischievous exsultation into Alsace being invited by the Romans themselves, (or at least by Constantius in his jealousy of Julian,)—with "presents and promises,—the hopes of spoil, and a perpetual grant of all the territories they were able to subdue." Gibbon, chap. xix. (3, 208). By any other historian than Gibbon, who has really no fixed opinion on any character, or question, but, safe in the general truism that the worst men sometimes do right, and the best often do wrong, praises when he wants to round a sentence, and blames when he cannot otherwise edge one)—it might have startled us to be here told of the nation which "deserved, assumed, and maintained the honourable name of freemen," that "these undisciplined robbers treated as their natural enemies all the subjects of the empire who possessed any property which they were desirous of acquiring." The first campaign of Julian, which throws both Franks and Alemanni back across the Rhine, but grants the Salian Franks, under solemn oath, their established territory in the Netherlands, must be traced at another time.
  9. Read Mr. Plimsoll's article on coal mines for instance.
  10. The likeness was afterwards taken up by legend, and the walls of Angouleme, after the battle of Poitiers, are said to have fallen at the sound of the trumpets of Clovis. " A miracle," says Gibbon, "which may be reduced to the supposition that some clerical engineer had secretly undermined the foundations of the rampart." I cannot too often warn my honest readers against the modern habit of "reducing" all history whatever to ' the supposition that ' . . . etc., etc. The legend is of course the natural and easy expansion of a metaphor.
  11. When?—for this tradition, as well as that of the vase, points to a friendship between Clovis and St. Remy, and a singular respect on the King's side for the Christians of Gaul, though he was not yet himself converted.
  12. It is a curious proof of the want in vulgar historians of the slightest sense of the vital interest of anything they tell, that neither in Gibbon, nor in Messrs. Bussey and Gaspey, nor in the elaborate 'Histoire des Villes de France,' can I find, with the best research my winter's morning allows, what city was at this time the capital of Burgundy, or at least in which of its four nominal capitals,—Dijon, Besancon, Geneva, and Vienne,—Clotilde was brought up. The evidence seems to me in favour of Vienne—(called always by Messrs. B. and G., 'Vienna,' with what effect on the minds of their dimly geographical readers I cannot say)—the rather that Clotilde's mother is said to have been "thrown into the A hone with a stone round her neck." The author of the introduction to 'Bourgogne' in the 'Histoire des Villes' is so eager to get his little spiteful snarl at anything like religion anywhere, that he entirely forgets the existence of the first queen of France,—never names her, nor, as such, the place of her birth,—but contributes only to the knowledge of the young student this beneficial quota, that Gondeband, "plus politique que guerrier, trouva au milieu de ses controverses theologiques avec Avitus, eveque de Vienne, le temps de faire mourir ses trois freres et de recueillir leur heritage."

    The one broad fact which my own readers will find it well to remember is that Burgundy, at this time, by whatever king or victor tribe its inhabitants may be subdued, does practically include the whole of French Switzerland, and even of the German, as far east as Vindonissa:—the Reuss, from Vindonissa through Lucerne to the St. Gothard being its effective eastern boundary; that westward—it meant all Jura, and the plains of the Saone; and southward, included all Savoy and Dauphine. According to the author of 'La Suisse Historique' Clotilde was first addressed by Clovis's herald disguised as a beggar, while she distributed alms at the gate of St. Pierre at Geneva; and her departure and pursued flight into France were from Dijon.