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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.

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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ.
Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 25



wretchedness and distraction. And, oh, William ! ho is my child, and were 1 hell-doomed for the act, still would I succour him in his distress, and with a mother's blessing lighten his woes. Kay, so much do 1 love him, that for his dear sake, I would dare any danger, do any deed. Ask me not, then, to enjoy the pomp of royalty, whilst he is pining in want and misery ; as a loving husband, you have no authority to impose such insensibility on a mother; and as an affectionate parent and honourable ruler, you are bound to accord that justice to our son Robert, which, were you in his station and he in yours, you would expect from his hands as a father." To William's further reproaches Matilda only replied with tears ; and the Conqueror, enraged by the conduct of her whom he could not cease to love, vented his wrath on her probably guiltless agent, Sampson, by ordering his eyes to be put out. But Matilda, who never deserted a friend in distress, enabled her terrified agent to escape the vengeance of her lord, by seeking refuge in lluche, a monastery of which she herself was patroness, and where, being shaven, and professed a monk immediately he entered, the soldiers who had tracked him thither were disappointed of their prey, as they durst not molest an eccle siastic. Nothing daunted by the arrival of the Conqueror, Robert, supported by the King of France, and the disaffected Norman nobles, boldly attacked Rouen, where he displayed great courage and military tact, and would have possessed himself of the castle, but for its more than ordinary strength, its powerful garrison, and the skill and undying bravery of its governor—Roger de Ivry. On taking the field against hisfilial foe, William speedily discovered that the son whom he had held in contempt, and in sultingly nicknamed Court hose, from his low stature, was possessed of military talents second only to his own, and that, if not vigorously overwhelmed with owerful forces, he would doubtless soon ecorae master of Normandy. William Rufus desired above all things, the downfall of his rebel brother ; and that he might support his father with all due honour in the field against him, he, before quitting England, had been knighted by Lanfranc, whom the King had elevated to the archbishopric of Canterbury. Aided by his beloved son, William Rufus, the Conqueror raised a powerful army, and hastened to crush the power and chastise the insolent disobedience of his son Robert and the rebels who supported his standard. The hostile forces met on the plains of Archrmbraye, near the castle of Gerheroy. The fight was fierce and bravely maintained on both sides. Towards evening, a portion of the king's troops shewed symptoms of giving way. Robert seized the propitious moment, and with a reserve of chosen veterans rushed upon them from the heights above with such overwhelming impetuosity, as at once to decide the fate of the day. The Conqueror galloped to and fro amongst his disheartened troops, and exerted his utmost to rally them, but in vain. Overcome with panic, they broke their ranks, and those that could not flee before the victors were mercilessly slaughtered. In the mêlée, Robert, unconscious against whom he tilted, wounded his father in the arm with his lance and unhorsed him, which so irritated the Conqueror, that, with a voice of thunder, he shouted, " Rescue, lieges ! rescue ! By the splendour of God ! would you desert your duke ?" As the well-knowrn voice rang through the ears of Robert, a shudder of horror thrilled his frame, he dropped his lance, dismounted, rushed to the duke, and raising him from the ground, exclaimed, " My father ! my poor father ! Oh, that I should live to sec this. Thank God," he continued, after glancing at the wound, "it is not mortal." Then, without daring to look up, be seated bis parent on his own horse, led him to a retired spot, and on his knees implored forgiveness for the crime he had unintentionally committed. But William, who in all his previous engagements had never lost a drop of blood, was too much exasperated at being overcome by the arm of the son whom c


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