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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 45



tidings of the wreck reached the court, but none dared communicate it to the king. At length, however, a Youthful page, at the request of Theobald de Blois, fell un his knees, and whispered to the impatient Henry, how the angry waters had, at one stroke, destroyed all on board the ill-fated vessel, deprived him of his beloved heir, and blighted all his longcherished plans. "You must not grieve, Sire," continued the page, "for the catastrophe is not the work of man, but the doing of the great IUder of all desti nies." "Grieve, forsooth!" exclaimed the king, who, during the recital, had become greatly excited. " By the devil's damnation, have you been cramming romances of hell into my cars, that I should become a raving maniac. The hope of my heart — -the prop of my crown — my poor AVilliam, dead! drowned ! Oh, my heart will burst! Yet, say quick, whence comes this tale of woe ! " As the tears of compassion moistened the cheeks of the little page, he replied, " Sire, believe me, it is all true as gospel ; every word that I have recited, you would have bad from the lips of Theobald de Blois, had he have dared to salute the ears of royalty with such unwelcome intelligence." " Oh, St. Mary, St. Mary ! that I shouldbave lived to hear this," exclaimed the king, who, overcome by tho shock, fell senseless on the floor. On recovering consciousness, his attendants removed him to his chamber, where, overwhelmed with sorrow, he lay for weeks on the bed of sickness, refusing food till life had almost given way. His heart was broken ; and although convalescence returned, never once, even to the day of his death, was his grief-furrowed countenance again brightened by the smile of gladness. Melancholy had firmly grasped his constitution, and his temper had become so soured and hasty, that his nobles, whom he frequently abnsedwith unkingly oaths, could scarcely endure his presence. It was evident that the throne being without a male heir, was the worm that corroded the king's heart ; therefore, Ralph, Archbishop of Canterbury—the successor of Anselm, whom death had snatched away in 1109—and other of hia peers and prelates, advised Henry to espouse the far-famed beautiful Adelicia, daughter of Godfrey Rarbatus, Duke of Lou va ine, In 1120, the king, with a numerous train, proceeded to Louvainc. The duke received him with great joy, and was so well pleased with the munificent dower he fixed on the fair Adelicia, that, after the betrothment, which was celebrated on the sixteenth of April, he willingly consigned England's future queen to her affianced lord. The royal pair, after a prosperous voyage, arrived in England, at the close of the year; and the nuptials were publicly solemnized, with great pomp, at Windsor, on the feast of Candlemas, January the twenty-fourth, 1121. It was at this marriage, that an important prerogative of the see of Canterbury was established. King Henry desired the solemn offices to be performed by his favourite short-sermon preacher, Koger, Bishop of Salisbury, but the aged Ralph, Archbishop of Canterbury, who was a great stickler for the prerogatives of his see, claimed the right as his, which he enforced by calling a council of the clergy, who solemnly pronounced, that in whatever part of the kingdom the king and queen might be, they were the sole parishioners of the Archbishop of Canterbury. This dispute delayed the celebration of the royal nuptials ; but, as the chagrined Beauclerc found it expedient to bow to the decision of the clergy, the learned primate performed the ceremony in triumph. Thwarted in the performance of his marriage ceremonials, the king resolved that on this occasion, himself and his bride should receive the insignia of royalty from the hands of his favourite prelate. The coronation took place at Westminster, on the day foRowing the marriage. But the old paralytic Ralph was not so easily to be deprived of the important right of crowning the king and queen. Tottering into the church, just as Roger lc Poer had hastily placed the crown on the brow of his royal master, he stopped the ceremony, smote the royal circlet from the offending monarch's


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