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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 46



head, and then recommencing the coronation with due form, crowned and anointed Henry and his fair young bride. Adelicia, not unfrequently styled "the fair maid of lîrabant," was most nobly allied. Her father wras the lawful representative of Charlemagne ; her mother was the daughter of the Emperor Henry the Fourth, to whose son, Beauclerc had espoused his only legitimate daughter, Matilda, and her father's brother tilled the pontifical chair as Pope Calixtus. Like many of her illustrious ancestors, Adelicia wyas remarkable for her exquisite beauty, and her elegant accomplishments. Her skill and taste in embroidery appear to have been remarkable, as she embroidered a standard in silk and gold for her father, which became greatly celebrated for its beauty of design and exquisite finish. History has forgotten to record the date of her birth, and the events of her early years, hut the circumstances of her after-life render it probable that she had not seen twrcnty summers at the period of her marriage with Beauclerc. The young and beautiful Adelicia soon became a favourite with the people, and, in imitation of the bright deeds of lier predecessor, Matilda the Good, she, with queenly influence, upheld religion, morality, and good order, and afforded munificent encouragement to learningand refinement. Her court was graced by the presence of the most gifted and erudite scholars and minstrels of the times, and the rudely extemporised rhymes that had so charmed the ears of Matilda the Good, were, by her exalted taste, made to give place to the more elaborated productions of the graduates of Oxford or Paris, who could read Latin, and whose works were penned with glossy ink, and emblazoned with gold and vermilion, on milk white parchment. The example of the queen excited a spirit of emulation amongst the nobles of her court, and the conduct of the nobles again influenced their vassals, so that at thia period nothing was so fashionable as the pursuit or patronage of letters ; indeed, the love of literature, and the exalted taste of Bcauclerc and his consort, scattered the seeds of refinement and intellectual advancement so abundantly throughout the nation, that the civil wars of the succeeding reigns did but retard the future harvest. With a remarkable wisdom and grace, the youthful queen endeavoured to conform herself to the tastes of her royal lord. Henry loved magnificence, and above all, delighted to see his beautiful bride richly attired ; and Adelicia, who preferred a poem to a jewel, the quiet praises of the learned to the huzzas of tho multitude, so gratified his desire, that Henry of Huntingdon thus addressed her in his celebrated Latin verses. "Your crown and jewels, when compared to Howyou, poor your crown, how pale your jewels show ; Take off your rohc, your rich attire remove, Such pomp may load you, but can ne'er im prove. In vain your costly ornaments are worn, You they obscure, whilst others they adorn; Ah, what new lustres can these trifl.es give, Which sill their beauty from your charms receive ?" The king's taste for animals had induced him to enclose a park at Woodstock, and form what was probably the first menagerie erected in England ; and as the youthful Adelicia was no zoologist, the learned ecclesiastic, Philip de Thou, by her request, translated into Norman French a popular Latin work on the nature of animals, and the properties of precious stones. This treatise Adelicia studied with such especial care, that, savs a chronicler, " she could afterwards discourse about lions, bears, and unicorns, even more learnedly than Beauclerc himself."


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