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


Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain and the Ajoining Countries from the latter part of the reign of Edward II to the coronation of Henry IV in 12 volumes 

Chronicles of Enguerrand De Monstrelet (Sir John Froissart's Chronicles continuation) in 13 volumes 

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Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 50

provide a lamp to burn continually before his tomb. Although the private character of King Henry was blotted with many vices, there is much to approve in his public conduct. He was an able general, a deep-thinking ruler, a munificent patron of literature and refinement, an impartial administrator of justice, a promoter of commerce and trade, ana, in fine, says the Saxon Chronicle, " so good a king, that no man durst do wrong to another in his day. Peace he made for man and beast, whoso bare his burden of gold and silver, durst no man say him aught hut good." After a widowhood of about three years, Adelicia became the wife of the king's hereditary cup-bearer, William de Albini, Lord of Bcrkenham, in Norfolk. This lord, although unallied to royalty, was one of the most powerful and chivalrous barons in Europe. His grandfather won his lands by deeds of arms,. at the Battio of Hastings ; his father was a stalwart warrior, and he himself had by early valour obtained the surname of Strong Hand. The more marvellous than truthful legend of how Albini won this title is thus gravely recited in Dugdale's Baronage. " At a grand tournament held at Bourges, in 1137, Albini, after performing astonishing feats of prowess, carried off the prize amidst the bravos of the delighted spectators. Charmed by his courage and masculine beauty, Adelaide, the gay Queen Dowager of Prance, invited him to a rich banquet, and told him how she desired to become his wife ; but Albini answered, that his troth was already plighted to Adelicia, the widowed Queen of England. Whereat, Adelaide grew so discontent, that she enticed into a cave in her garden, in which she kept a fierce lion, when by means of a folding door, she thrust him into the den with the'savage beast. But the valiant knight had unhorsed too many sturdy warriors to he daunted by the presence of the blood-thirsty carnivora. He rushed upon the fierce animal, thrust his hand down the roaring throat, and tore the lion's heart out." But apart from romance, more authen tic history represents Albini as a wise and talented knight, in every respect worthy of the hand of England's Queen Dowager, Adelicia. By this union, which gave general satisfaction to the nation, Albini became possessed of the castle and honours of Arundel, as a portion of his wife's dower, and he therefore assumed the title of Earl of Arundel. During the period of peril and excitement that succeeded the death of King Henry, when, according to the Saxon chronicle, " there was great tribulation in the land, for every man that might soon robbed the other," Adelicia prudently retired from public life, and passed her days with Albini, the husband of her heart's choice, in the sequestered castle of Arundel. But although she did not publicly oppose the coronation of Stephen, a step which she had neither the power nor the right to take, she, nevertheless, received into her castle, with open arms, the Empress Matilda, who, with her half-brother, liobert, Earl of Gloucestcr, and a few trusty followers, had, in August, 1139, landed on the coast of Sussex, to dispute the crown with the usurper. Stephen was then at Marlborough, but on hearing of Matilda's landing, he marched with a hostile forco to Arundel Castle, and then demanded her as his prisoner. The kind-hearted Adelicia told the messenger that the Empress had partaken of her hospitality, not as Stephen's enemy, but as her relation, and that even were the walls of her castle being rased to the ground, the ties of kindred, and above all, the laws of courtesy, would prevent her from basely betraying her guest, whom, she trusted, Stephen, as a true knight, would permit to depart in peace to her brother. The monarch, moved by this appeal, or, what is more probable, by a fear of offending the leading nobles, who greatly respected the Queen Dowager, raised the siege, and actually provided the Empress with an escort to Bristol. From this period the name of Adelicia is not again mentioned by the Saxon chroniclers. But, according to Butkcn, bodily infirmity, and a desire to devote the close of her life to God, induced her,

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