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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 69



eneo to penitential solitude and earnest piety. Before taking this much-desired step, the aged Duke, in compliance with the earnest demand of his son St. William, offered the fair Eleanora in marriage to Louis le Jeune, the son of that French monarch who so strenuously farthered the advancement of his people, Louis the Sixth ; and to add to the value of the princely prize, he, in addition to her father's possessions, to which she was justly entitled, dowered her with all his own titles and territories. At this period, Eleanora was in her fourteenth year, and the barons of Aquitaine, after acquiescing to the arrangements of Duke William, swore fealty to her as his successor. The King of France was also so well pleased with tho prospects the union afforded, that he eagerly assented to the match, and his son Louis le Jeune, then in his nineteenth year, proceeded without delay to Uordeaux, where, in 1137, the luckless marriage was solemnized with great pomp, after which the bride's grandsire ceremoniously resigned the sovereignty of his realms to his youthful successors, and retired to a wild rocky cavern in tho vicinity of the shrine of St. James of Compostella, in Spain, where he ended his days in penance and prayer. Scarcely was the sedate Louis le Jeune inaugurated Duke of Aquitaine, when his lather breathed his last, and the French hailed him their sovereign. Aquitaine, however, was not united to France. Eleanora, the idol of her subjects, governed it as a separate state, and passed her time alturnately in Paris and in lìordeaux, her native capital. Although it is as Queen of England that we have to trace the life of Eleanora, abricf sketch of her doings during her matrimonial ascendancy in France may not be uninteresting. Her husband, Louis the Seventh, was a rigidly pious and sober personage, better fitted" for the cloister than the throne of royalty, whilst she, on the contrary, w;as unusually light-hearted, gay, poetical, and romantic. She delighted in learning and luxury, and was the author of both the word's and the music of many beautiful Chansons—little songs—which for ages after her death were remembered with delight by tho people of 1 ranee, on account of their pa thos and their elegance. Greatly dissimilar as were the characters and dispositions of the royal pair, we may presume that at least for nine years after their marriage nothing happened to mar their domestic happiness, as during that period the French chroniclers have not once mentioned the name of Eleanora, a circumstance which, besides leading to the above conclusion, speaks well for the moral fame of the young Queen of France, since had she been so prodigate as some modern historians would have us believe, the gossiping monks of her day would most certainly have handed down her crimes to posterity. The circumstances which led to her divorce from the French King arc briefly these ; In 1146, the chapter of Bourges infringed the prerogative of the French crown, by electing an archbishop without the consent of their King, which ultimately led to a war between Louis and the Count of Champagne, who, in conjunction with the Pope, supported the cause of the chapter. Ere this contention was terminated, the thunders of the Vatican were again launched against the hapless Monarch of France. Hodolf, Count of Vermandois, a cousin of the King, and his prime minister, had, under a frivolous pretence, divorced his wife, and by the eounivanee of Eleanora, married her younger sister Petronilla. The ill-used wife was sister to the Count of Champagne, and he, enraged at the gross insult, applied for redress to the Pope, who instantly ordered Rodolf to put away his second wife and take back his first. Louis, provoked at these proceedings, again devastated Champagne writhfire and sword ; where, whilst storming the town of Vitry, the cathedral, in which thirteen hundred persons had taken refuge, caught fire, and every soul within its devoted w^alls Avas HteraBy roasted to death. Whilst Louis was bitterly bewailing the horrors of this frightful conflagration, the enthusiastic St. Bernard arrived at Vezaloi, in Burgundy, and with powerful eloquence, summoned the king and his vassals to hasten to the rescue of


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