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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 97



About this time, the Archduke of Austria met with a fatal accident. Hia horse fell under him and crushed bis leg. Perceiving death at hand, and being stung with remorse for his cruel behaviour to King Richard, he ordered by his will, that the Fnglish hostages should be set at liberty, and the remainder of the King's ransom remitted. His son endeavoured to disobey his orders, but the clergy obliged him to perform them. In 1196, Cœur de Lion, despairing of heirs by his Queen, sent for his adopted heir, the youthful Arthur, Duke of Brittany, that he might be educated at the English court. But Constance, Arthur's mother, having taken offence at Queen Eleanora, refused to part with him, which so annoyed Richard, that he disinherited the young Duke, and acknowledged his brother, Prince John, as his future heir. Erom this period to the day of his death, Richard was occupied in petty provincial wars with Philip of France. In compliance with the terms of one of the truces made during these hostilities, the Princess Alice of France, who had been so long confined in Normandy, was given up to her brother Philip, and damaged as h er reputation was, he found her a husband in the Count of Aumerie, who received the city of Ponthieu as her dower. On the sixth of April, 1199, Cœur de Lion, whilst yet in the bloom of manhood and the flower of his glory, paid the debt of nature. According to the learned Sir F. Falgrave, the common account of his death is most apocryphal, and in all probability he fell a victim to treachery in an obscure provincial fortress. But however this may he, Vinisaus assures us, that he was greatly comforted in his dying moments by the presence of his affectionate consort, Berengaria. In accordance with his will, he was buried in the stately abbey of Fontevraud. Daring courage and heroic valour were the shining qualities of Richard the First; and many as his vices were, they were greatly counterbalanced by the noble openness, generosity, and sincerity of his character. His hostility to his father, unpardonable as some writers have deemed it, is certainly greatly to be excused, when wc remember that it proceeded from a deep-seated love to his much ill-used mother. Like his great uncle, WiUiam Rufus, he greatly excelled in smart, witty replies. On one occasion, Fulk, a zealous preacher of the Crusades, delivered him a moral lecture, and begged him, above all things, to turn his back upon pride, avarice, and luxuriousncss, "which," said Fulk, "are your majesty's three favourite daughters." " True," rejoined Richard, " your counsel is just ; I give my pride to the Templars, my avarice I bestow upon the monks, and my luxuriousness 1 resign to my prelates." Although Cœur de Lion spent so little time in England, many excellent laws were passed during his reign. To London was granted many of its valuable privileges. The Jews were prohibited from making secret bargains with Christians, and in 1197, the uniformity of weights and measures throughout the kingdom was enacted. The famous Robin Hood, Little John, and their band of freebooters dwelt in Sherwood Forest, about the year 1190. Stow saith, "in this time were many robbers and outlaws, among the which, Robin Hood and Little John, renowned thieves, continued in woods, despoyling and robbing the goods of the rich. They killed none but such as would invade them, or by resistance for their own defence. 1 1 The said Robin Hood entertained a hundred tall men and good archers with such spoiles and thefts as he got, upon whom four hundred—were they ever so strong—durst not give the onset. He suffered no woman to be oppressed or in any way molested. Poore men's goods he spared, abundantlie relieving them with that which by theft he got from abbeys and the houses of rich earlcs." The aged Eleanora was greatly afflicted on hearing of the death of Richard, who, of all her children, was her greatest favourite. On the accession of John—now her only surviving son—she


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