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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 177



from his subjects, and other preliminaries had been arranged, was then carried in great state to London, where masses were said over it, and requiems sung in Trinity, Grev Friars, and St. Paul's churches, and* afterwards conveyed in a superb car to Westminster, and entombed with great pomp in the chapel of Edward the Confessor, amidst the abundant tears of the sorrowing Queen Margaret, who, it appears, took part in the mournful procession. Edward the First was buried on the north side of the shrine of St. Edward, and close to the grave of his father, Henry the Third, on the eighteenth of October. On his tomb, which consists of five unadorned slabs of Purbeck marble, is a Latin inscription to this effect : " Whilst lived this King, By him all things Were in most goodly plight; Fraud lay hid, Great peace was kept, And honesty had might." In May, 1774, the Antiquarian Society being desirous to ascertain the state of bis body, in consequence of the methods taken to preserve it, by writs issued in the reign of Edward the Third and Henry the Fourth, to renew the wax about it, obtained permission to open the stone sarcophagus in which it was deposited. "W e found it," says Sir Joseph Ayloffe, who was present at the interesting examination, " enclosed in a large square mantle of linen, waxed on the inside : the head, on which was a crown of gilded copper, and face were covered with a crimson silk, and the body was swathed in cere-cloth of very fine linen, even the fingers and face being so neatly wrapped that every part was visible. A tunic of red silk damask enveloped the body, upon which lay a kind of scarf of white silk tissue, three inches in breadth, worked with an elegant pattern of very small mock pearl, and having at intervals of about six inches, gilt quatrefoils of fillagrec-work delicately chased and ornamented with glass imitations of gems, very well executed, and each set in a raised socket; some of these imitated rubies, some emeralds, and some sapphires. On the left shoulder the royal mantle, of rich crimson satin, was fastened with a brooch of large size and beautiful workmanship, adorned with red and blue stone, and mock pearls ; it is four inches in diameter, whilst the pin is formed of a large piece of blue glass, shaped like an acorn, and fixed in a chased socket. The body, from the waist, was wrapped in a rich figured cloth of gold vestment, which wholly enveloped the feet; on each hand lay a quatrcfoil similar to those just described, and which probably had belonged to the jewelled gloves, a royal distinction at this period, and a sceptre and rod, with dove of white enamel, lay on each side." The body was in perfect preservation, measured six feet two inches in length, wasfinely proportioned, and by all appearances it nad not been disturbed since the reign of Henry the Fourth, a period of about three hundred and seventy years. In imitation of Adelicia, consort of Henry the First, Queen Margaret employed John o' London to pen the memoirs of her beloved lord. In this cu rious work Margaret is made to bewail the loss of King Edward in strains of the deepest dejection. " I weep incessantly," exclaims the widowed Queen, "live but to mourn. Joy has fled my breast, and my heart is choked with grief. The silvery tones of the eithara,* the majestic peals of the organ no longer charm my weary soul ; life is a heavy burden to me ; no sorrow can equal my sorrow. Alas ! the joy of my heartj the delight of my eyes, the Paradise of my hopes, my only happiness, my dearly beloved Edward, is gone —lost—dead ! Oh, weep ye isles ! for so great a King you will never again behold!" These lamentations from a widow of twenty-six for a husband of sixty-nine, exaggerated as they may appear, are proved by the after-life of Margaret to have been sincere, as the sorrowing Queen, after complying with the dying request of her lord, by attending the marriage of her son-in-law, Edward the Second, with her niece Isabella, retired to private life, and never again entered * A musical instrument resembling a guitar.


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