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CHAP. VII. and princes of their two kingdoms, charged with the like professions of friendship-our flattering historian would fain have us believe, of homage. Among these we can hardly doubt that a mission from the Court of Rouen held a distinguished place. It may be that, even then, the keen eye of the youthful Norman was beginning to look with more than a neighbour's interest upon the land to which he had in some sort given her newly-chosen King. We from Mag- are even told that an embassy of a still humbler kind was Denmark. received from a potentate who soon after appeared on the stage in a widely different character. Magnus of Norway had received the submission of Denmark on the death of Harthacnut, by virtue of the treaty by which each of those princes was to succeed to the other's dominions.2 He now, we are told, sent an embassy to Eadward, chose him as his father,3 promised to him the obedience of a son, and strengthened the promise with oaths and hostages. Now in the language used with regard both to Magnus and to

1 Vita Eadw. 395. "Ceteri quoque eorumdem Regum tyranni [a very singular expression] et quique potentissimi duces et principes, legatis suis eum adeunt, amicum et dominum sibi suisque constituunt, eique fidelitatem et servitium suum in manus ponunt." Is this merely the flourish of an English Dudo (cf. the talk about Cnut, vol. i. p. 744), or did any foreign princes really plight a formal homage to Eadward in exchange for his gifts and favours? We shall see hereafter (see vol. iii. pp. 249, 684) that the mightiest vassal of the French Crown probably did so at a later time.

2 See vol. i. p. 504. For the submission of Denmark to Magnus, see Adam of Bremen, ii. 74, 75; Snorro, Saga of Magnus, c. 19 (Laing, ii. 377). Adam however represents Magnus' first occupation of Denmark as the result of several battles with Swegen, while Snorro makes Magnus be peacefully elected in a Thing at Viborg, after which he makes Swegen an Earl and leaves him as his representative in Denmark.

3 Vita Eadw. 395. "Patrem eum sibi eligit, seque ut filium illi in omnibus subjicit." Compare the famous form of the Commendation of Wales and Scotland to a greater Eadward, vol. i. pp. 57, 118, 566, and Appendix C. The monastic biographer of Eadward gives quite another picture, by way of preparation for his legendary account of the death of Magnus; "Sola tamen Dacia, adhuc spirans et anhelans cædes, Anglorum interitum minabatur, verum quis fuerit tanti conatûs finis sequentia declarabunt.” Æthel. Riev. X Scriptt. 375.


the German and French princes, there is doubtless much CHAP. VII. of the exaggeration of a panegyrist, anxious to raise his hero's reputation to the highest point. But it is possible that Magnus might just now take some pains to conciliat› Eadward, in order to hinder English help from being continued to his competitor Swegen. In the reception of the Imperial and the Danish envoys there is nothing which has any special meaning; but it is specially characteristic of this reign that the congratulations of the French princes Eadward's gifts to the were acknowledged by gifts from the King personally, French and that some of them were continued in the form of princes. annual pensions.1 These were undoubtedly, even if the Norman Duke himself was among the pensioners, the gifts of a superior to inferiors; the point is that the connexion between England and the different French states, Normandy above them all, was constantly increasing in amount, and receiving new shapes at every turn.

Besides the gifts of foreign princes, the new King also Gifts of the English received many splendid presents from his own nobles. nobles. First among them all shone forth the magnificent offering of the Earl of the West-Saxons.2 Godwine had given Godwine a ship to Harthacnut as the price of his acquittal on his memorable trial; he now made the like offering to Ead- King. ward as a token of the friendship which was to reign between the newly-chosen King and his greatest subject.

presents a ship to the


1 Vita Eadw. 395. "Mittuntur singulis pro celsitudine suâ ab ipso Rege regalia munera, quæ ut nullius quamlibet multiplex Regis vel principis umquam æquaret munificentia, Regum pulcherrimus et nobilissimus Anglorum Rex Ædwardus facit eisdem Francorum principibus vel annua vel continua." The money seems all to go to France, none to Germany or Denmark.

2 Ib. 397;

"Multa dedere quidem, verum supereminet omnes

Larga Ducis probitas Godwini munere talis [tali?]."

The Biographer here, as often, breaks forth into hexameters.

* Mr. Luard seems to think this ship a mere repetition of the ship given to Barthacnut. Why?



CHAP. VII. Two hundred rowers impelled the floating castle. A golden lion adorned the stern; at the prow the national ensign, the West-Saxon Dragon, shone also in gold, spreading his wings, the poet tells us, over the awe-struck waves.1 A rich piece of tapestry, wrought on a purple ground with the naval exploits of former English Kings, the sea-fights no doubt of Ælfred, the peaceful triumphs of Eadgar, [992] perhaps that noblest fight of all when the fleets of Denmark gave way before the sea-faring men of the merchantcity, formed an appropriate adornment of the offering of the English Earl to the first-men did not then deem that he was to be the last-prince of the newly-restored English dynasty.


Character of Eadward.

His position as a Saint.

§ 2. Condition of England during the early years
of Eadward.

Before we go on to the events of the reign of Eadward, it will be well to endeavour to gain a distinct idea of the King himself and of the men who were to be the chief actors in English affairs during his reign. In estimating the character of Eadward, we must never forget that we are dealing with a canonized saint. In such cases it is more needful than ever to look closely to a man's recorded acts, and to his character as described by those

1 Vita Eadw. 397.

"Aureus e puppi leo prominet; æquora proræ

Celsæ pennato perterret corpore draco

Aureus, et linguis flammam vomit ore trisulcis."

Were the dragon and the lion thus coupled to express Eadward's mixed origin, English and Norman ?

2 Ib.

"Nobilis appensum pretiatur purpura velum,
Quo patrum series depicta docet varias res,
Bellaque nobilium turbata per æquora Regum."
For instances of historical tapestry, see vol. i. p. 274.
See vol. i. p. 278.



Otherwise we CHAP. vii.

who wrote before his formal canonization. shall be in danger of mistaking hagiology for history. When a man is once canonized, his acts and character immediately pass out of the reach of ordinary criticism. Religious edification, not historical truth, becomes the aim of all who speak or write of one who has been formally enrolled as an object of religious reverence.1 We must also be on our guard even in dealing with authors who wrote before his formal canonization, but after that popular canonization which was so often the first step towards it. It was of course the general reverence in which a man was held, the general belief in his holiness and miraculous powers, which formed the grounds of the demand for his formal canonization. But while we must be specially on our guard in weighing the character of particular acts and the value of particular panegyrics, we must remember that the popular esteem which thus led to canonization proves a great deal as to a man's general character. It proves still more when, Nature of as in the case of Eadward, there was no one special act, to sanctity. no one marked deed of Christian heroism or Christian endurance, which formed the holy man's claim to popular reverence. Eadward was not like one of those who died for their faith or for their country, and who, on the strength of such death, were at once revered as martyrs, without much inquiry into their actions and characters in other respects. He was no He was not even like one of those, his sainted uncle and namesake for instance,2 who gained the honours of martyrdom on still easier terms, by simply dying an unjust death, even though no religious or political principle was at stake. The popular reverence in which Eadward was held could rest on no ground except the genuine popular estimate of his general character.

his claims

1 On the legendary history of Eadward see Appendix B.
2 See vol. i. pp. 261, 334.


both to English



CHAP. VII. There were indeed strong political reasons which attached men to his memory. He was the one prominent man of the days immediately before the Conquest whom Normans Eadward's and Englishmen could agree to reverence. The English acceptable naturally cherished the memory of the last prince of the ancient stock. They dwelt on his real or supposed virtues men and to as a bright contrast to the crimes and vices of his Norman on political successors. Under the yoke of foreign masters they looked back to the peace and happiness of the days of their native King. The King who reigned on the English throne without a spark of English feeling, became the popular embodiment of English nationality, and men called for the Laws of King Eadward as in earlier times they had called for the Laws of Cnut or of Eadgar.1 On the other hand, it suited the policy of the Normans to show all respect to the kinsman of their own Duke, the King by whose pretended bequest their Duke claimed the English Crown, and whose lawful successor he professed himself to be. In English eyes Eadward stood out in contrast to the invader William; in Norman eyes he stood out in contrast to the usurper Harold. A King whom two hostile races thus agreed in respecting could not fail to obtain both popular and formal canonization on somewhat easy terms. Still he could hardly have obtained either the one or the other only on grounds like these. He must grounded have displayed some personal qualities which really won him popular affection during life and maintained him in popular reverence after death. It is worth while to study a little more at length the character of a man who obtained in his own age a degree of respect which in our eyes seems justified neither by several of his particular actions nor by the general tenour of his government.



for him

also on personal qualities.

That Eadward was in any sense a great man, that he displayed any of the higher qualities of a ruler of those 1 See vol. i. pp. 217, 416.

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