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Agnes to exceed the bounds of sentiment, be. fore he found himself at liberty ; but now he gave way to all the transports of love, privately married the object of his regard, and in short made it the whole study of his life to please her.
The courtiers, indignant that a stranger and an upstart, as they considered Agnes de Castro, should monopolize the entire affection of their prince, and that she should have such influence in every thing that related to favour or preferment, craftily insinuated to the king, that this intrigue, which at present only vexed the royal family, might eventually prove the ruin of the state.
Urged on by these suggestions, and little suspecting that Agnes de Castro was the lawful wife of his son, the king was at last prevailed on to order her assassination, when the prince was absent on a hunting match. The wretched Donna Agnes was at the monastery of Santa Clara, when the king arrived with the three persons who were to be the executioners of his vengeance. On hearing of his approach, the innocent victim hastened to meet him, accompanied by her children, and, falling at his feet, bathed them with her tears. The spectacle was so affecting, that the king desisted from his design; but his pernicious counsellors reproaching him with want of spirit, he gave them commission to execute the deed of horror. She was butchered in the most barbarous manner, amidst her shrieking babes, and her body left to be meanly buried in the monastery where she breathed her last.
No sooner was the prince informed of this savage action, than in frantic rage he wasted all D 2
the country with fire and sword; and had not the archbishop of Braga interposed, and moderated his fury, by the mild counsels of reason, it A. D. is probable that he might have been 1355.
guilty of horrors still greater than those
he was bent to revenge. Don Alsonzo, sensible of his error, studied every means in his power to reconcile the prince to his loss; but, though he disguised his affliction, the wounds of the heart were not to be healed, and on the demise of his father, which A. D. happened not long after, the first ob1357.
ject of his attention was to honour the
remains of Agnes de Castro, and to bring her murderers to condign punishment. They were put to death with exquisite tortures, in the presence of the king himself, who on this occasion, forgetting what was due to humanity, insulted them in their last moments. The af. fection of Don Pedro, however, had not yet displayed itself as he thought to the full: he caused the children he had by Agnes to be legitimated, and made the most ample provision for every person to whom she had shewn
any attachment, or who had performed her any acceptable service.
The next great object that Don Pedro had in view, was to reform whatever was amiss in the administration or government, throughout his dominions. He first began with himself, and retiring to the monastery of Alcobaça, to which he had removed the dust of Agnes de Castro, hệ contemplated the tomb in which he was to lie, and reflected on the account he was one day to give of his conduct. Thus prepared, he pur, sued his plan of reformation with steadiness
effect; and, blending justice with 'mercy, regardless of persons or connections, purged his kingdom of malefactors of every kind.
While Pedro of Portugal was thus labouring to deserve the character of a good prince, Pedro of Castile had behaved in such a manner as to be generally hated, and at last was obliged to seek shelter in Portugal. The king, unwilling to involve his subjects in war with the Castilians, refused him an asylum, and sent back his daughter, who was to have been espoused to prince Ferdinand of Portugal; but taking pity on his distress, granted him a safe conduct into Gay licia, which had not yet declared against him.
Soon after this, his Portuguese majesty falling into a disease, died at Estremos, in the fortyseventh
His device was a star, with the words “Monstrat Iter;" indicating, that his thoughts were more fixed on celestial than on temporal objects. His subjects, when they reflected on the regularity he had introduced, which they knew would last no longer than its author, applied to him what the Romans said of Titus, “ That it would have been better if Don Pedro had never been born, or that he had never died.”
Ferdinand, the only son of the deceased king by his first princess, was twenty-seven years old when he ascended the throne. He was courteous in his manners, very bountiful, and blessed with an easy
flow of spirits; but he wanted steadiness and judgment, and levity and caprice were the only dictates of his actions. His court was the resort of all the gay and dissipated, and he soon squandered away the treasures which his three immediate predecessors had been accumulating. D 3
While Henry of Castile, who had dethroned his brother Pedro, could maintain his authority, Ferdinand shewed him every external mark of respect; but when his fortunes sunk, he affected a strict neutrality. No sooner, however, was Pedro dead, than he declared zealously in his favour, by giving the most opprobrious names to his successor Henry, whom he wished to depose, and to claim Castile as his own right, as great grandson to Don Sancho the Brave. He even proceeded to make war upon Henry, but being out-generalled on every occasion, he was glad to conclude a peace with his Castilian majesty, and to promise to cement it, by espousing Donna Leonora his daughter.
This match, however, never took place. He had seen and became enamoured of Donna Leonora de Tellez, wife of a nobleman of one of the most distinguished families in Portugal, and in spite of every obstacle made her his queen.
was a woman of great address, and
entirely possessed the affections of the 1371.
king; but in proportion as his passion for her every day became more visible, the general hatred of his people rose against her. Still, however, she continued to strengthen her interest by every possible artifice, and for a time carried all before her.
On the death of Henry of Castile and the accession of his son Don Juan, a train of negotiations took place with the court of Portugal. These, however, terminated in a war between the two powers, in which Ferdinand was assisted by the English, under the command of Edmund earl of Cambridge. At last a peace was concluded between Portugal and Castile at the expence of
their allies; and Ferdinand, with his usual inconsistency, offered the king of Castile, lately become awidower, his daughter the infanta Donna Beatrix, though she had been already contracted to his son. Don Juan acceded to the bargain, and espoused the princess with great pomp, who was then only thirteen years age.
It is said that Ferdinand, notwithstanding his uxoriousness, was at last convinced of the intrigues of his queen, and even of her infidelity with the count of Ourem, whom he intended to have dispatched; but falling into a lingering disease, he breathed his last, in the thirty
A. D,' fourth year of his age. His subjects la
1383. mented his death more than they had honoured him in his life.
By treaty, as well as by the king's will, the queen was to be regent, and to this disposition the magistracy of Lisbon seemed to assent. On the other hand, the king of Castile sent ambassadors to demand that his consort Donna Beatrix should be proclaimed queen, for which orders were accordingly given, but they were executed either with indifference or sion.
Meanwhile, the grand master of Avis, and some other personages of high distinction, indignant at seeing Portugal likely to become a province to Castile, which he thought was likely to be effected by the count of Ourem, a native of that country, and one who had long been the principal favourite of the queen, determinea to have this minion taken off. He fell in the
very apartment adjoining that of the queen, who, though overwhelmed with grief and indignation for her loss, sent to the grand master to know,