Abbildungen der Seite

retires with her father into Spain. - As a sort of episode, the trial of Rebecca for sorcery by the Knights Templars, her delivery, and the death of Bois-Guilbert, excite a powerful interest.

We have room only for a few extracts: but we were so much struck with the masterly description of the tournament, that we must subjoin a small part of it.

· The lists now presented a most splendid spectacle. The sloping galleries were crowded with all that was noble, great, wealthy, and beautiful in the northern and midland parts of England; and the contrast of the various dresses of these dignified spectators rendered the view as gay as it was rich, while the interior and lower space filled with the substantial burgesses and yeomen of merry England formed, in their more plain attire, a dark fringe, or border, around this circle, of brilliant embroidery, relieving, and, at the same time, setting off its splendour. • The heralds ceased their proclamation with their usual cry

of “ Largesse, largesse, gallant knights ;” and gold and silver pieces were showered on them from the galleries, it being a high point of chivalry to exhibit liberality towards those whom the age accounted the secretaries at once and historians of honour. The bounty of the spectators was acknowledged by the customary shouts of " Love of Ladies · Death of Champions

Honour to the Generous - Glory to the Brave !" To which the more humble spectators added their acclamations, and a numerous band of trumpeters the flourish of their martial instruments. When these sounds had ceased, the heralds withdrew from the lists in gay

and glittering procession, and none remained within them save the marshals of the field, who, armed cap-a-pee, sat on horseback, motionless as statues, at the opposite ends of the lists. Meantime, the enclosed space at the northern extremity of the lists, large as it was, was now completely crowded with knights desirous to prove their skill against the challengers, and, when viewed from the galleries, presented the appearance of a sea of waving plumage, intermixed with glistening helmets, and tall lances, to the extremities of which were, in many cases, attached small pennons of about a span's breadth, which, fluttering in the air as the breeze caught them, joined with the restless motion of the feathers to add liveliness to the scene.'

The scene in which Rebecca, in default of a champion, is exposed to the dreadful peril of being burnt at the Preceptory of the Knights Templars, is peculiarly impressive, and we regret that we must give so imperfect an extract from it.

• As they thus conversed, the heavy bell of the church of Saint Miehael of Templestowe, a venerable building, situated in a hamlet at some distance from the Preceptory, broke short their argument. One by one the sullen sounds fell successively on the ear, leaving but sufficient space for each to die away in distant echo, ere the air was again filled by repetition of the iron knell. These sounds, the signal of the approaching ceremony, chilled


with awe the hearts of the assembled multitude, whose eyes were now turned to the Preceptory, expecting the approach of the Grand Master, the champion, and the criminal.

• At length the draw-bridge fell, the gates opened, and a knight, bearing the great standard of the Order, sallied from the castle, preceded by six trumpets, and followed by the Knights Preceptors, two and two, the Grand Master coming last, mounted on a stately horse, whose furniture was of the simplest kind. Be. hind him came Brian de Bois-Guilbert, armed cap-a-pee

in bright armour, but without his lance, shield, or sword, which were borne by his two esquires behind him. His face, though partly hidden by a long plume which floated down from his barret-cap, bore a strong and mingled expression of passion, in which pride seemed to contend with irresolution. He looked ghastly pale, as if he had not slept for several nights, yet reined his pawing wara horse with the habitual ease and grace proper to the best lance of the Order of the Temple. His general appearance was grand and commanding; but, looking at him with attention, men read that in his dark features, from which we willingly withdraw our eyes.

« On either side rode Conrade of Mont-Fitchet, and Albert de Malvoisin, who acted as godfathers to the champion. They were in their robes of peace, the white dress of the Order. Behind them followed other Knights Companions of the Temple, with a long train of esquires and pages clad in black, aspirants to the honour of being one day Knights of the Order. After these neophites came a guard of warders on foot, in the same sable livery, amidst whose partizans might be seen the pale form of the accused, moving with a slow but undismayed step towards the scene of her fate. She was stript of all her ornaments, lest perchance there should be among them some of those amulets which Satan was supposed to bestow upon his victims, to deprive them of the power of confession even when under the torture. A coarse white dress, of the simplest form, had been substituted for her oriental garments ; yet there was such an exquisite mixture of courage and resignation in her look, that even in this garb, and with no other ornament than her long black tresses, each eye wept that looked upon her, and the most hardened bigot regretted the fate that had converted a creature so goodly into a vessel of wrath, and a waged slave of the devil.

• A crowd of inferior personages belonging to the Preceptory followed the victim, all moving with the utmost order, with arms folded and looks bent upon the ground.

• This slow procession moved up the gentle eminence, on the summit of which was the tilt-yard, and entering the lists, marched opce around them from right to left, and when they had completed the circle, made a halt. There was then a momentary bustle, while the Grand Master and all his attendants, excepting the champion and his godfathers, dismounted from their horses, which were immediately removed out of the lists by the esquires, who were in attendance for that purpose.

• The unfortunate Rebecca was conducted to the black chair placed near the pile. On her first glance at the terrible spot G4


where preparations were making for a death alike dismaying to the mind and painful to the body, she was observed to shudder and shut her eyes, praying internally doubtless, for her lips moved though no speech was heard. In the space of a minute she opened her

eyes, looked fixedly on the pile as if to familiarize her mind with the object, and then slowly and naturally turned away her head.'

Having already said so much on the general plan of, Ivanhoe,' we have little now to add. Most unwillingly would we cavil at slight or incidental defects : but we conceived it to be our duty to point out those which were inherent in its design and structure; and, among them, we cannot overlook what seems to us too glaring a departure from authentic history, though the introduction of Richard, perhaps, rendered it necessary to the author. It appears from historians that the manner of this prince's return to England was widely different from that which has here been assumed, in order to connect him with the chief incidents of the story; he being openly ransomed by his subjects, and his release from imprisonment hailed with the greatest joy. (See Hume, vol. ii. p. 36.) — Perhaps there is an anachronism also in the circumstance of the pouncet-box being one of the articles taken by the robbers from the person of the Prior; since it has been, we believe, generally agreed that the pouncet-box, which Hotspur's fop applied “to his nose and took away again,” was an anticipation of a luxury that was not in use till the time of Elizabeth. We think, moreover, that the mystery of Wilfrid of Ivanhoe, and of Richard, is too little suspended ; and that both these persons, notwithstanding their disguise, are too quickly recognized. This is unquestionably a fault, inasmuch as it gives us, at the opening of the narrative, too premature a hint of its termination, and has a tendency to render the intermediate parts languid and uninteresting. It has an effect like that of straight lines in the old exploded taste of gardening, which conduct the eye at once to the end of its prospect. The elder Pliny has a criticism of the same kind, which he applies to architecture; “ Ambire sic debet extremitas, et sic desinere, ut promittat alia post se;" and it is susceptible, we conceive, of some application to a chain of narration, in which surprise and curiosity ought to be kept constantly alive.

The revival of Athelstane, also, is an unnecessary and gross violation of probability, and not naturally explained : while the horrid story of Ulrica is introduced too late, and is too speedily dismissed.

These, however, are slight blemishes; and we gladly turn aside from petty animadversions, to express our unfeigned praise of the extensive research, the playful vivacity, the busy


It is,

and stirring incidents, the humorous dialogue, and the picturesque delineations, with which Ivanhoe' abounds. We shall not soon forget the sturdy fidelity of Gurth, the archness and affectionate attachment of Wamba, and the merry carousal of the clerk of Copemanhurst. ART. X. Observations on the Motives; Errors, and Tendency, of M.

Carnot's Principles of Defence ; shewing the Defects of his new System of Fortification, and of the Alterations he has proposed with a view to improve the Defences of existing Places. By Colonel Sir Howard Douglas, Bart., K.S.C., C. B., F. R. Š. Inspector General of the Royal Military College. 8vo. pp.

181. Boards. Egerton. 1819. FE

"ROM a continued succession of active campaigns, from the

great extent and variety of the operations, and from the distinguished talents by which they were on all sides conducted, it is rather remarkable that the reign of Bonaparte introduced no material improvements or novelties into the science of war. Yet such is the fact; for, whatever deviations from regular tactics may have been occasionally practised, the general system, established on the experience of former ages, remains in substance as it stood at the commencement of the late military dynasty of France. however, a trait of sufficient importance in the history of the late wars to be generally made known, that Napoleon, from an idea of defect in the former system, as far as it regards the defence of fortified towns, proposed to the governors of his fortresses a new plan of defence, which he esteemed capable of rendering France impregnable; and the origin of this theory may be justly ascribed to Bonaparte himself, since his Ex-minister of War, to whom the arrangement and publication of it were intrusted, says, “ It was sketched by the Emperor," and the title-page also declares it to be published “ by command of his Imperial and Royal Majesty." We intimated this fact, which has since become more known, in our account of M. Carnot's treatise, Appendix to M. R., vol. lxxii. p. 541. Several editions of that book have since appeared, much enlarged, and especially discussing at greater length this new system of defence, in the use of projectiles by the besieged; a point on which we were not before induced to speak in detail.

The work of M. Carnot has thus gained considerable additional importance, and has not only attracted great attention on the Continent, but has in fact produced the most material practical results. The volume of Sir Howard Douglas, now before us, brings it again within our consideration : but it has become very verbose; and to epitomize it, directly and collaterally, would be unnecessary to our present design ; which is,

chiefly, chiefly, to shew on what fallacious speculations the late chieftain of France depended for the security of his throne and power ; and to discriminate faithfully between the specious arguments by which the new theory comes ushered into the world, and the conclusive demonstrations by which its errors and inferiority have been exposed.

A question might here be asked as to the utility of canvassing a subject of this nature, when all the business of war seems to have ceased; and, as the project was devised before the downfall of its author, it might be fairly urged that the event has proved the fallacy and insufficiency of the nouvelle manière de défendre les places. It is true that the moment of peace again prevails: but considerable activity in preparations for future defence is, nevertheless, very general over the whole Continent; and though France, in contradiction to the proposition, proved vulnerable, yet such has been the effect of M. Carnot's book, which is passing through edition after edition, that it has imposed not only on the inexperienced, but on officers of high rank; not merely on a few individuals, but on the recent synod of illustrious statesmen and chiefs convened to ordain and ratify the re-organization of Europe. It is, moreover, true that a great expence, in which this country (we understand) largely participates, has been actually incurred in putting particular frontier-towns abroad into repair; and in making such alterations and additions in them as are prescribed by the nere theory, of the merits of which the following brief account and examination will give a sufficient idea for the present purpose.

About the time when Bonaparte appeared at the summit of his power, and when the continental states had been so far subjugated that their chief fortresses were under the command of governors appointed by France, the new project was first divulged, with the professed design of “ reminding the officers intrusted with the bulwarks of the empire of the importance of their functions and duties;" which, it was asserted, “ if well executed, must render France impregnable to any power, or combination of powers!” — The mode by which it was proposed to secure the state so effectually is by pouring from mortars, and other engines of a similar kind, such showers of projectiles, (small iron shot, cubes of iron, musket-balls, stones, &c.) as to cause an army to raise the siege of any place so defended. A chief battery of defence is required to be constructed in the gorge of each bastion, because at any more advanced position it must be exposed to certain de struction from the heavy artillery of the enemy. Besides these main batteries, ordnance, of the kinds before mentioned, are directed to be employed at the salient angles of the bastions,


« ZurückWeiter »