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sceptre and the rod is that the former is surmounted by a cross, and the latter by a dove. This distinction is of very ancient date, and we find that it was observed in the ceremonial of the coronation of Richard I. The virge of the English sovereign is of gold, richly adorned with precious stones ; at the top is a globe and cross, surmounted with a dove enamelled white, and the globe is surrounded with a circle of rose diamonds.
The queen-consort's virge is made of ivory, garnished with gold, and surmounted by a dove enamelled white; it is rather more than a yard in length.
Queen's Virge, or Ivory Rod.
In the year 1814 another virge was found at the Jewel Office in the Tower, covered with dust, and hidden on a back-shelf. It was supposed to have been used at the coronation of William and Mary, when both the king and queen were invested with sovereign power.
St. Edward's Staff
Sr. EDWARD'S STAFF, which is carried before the sovereign in the procession which precedes the coronation, is a staff or sceptre of gold, four feet eleven inches in length, having a foot of steel about four inches in length, with a mound and cross at the top; the ornaments are of gold, and the diameter of it is upwards of three-quarters of an inch.
The following is an account of the virges or rods destroyed, with the rest of the Regalia, in the time of the Commonwealth:
“ A long rodd of silver gilt, llb. 5oz., 41. 10s. 8d.
6 One staff of black and white ivory, with a dove on the top, with binding and foote of gould, 41. 10s. Od.
“A large staff, with a dove on ye top, formerly thought to be all gould; but upon triall found to be the lower part wood within, and silver gilt without, weighing in all 27 ounces, valued at 351. Os. Od.
“One small staff, with a floure de luce on the topp, formerly thought to be all of gould, but upon triall found to be iron within and silver gilt without, 21. 10s. Od.
“ A dove of gould, sett with stones and pearles, p. oz. 8} ounces, in a box sett with studds of silver gilt, 261. Os. Od.”
The OrB, Mound, or Globe, which is put into the sovereign's hand immediately before the crown is
placed upon his head, and which is borne in the left hand during the subsequent procession, is a ball of gold, of six inches diameter, encompassed with a band of the same, embellished with roses of diamonds, encircling other precious stones, and edged about with pearl. On the top is a very large amethyst, of a violet and purple colour, near an inch and a half in height, of an oval form, and being encompassed with four silver wires,
becomes the pedestal of a splendid cross of gold, of three inches and a quarter in height, and three inches in breadth, set very close with diamonds, having in the middle, a sapphire on one side, and an emerald on the other. It is also embellished with four large pearls in the angles of the cross, near the centre, and three more at the end of it. The whole height of the orb and cross is eleven inches. There is another globe among the crown jewels, which was made
for the coronation of William and Mary, but it is not now used at the coronation of
queens consort. The orb or globe was assumed as a cognizance by the emperor Augustus; it was sometimes called an apple, and sometimes a hill
, but in all cases it was regarded as the symbol of universal dominion. The cross was added to the globe by Constantine, the first Christian emperor. Suidas, describing the statue of the Emperor Justinian, says, “In his left hand he held a globe in which a cross was fixed, which showed that by faith in the cross he was emperor of the earth. For the globe denotes the earth, which is of like form, and the cross denotes faith, because God in the flesh was nailed to it.”
The globe and cross were first introduced as ensigns of imperial authority in western Europe by Pope Benedict VIII., who gave them to the Emperor Henry II. The combined ornament was called, “ The Imperial
Apple," and at the coronation of the emperors of Germany,
it was borne on the right hand of the emperor, by the Count Palatine of the Rhine.
Almost all the English kings from Edward the Confessor, have the globe in their left hand on their coins or seals, as shown in the engraving in the preceding page; and it seems also to have been frequently so placed when sovereigns lay in state after their decease.
Four SWORDS are used at the coronation of a British sovereign. 1. THE SWORD OF STATE, which is a large two-handed sword, having a splendid scabbard of crimson velvet, decorated with gold plates of the royal badges in the following order. At the point is the orb or mound, then the royal crest of a lion standing on an imperial crown; lower down are a portcullis, harp, thistle, fleur de lis, and rose; nearer the hilt the portcullis is repeated; next are the royal arms and supporters; and lastly, the harp, thistle, &c., over again. The handle and pommel of the sword are embossed with similar devices in silver gilt, and the cross is formed of the royal supporters, the lion and the unicorn, having a rose within a laurel between them on one side, and a fleur de lis similarly encircled on the other.
2. CURTANA, or the pointless Sword of Mercy, is the principal in dignity of the three swords which are borne naked before the sovereign at the coronation. Mr. Arthur Taylor, in his “Glory of Regality,” derives its name from that wielded by Ogier the Dane, in the romances of chivalry; however that may be, it is certain that a sword named Curtana, or Curtein, formed a part of the English Regalia from very ancient times, for Matthew Paris informs us that a sword of that
name was carried at the coronation of Henry III., by the Earl of Chester, (A.D. 1236.) In the same way, a sword called Joyeuse, supposed to have belonged to the Emperor Charlemagne, was always displayed at the coronation of the kings of France. Curtana is a broad bright sword, the length of the blade is about thirty two inches, and the breadth almost two inches; the handle, which is covered with fine gold wire, is four inches long, and the pommel, an inch and three quarters; which, with the cross, is plain and steel gilt: the length of the cross is eight inches nearly. The scabbard belonging to it is covered with a rich brocaded cloth of tissue, and studded with gilt ornaments.
3. The SWORD OF SPIRITUAL JUSTICE is pointed, but somewhat obtuse, the length of the blade is forty inches, and the breadth an inch and a half. The pommel, handle, cross, and scabbard, are precisely similar to those of Curtana.
4. The SWORD OF JUSTICE OF THE TEMPORALITY is sharp pointed; the length of the handle is four inches, the pommel an inch and three quarters, and the cross seven inches and a half. The scabbard is in all respects similar to that of Curtana.
Sword of the Tempcrality.
The sovereign's CORONATION RING, called by some ancient writers, " The wedding-ring of England," is of pure gold, with a large table ruby, of a violet colour,