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Ang. Sac, 105.) Now that this woman was Ethelgiva, of whom honourable mention has been so frequently made, appears from Eadmer, For she was "una de præscriptis mulieribus (Ethelgiva and her daughter,) quam et amplior potentia et obscænior impudentia dehonestabat, et notiorem hominibus fecerat," (Ang. Sac. 84.) characteristics which undoubtedly belong more to the mother than to the daughter.
The reign of Edwy, short as it was, was distinguished by the capriciousness and tyranny of his conduct. We are assured on the best authority, that new and grievous burthens were laid on the people; that all the friends of the late king were disgraced: that the estates of several opulent thanes were confiscated: that the princes of the blood were driven from the court: and that Elgiva, the relict of Edmund, and the king's grandmother, was deprived of her property, and reduced to a state of indigence. (Osb. p. 104. Eadmer, apud Sur. p. 236. MS. Cleop. 76.) The Mercians and East-Anglians, and afterwards the Northum brians, revolted: and during the revolt Ethelgiva, who had returned from Ireland, was put to death. A question has been raised as to the author of her punishment. Malmsbury (f. 114.) and Gervase (col. 1645.) attribute, her death as well as her exile, in general terms, to Archbishop Odo. Gervase appears to have abridged the account of Eadmer in his life of that prelate: though Eadmer mentions only the retainers of the Archbishop. "Ubi (Glocestriæ) ab hominibus servi Dei comprehensa, et, ne meretricio more alterius vaga discurreret, subnervata, post dies aliquot mala morte præsenti vitæ sublata est." From this account it would appear as if Odo's retainers lay in wait for her at Gloucester on her return from Ireland. But in his life of Archbishop Dunstan the same writer tells a very different story. He there ascribes her death to the Mercian insurgents, who, as
they pursued Edwy into Wessex, got possession of his mistress-"Misertus Deus gentis Anglorum, excitavit quosque potentes a terminis magni fluminis Humbræ usque ad terminos fluminis Thamisia contra impietatem regis Edvini, et eum, quia talent se fecerat, qualem, uti diximus, regem neutiquam esse decebat, unanimiter persequi, et aut vita aut regno privare moliti sunt. Et ipsum quidem ultra Thamisiam fugaverunt, nefandam vero meretricem ejus juxta civitatem Glavorniensem mala morte, quod breviter et summa. tim dictum accipiatur, perdiderunt." Ead. apud Sur. p. 237, 238. Osbern gives the same account, with this addition, that Ethelgiva had already joined her lover, and that she fell into the hands of the insurgents during the confusion of the flight. Osb. p. 106. If it were necessary to pronounce between these opposite statements, I should say that the latter, as the more ancient, and the more circumstantial, is the more deserving of credit: at least every reader must acknowledge that I was not guilty of much "dishonesty," when with them before me I represented it as uncertain, whether the archbishop was or was not "privy to the death of Ethelgiva."
The foregoing accounts are taken from the more ancient historians whose narratives are in every instance but the last perfectly consistent with each other. The later writers, from not attending to the succession of events, have involved the subject in great confusion. It is, however, easy to trace the cause of their mistakes, and to observe how an original story may be altered, as it passes through the pens of succeeding writers. The first biographer of Archbishop Oswald (Nero. E. 1.) was under no necessity of mentioning the reign of Edwy: but Odo was the uncle of Os wald: and on that account he introduced the history of the banishment of Ethelgiva by Odo. Eadmer afterwards wrote the life of Oswald; and was careful to walk in the footsteps of his predecessor, He introduced the same his
tory into his work and prefaced it with a short account of the immorality of Edwy and the banishment of Dunstan. At the same time, adopting the language of the Norman dynasty, under which he lived, he converted the Saxon gesiths' the socii of the archbishop, into manus militum, and the villa in qua mulier mansitabat into the curia regis. The facts, however, were not mistated, but made perfectly consistent with the original account. Seventy or eighty years afterwards Senatus, prior of Worcester, wrote a third life of Oswald. He copied both Eadmer and the anonymous biographer: but by transferring Edwy's marriage to the beginning of his narrative, gave a new and false colouring to the succeeding events. His work, which Wharton supposed to be lost, is in manuscript in the library of the Dean and Chapter of Durham. The passage in which he mentions Edwy, is the following. "Edwius Rex....vaga fractus libidine exarsit in quandam, quam spreta fide tori subintroductam habebat. Instabat antistes Odo regem revocare ab errore viæ suæ. Opportune importune eos corripuit, sed minime correxit. Super eodem etiam, dum corriperetur a beato Dunstano...sanctum virum e patria exulem fieri jussit. Quo audito venerabilis Odo turbatus spiritu, factusque tam nefariæ rei publicus hostis-scandalum, quod in gladio spiritus de regno dei tollere non prævaluit, applicata manu militum attemptavit, infandamque mulierem a regali curia abstraxit, abstractamque in Hiberniam relegavit."
Malmsbury (and the monk of Ramsey has copied Malmsbury, both in the substance of his narrative, and the peculiarities of his language, Hist. Ram. p. 390.) has not only adopted the same mistake as Senatus, but added another in representing the banishment of St. Dunstan, as a consequence of the banishment of Ethelgiva. This is evidently erroneous, if we give any credit to the ancient biographers of the archbishop. Whence he derived the information
that she was related to Edwy, I know not. But that also appears to have been unknown to all the preceding historians, whose writings have reached us.
Four of our chroniclers, Florence, (p. 605.) Simeon, (col. 157.) Hoveden, (f. 244.) and Westminster, (p. 196.) tell us that in 958, Archbishop Odo separated Edwy and Elgiva. From the date I formerly thought that this Elgiva was the wife of Edwy: but the chronology of his reign is very uncertain, and as no writer mentions more than one separation, I am now inclined to believe, that they mean Ethelgiva. It is evident that they copy some other writer, and to explain the transaction they give us two reasons for the separation: it was, 'vel quia ipsam sub propria uxore adamavit,' the very words by which Ethelgiva is designated by the anonymous biographer of Oswald; vel quia propinqua illius extitit,' the very account which is given of Ethelgiva by Malmsbury.
In conclusion, I may be allowed to request the public to compare these remarks and authorities with the statement of the reviewer, and then to decide which of us has the better claim to the imputation of " unfair and disingenuous conduct."