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النشر الإلكتروني

No. XLVII.

Of lovers' sad calamities of old
Full many piteous stories doe remaine;
But none more piteous ever was ytold
Than this.

SPENSER,

:

JEFFERY RUDEL, a young nobleman of Provence, was one of the handsomest and most polite persons of the age he lived in. King Richard the first, of England, who for his undaunted spirit was surnamed Cour de Lyon, having passed some part of his youth in Provence, became exceedingly intimate with him ; and when he came to the crown, sent to entrat he would not forget their former friendship so far as not to make him a visit. Jeffery Rudel accepted the invitation, came over, and was the first that revived poetry in England, after it had lain dormant several hundred years. There are verses of his composing still extant in the hands of some of the ancient nobility and gentry of this kingdom; and Mr. Rymer tells us, that there are many more in the library of the grand Duke of Tuscany.

When King Richard made his crusade in the Holy Land, this Jeffery went with him, and proved himself no less a hero in the time of battle, than he was a courtier in the time of peace. He was a prisoner with that prince in Germany, when on his return from fighting the battles of Christ, he was seized by the treacherous Duke of Austria, and detained three whole years, for so exorbitant a ransom, as scarce the whole wealth of England could discharge ; an obligation to the House of Austria which many ages had cause to remember! but time erases all things, and we are a forgiving people. This however is not to the purpose of my history: the present descendant of that family will doubtless make atonement for all injuries of fered to us by her predecessors, as well as amply recompense the favours she in person has received.

Liberty at last regained, he came not with the king of England, but' passed into Bretagne, the inheritance of prince Geoffry, brother to Caur de Lyon, and who was father to that unhappy Arthur, who lost his life in the usurpation of his uncle John. There did he hear such wonders of the beauty, wit, learning, and virtue of the countess of Tripoly, that he became more truly enamoured of her character, than is common in our days for men to be with the most perfect original, that nature ever framed, or art improved.

Neither his friendship for prince Geoffry, nor the persuasions of the nobility of Bretagne, by whom he was extremely respected and beloved, could prevail on him to stay any longer there. He hired a vessel, and with the first fair wind set sail for Tripoly.

But though his passion made him thus obstinately bent to forsake all that besides was dear to him in the world, and run such hazards for the sight of the beloved object, yet his good sense sometimes remonstrated to him, that the adventure he undertook had in it something romantic; and the uncertainty how he might be received on his arrival, filled him with the most terrible agitations.

To alleviate the melancholy he was in during his long voyage, he poured out the overflowings of his soul, in many odes and sonnets ; but as they were all in the Provençal tongue, I forbear to transcribe them; only, to shew in what manner the poets of those days wrote, will give my readers one, as I find it translated into English by Mr. Rymer.

I.

Sad and heavy should I part,

But for this love so far away!
Not knowing what my ways may thwart,

,
My native land so far away.

II.

Thou that of all things Maker art,

And form'st this love so far away,
Give body strength, then shan't I start

From seeing her so far away.

III.

How true a love to pure desert,

Is love to her so far away.
Eas'd once, a thousand times I smart,

Whilst, ah! she is so far away.

IV.

None other love, none other dart

I feel, but hers so far away,
But fairer never touch'd an heart,

Than her's that came so far away.

My author says, that never voyage was more unprosperous; that they had great storms, which obliged them more than once to put into port to refit, and sometimes were so becalmed that the ship could not make any way, but seemed almost motionless : but their worst misfortune was, they were attacked by two Turkish gallies, which but for the extraordinary valour and con

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VOL. I.

duct of Jeffery Rudel, had made them all prisoners. He received, however, several wounds, the anguish of which joined to his other fatigues, and the more severe anxiety of his mind, threw him into a languishing distemper, which every moment threatened dissolution.

They met by accident with a ship bound for the southern part of France; which being so near his own country, he was very much persuaded by the commander to go on board him, and turn back: he alleged to him, that in the condition he then was, nothing could be more improper than to prosecute his intentions; that probably his native air might be of service to him; and that when he was recovered, he might again set out for Tripoly, with more probability of success.

But all this, though highly reasonable, had no effect. The weak and decayed situation of his body had no influence over his mind; which, being wholly taken up with the perfections of the beautiful countess, made him resolute to proceed, whatever should be the consequence.

In fine, he continued his voyage, and, no ill accidents afterwards intervening, arrived safe at his so-much-wished-for port. When he was told, as he lay in his cabin, that they had dropped anchor, and were in view of the towers of

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