The Constant Prince
By Christobel Coleridge
Published by Mozley and Smith, London.
The Constant Prince, by Christobel Coleridge.
THE CONSTANT PRINCE, BY CHRISTOBEL COLERIDGE.
It is commonlysupposed
that the writer
of an historical
the characters therein
represented, heightens the romance
situation, and at any rate brings the fairer tints of the scene into
undue prominence. I wish to make it clearly understood that I have not
done so in this instance. The high cultivation, the mutual
the deep piety, all the peculiar
characteristics of the Princes of Avis,
are matters of history, and I have only found it impossible to do
justice to them. The personal appearance of the three eldest, and the
special line taken by all of them with regard to the cession of Ceuta,
indeed the whole tragical story, I found ready to hand, the only
imaginary incidents being the meeting of Enrique and Fernando at
Arzella, and the presence of the two boy princes at the siege of Ceuta.
There is a life of the Constant Prince which was written by the priest
to whom I have given the name of Father Jose, which I regret much not
having been able to obtain, though the outline
of the story of his
imprisonment is, I believe, taken from it.
The details of the Treaty of Tangier are very obscure; but it appears
that the Moorish king of Granada considered his African brethren as
guilty of a breach
of faith in detaining Fernando.
The English characters are of course wholly
Lastly, Calderon in his play, "Il Principe Costante," and Archbishop
Trench, in his beautiful poem of the "Steadfast Prince," represent
Fernando as refusing to be ransomed by the cession of Ceuta. This
refusal he had neither the power nor the right to make. His real
nobleness lay in his willingacceptance
of the suffering
brought on him
by the decision of others.
December 2, 1878.
"The child is father of the man."
In a small marble-paved court belonging to the newly-built palace of
King Joao the First of Portugal, on a splendid summer day in the year
1415, five youths were engaged in earnest
consultation. The summer air,
scent of the orange-trees beneath which they were seated,
might have inclined them to mere lazy enjoyment
of their young
existence--the busy sounds from the tilt-yard near have summoned them to
the sports and exercises for which their graceful, well-grown strength
evidently fitted them, or the books, several of which were scattered on
steps of the court, have employed their attention. But they
so deeply interested by the subject in hand as to have no
thoughts to spare for anything else--a fact the more remarkable
were not engaged in a dispute, but were discussing something on which
they were evidently
all agreed, and which they regarded as of the
"When our great uncle, Edward the Black Prince, won his spurs," said the
eldest, a tall, dark-haired young man, with a singularly considerate
intelligent countenance, "it was at Crecy by hard fighting. _He_ did
something to deserve
knighthood. His father let him win the field for
himself. `Is my son unhorsed,' he said, `or mortally wounded? Nay,
then let him win his spurs.' And see how he won them!"
"And _he_ was only sixteen!" said the second brother, who resembled the
first speaker, but had a more fiery and vivacious expression.
"Ay, Pedro, we have waited too long for our chance; it suits not with
"Oh," broke in the fourth boy vehemently, "why cannot the King find some
pretext for war? If Castile or Arragon would but insult
us! But my
father says he cannot engage in an unjust
war merely to knight
'Tis very unlucky."
"Nay," said the eldest
brother, "I cannot blame him. He must consider
the country's good."
"Ah!" said Pedro, "there always _were_ wars and deeds of arms in those
good old days. But these are dull times; it is not worth while living
in the world now. Everything is for policy
and justice; no one acts for
pure glory and knight-errantry."
"That is a stupid
thing to say," said the third brother, who had not
hitherto spoken, a youth with broad, thoughtful
brows and large grey
eyes. "We do not know what one half of the world is like; there is
quite enough to do in finding
"Enrique is for ever wondering about countries beyond seas," said Pedro.
"Are Duarte and he and I to seek knighthood
by sailing away to look for
savages--the saints know where?"
"We have not yet killed _nearly_ all the infidels," said the youngest
brother of all, rather dreamily.
"There are no Crusades now, Fernando," said Duarte; "and to my thinking
absent sovereigns make ill-governed kingdoms."
"And are there no Infidels except in Palestine?" cried the little
Fernando, springing to his feet. "I would sooner earn _my_ knighthood
by destroying the villains who steal children and imprison
than by fighting with brave gentlemen like ourselves. I would sooner be
Godfrey de Bouillon than our uncle Edward. Let us go and take Tangiers
or Ceuta at the sword's point; then can we be knighted with honour, and
Cross--" Here the child's excitement
tears filled his eyes, and he hid his face behind Enrique.
"There is much in the child's words," said Duarte. "Weep not, Fernando,
if I go to fight the infidel, thou shalt be my page. Come, Pedro and
Enrique, walk this way with me." And the three elders strolled away
together, leaving their juniors to speculate
on their subject of
These five brothers, afterwards perhaps among the most brilliant, and
certainly among the most virtuous, princes who ever adorned a royal
house, were the sons of Joao the First of Portugal, the founder
house of Avis, so called from the order of knighthood
of which he was
grand-master. He succeeded to the throne
of Portugal rather by election
than by inheritance, and after a period of disturbance
and trouble; but
his great qualities raised the little kingdom to quite a new place among
nations, and in Philippa of Lancaster, the daughter of John of Gaunt by
his first wife, he met with a Queen fully worthy
of him. The interest
which John of Gaunt's second marriage gave him in the affairs of Castile
made an alliance
in the Peninsula desirable
to him; but Philippa was
free from the distracting claims to the Castilian succession
young half-sister Catherine, and involved her husband in no quarrels.
It may well be a source of pride to the English reader to remember that
her sons were of Plantagenet blood, for they inherited all the virtues
and few of the faults of that noble and generous
Perhaps the profound
peace which made it so difficult to these young
princes to signalise their knighthood
by any deed of arms worthy
their name may seem more to King Joao's credit in modern eyes than in
those of his sons; but it was not strange that young men, all with
talents and aims far above the average in any age, rank, or country,
should wish to make a reality
of that which was perhaps on the verge of
becoming a splendid form, and burning with the truest spirit of
chivalry, should, as many have done since, sigh for times when it was
easier to express it. They were all as highly educated as was possible
to the times in which they lived, and Edward, or Duarte, as he was
called by the Portuguese form of his English name, was a considerable
scholar; but war was still the calling
of a prince
and a gentleman, and
they felt hardly used in being debarred from it. King Joao, however,
was of so enlightened or so degenerate
a spirit that he refused to
plunge his kingdom into war solely
for the purpose of knighting his
sons. Hence the foregoing
The three elder brothers walked up and down under the shade of the
orange-trees--tall and stately
youths, with serious faces, and minds set
on the subject in hand. Duarte walked in the middle, and seemed to be
weighing the arguments addressed to him by Enrique; his more rounded
outlines, and a certain tender gentleness
of expression in his dark
eyes, gave him the air of being younger than Pedro, whose colouring
darker and his face sterner and more impetuous. He was sometimes
arrogant and hasty; but no one ever heard a sharp word from the just and
gentle Duarte, whose mental
power and high scholarship
seemed but to add
to his unselfish consideration. The tallest of the three was Enrique,
in whose great size and strength and fair skin the English mother loved
to trace the characteristics of the Plantagenets. He talked with
intense eagerness, and his great dark eyes were full of ardour, but of
the dreaminess accompanying ardour
for an unseen
object. The two
younger boys had meanwhile
remained sitting on the steps, ostensibly
learning their lessons from a very crabbed-looking Latin manuscript
spread out between them. Joao was a fine dark-eyed boy of fourteen,
with an exceedingly
acute and intelligent
countenance. Fernando was two
years younger, and though tall for his age, was slender
and fragile. He
had the flaxen hair and brilliantfairness
of his mother's race, but the
large blue eyes had the same dreamyintensity
that marked Enrique's,
with a sweetness
all their own. These two were kindred
the bond that united all the five, and never failed them through the
long lives spent in toil and self-denial.
Enrique having parted from the two elder ones came up to the steps, and
Fernando looked up at him eagerly, while Joao jumped up, announcing that
he knew his lesson, and should go and play.
"But I do not know mine," said Fernando, disconsolately.
Enrique sat down on the step, and drawing
the child up to his side,
began to translate
the Latin for him into French, in which language the
Portuguese court, in imitation
of the English one, usually conversed.
Fernando was so delicate
that the strict
they were all educated was sometimes relaxed in his favour. He was,
however, an apt pupil, and presently
Enrique closed the book.
"There, now you can go and play."
"No," said Fernando, pressing up to his brother. "Tell me, have you
been talking about the knighthood?"
"Yes," said Enrique; "we are resolved
that if we have to wait for ever,
we will not make a pretence
of that which should be so great a thing.
Not the year of tournaments shall tempt us."
"When I am knighted," said Fernando, "I will go and fight the Moors in
Africa, and destroy the castles where they make good Christians to toil
as slaves. Would it not be joy to open the prisons and set them free?"
"Ay," said Enrique, looking straight out of his wide-opened eyes as if
he saw far away. "Then, too, should we see what lies behind--behind
Tangiers and Ceuta, beyond the sands. There might we spread the Cross."
"And there maybe are the two-headed giants and the dragons like the one
Saint George of England killed; and magic castles, and fiery pits, the
very entrance of hell. You used to say so."
"Ah, maybe," said Enrique, smiling. "Anyway there is the wide earth,
the world that we do not know."
"Then you do not think all the countries are discovered yet?" looking up
in his face.
"Nay, surely not," said Enrique, with gathering
pointing to the sparkling bay before them, "does that go on for ever,
and for ever. Well is the Atlantic called the Sea of Darkness, blue and
bright as it may be! But the lost path to the Indies, where is it?
Where is that island the Englishman saw in mid-ocean? Where, where?"
Enrique paused, his face one unanswered question. "Some day I will
"But in the meantime," said Fernando, "the enemies of the Blessed
Saviour are here close by, killing and destroying good Christians?"
"Well," said Enrique, coming out of the clouds, "we will deal first with
them, sooner maybe than you think for! But there are more ways than one
of subduing the world for Christ. You can win your knighthood
Barbary by and by, while _I_ look for the fiery dragons beyond."
He pulled a roughly-drawn map towards him, and began to study it.
"Ah, but not all alone," said Fernando, vehemently; "the fiery dragons
might kill you, and I could not fight the infidels by myself."
"Not yet," said Enrique, soothingly, "you have to grow strong first."
He stretched himself out, leaning on his elbow, and knitting
in absorbed study of the map before him. Fernando sat leaning against
him in silence. His brothers were all tender and good to him; but
Enrique was the best-loved of them all, and the idea that these
eagerly-desired adventures involved a parting
had never been realised by
him before. Presently he raised himself, and sat a little apart,
looking before him with a face that, with all its fair tinting and
delicate outline, set into lines of remarkable
force and firmness.
"Enrique," he said, presently.
"I _will_ go without you to fight the infidel if there is no other way.
For we are soldiers of the Cross, and our Blessed Lord is our Captain,
and He would be with me. But oh! dear Enrique, I will pray every day
that He will send you too."
"Now, then, mother will be angry," said Enrique, as the excitable boy
broke into a passion
"Did she not say you should not talk of infidels, or Christians either,
if it made you cry? I feel sure our uncle Edward did not cry at the
thought of the French."
"I am not afraid; it is not that I am afraid," sobbed Fernando,
"No, no! I know. See, Fernando, I promise I will go with you when you
win your spurs. Hush, now, it is almost supper-time. Shall I take you
to mother first?"
"No," said Fernando, recovering himself. "I will not cry."
"Come then," said Enrique, pulling his long limbs up from their lounging
attitude, and holding
out his hand. "Come and see the English mastiffs,
and some day, maybe, I will tell you a secret."
THE DEED OF ARMS.
"I know, Sir King,
All that belongs to knighthood, and I love."
The supper was over, and King Joao was seeking for some relaxation from
the cares of state in the society of his wife and children. He and his
fair English Queen would then sit in their private room, and the five
sons would give an account
of their studies, exercises, and amusements
during the day, or sometimes practisespeaking
English with their
mother, or receive from her good advice or tender encouragement. The
King and Queen sat on chairs, the princes stood respectfully
when, after a silence, Duarte suddenly advanced
"Sire, I and my brothers have a proposal to make to your grace."
"Say on. I am ready to hear you, though I do not promise to find wisdom
in the proposals of your rash youth," said Dom Joao, while the
fair-haired mother smiled encouragement.
"Sire, it has pleased you to regard without displeasure
our wish not to
receive the sacred
order of knighthood
without some deed of arms that
should render us worthy
of it; and I, and at least my brother Pedro,
have waited till the usual age is past, in the hope that some fortunate
constant [´kɔnstənt] a.坚定的；坚贞的 (初中英语单词)prince [´prins] n.王子；亲王；君主 (初中英语单词)supposed [sə´pəuzd] a.想象的；假定的 (初中英语单词)writer [´raitə] n.作者；作家 (初中英语单词)romance [rəu´mæns] n.中世纪骑士小说 (初中英语单词)instance [´instəns] n.例子，实例，例证 (初中英语单词)peculiar [pi´kju:liə] a.特有的；奇异的 (初中英语单词)obtain [əb´tein] v.获得；买到；得到承认 (初中英语单词)outline [´autlain] n.外形 vt.画出…轮廓 (初中英语单词)wholly [´həul-li] ad.完全，十足；统统 (初中英语单词)willing [´wiliŋ] a.情愿的，乐意的 (初中英语单词)suffering [´sʌfəriŋ] n.痛苦；灾害 (初中英语单词)earnest [´ə:nist] a.认真的 n.认真；诚恳 (初中英语单词)graceful [´greisfəl] a.优美的，流畅的 (初中英语单词)marble [´mɑ:bəl] n.大理石 a.大理石的 (初中英语单词)evidently [´evidəntli] ad.明显地 (初中英语单词)remarkable [ri´mɑ:kəbl] a.值得注意的；显著的 (初中英语单词)dispute [di´spju:t] v.&n.争论，辩论；争吵 (初中英语单词)countenance [´kauntinəns] n.面部表情；脸色；面容 (初中英语单词)deserve [di´zə:v] v.应受；值得 (初中英语单词)speaker [´spi:kə] n.演讲人；代言人 (初中英语单词)insult [in´sʌlt, ´insʌlt] n.&vt.侮辱；损害 (初中英语单词)stupid [´stju:pid] a.愚蠢的；糊涂的 (初中英语单词)spoken [´spəukən] speak的过去分词 (初中英语单词)excitement [ik´saitmənt] n.兴奋；骚动；煽动 (初中英语单词)brilliant [´briliənt] a.灿烂的；杰出的 (初中英语单词)worthy [´wə:ði] a.有价值的；值得的 (初中英语单词)alliance [ə´laiəns] n.联盟；同盟 (初中英语单词)desirable [di´zaiərəbəl] a.向往的；极好的 (初中英语单词)succession [sək´seʃən] n.继任；继承(权) (初中英语单词)generous [´dʒenərəs] a.慷慨的；丰盛的 (初中英语单词)reality [ri´æliti] n.现实(性)；真实；逼真 (初中英语单词)mental [´mentl] a.精神的；心理的 (初中英语单词)consideration [kən,sidə´reiʃən] n.考虑；原因；体谅 (初中英语单词)meanwhile [´mi:n´wail] n.&ad.其间；同时 (初中英语单词)intelligent [in´telidʒənt] a.聪明的；理智的 (初中英语单词)slender [´slendə] a.细长的；微薄的 (初中英语单词)eagerly [´i:gəli] ad.渴望地，急切地 (初中英语单词)delicate [´delikət] a.精美的；微妙的 (初中英语单词)severe [si´viə] a.严厉的；苛刻的 (初中英语单词)system [´sistəm] n.系统，体系，制度 (初中英语单词)presently [´prezəntli] ad.不久；目前 (初中英语单词)christ [kraist] n.基督 int.天啊! (初中英语单词)knitting [´nitiŋ] n.编织(物)；接合；联合 (初中英语单词)passion [´pæʃən] n.激情；激怒；恋爱 (初中英语单词)account [ə´kaunt] vi.说明 vt.认为 n.帐目 (初中英语单词)practise [´præktis] v.实践(行，施)；提倡 (初中英语单词)advanced [əd´vɑ:nst] a.先进的；高级的 (初中英语单词)sacred [´seikrid] a.神圣的；庄严的 (初中英语单词)fortunate [´fɔ:tʃənət] a.幸运的，侥幸的 (初中英语单词)edition [i´diʃən] n.版本；很相似的 (高中英语单词)commonly [´kɔmənli] ad.一般地；通常 (高中英语单词)historical [his´tɔrikəl] a.历史(上)的 (高中英语单词)therein [ðeə´rin] ad.在那里，在其中 (高中英语单词)cultivation [,kʌlti´veiʃən] n.耕作；培养 (高中英语单词)mutual [´mju:tʃuəl] a.相互的；共同的 (高中英语单词)eldest [´eldist] a.最年长的 (高中英语单词)breach [bri:tʃ] n.&v.破坏；违犯 (高中英语单词)acceptance [ək´septəns] n.接受；承认 (高中英语单词)portugal [´pɔ:tjugəl] n.葡萄牙 (高中英语单词)enjoyment [in´dʒɔimənt] n.享受；愉快；乐趣 (高中英语单词)knight [nait] n.骑士；爵士 (高中英语单词)thoughtful [´θɔ:tfəl] a.深思的；体贴的 (高中英语单词)finding [´faindiŋ] n.发现物；判断；结果 (高中英语单词)imprison [im´prizən] vt.监禁，下狱 (高中英语单词)founder [´faundə] n.奠基者 v.陷落 (高中英语单词)throne [θrəun] n.宝座；王位 (高中英语单词)inheritance [in´heritəns] n.继承(物)；遗传；遗产 (高中英语单词)disturbance [di´stə:bəns] n.扰乱，骚动 (高中英语单词)peninsula [pi´ninsjulə] n.半岛 (高中英语单词)profound [prə´faund] a.深奥的；渊博的 (高中英语单词)solely [´səulli] ad.唯一；单独；完全 (高中英语单词)stately [´steitli] a.庄严的，雄伟的 (高中英语单词)eagerness [´i:gənis] n.渴望；热忱 (高中英语单词)unseen [,ʌn´si:n] a.未看见的 (高中英语单词)exceedingly [ik´si:diŋli] ad.非常地，极度地 (高中英语单词)intensity [in´tensiti] a.激烈；强度；深度 (高中英语单词)sweetness [´swi:tnis] n.甜蜜；芳香；亲切 (高中英语单词)kindred [´kindrid] n.亲属关系；同源关系 (高中英语单词)translate [trænz´leit, træns-] v.翻译；解释；说明 (高中英语单词)imitation [,imi´teiʃən] n.模仿；仿制品；赝品 (高中英语单词)strict [strikt] a.严厉的；精确的 (高中英语单词)pretence [pri´tens] n.假装；托词；无理要求 (高中英语单词)indies [´indiz] n.东(西)印度群岛 (高中英语单词)encouragement [in´kʌridʒmənt] n.鼓励；赞助；引诱 (高中英语单词)consultation [,kɔnsəl´teiʃən] n.商量；会诊；查阅 (英语四级单词)unjust [ʌn´dʒʌst] a.不公平(正)的 (英语四级单词)policy [´pɔlisi] n.政策；权谋；保险单 (英语四级单词)blessed [´blesid] a.享福的；神圣的 (英语四级单词)overcame [,əuvə´keim] overcome的过去式 (英语四级单词)virtuous [´və:tjuəs] a.道德的；善良的 (英语四级单词)portuguese [,pɔ:tʃu´gi:z] a.葡萄牙的 n.葡萄牙人 (英语四级单词)degenerate [di´dʒenərət, -reit] vi.腐化，堕落 (英语四级单词)gentleness [´dʒentlnis] n.温和，温柔 (英语四级单词)scholarship [´skɔləʃip, ´skɑlər-] n.学术成就；学问 (英语四级单词)ardour [´ɑ:də] n.热心，热情 (英语四级单词)fragile [´frædʒail] a.易碎的；虚弱的 (英语四级单词)drawing [´drɔ:iŋ] n.画图；制图；图样 (英语四级单词)resolved [ri´zɔlvd] a.决心的；坚定的 (英语四级单词)gathering [´gæðəriŋ] n.集会，聚集 (英语四级单词)parting [´pɑ:tiŋ] a.&n.分离(的) (英语四级单词)respectfully [ris´pektfuli] ad.恭敬地 (英语四级单词)displeasure [dis´pleʒə] n.不高兴，不快，生气 (英语四级单词)luscious [´lʌʃəs] a.味道甘美的 (英语六级单词)considerate [kən´sidərit] a.考虑周到的；体谅的 (英语六级单词)knighthood [´naithud] n.骑士的地位(资格) (英语六级单词)speculate [´spekjuleit] vi.思索；推测；投机 (英语六级单词)calling [´kɔ:liŋ] n.点名；职业；欲望 (英语六级单词)foregoing [´fɔ:gəuiŋ] a.在前的，上述的 (英语六级单词)colouring [´kʌləriŋ] n.色彩；外貌；伪装 (英语六级单词)impetuous [im´petjuəs] a.急促的；猛烈的 (英语六级单词)fairness [´fɛənis] n.公正；晴朗 (英语六级单词)dreamy [´dri:mi] a.心不在焉的；朦胧的 (英语六级单词)holding [´həuldiŋ] n.保持，固定，存储 (英语六级单词)speaking [´spi:kiŋ] n.说话 a.发言的 (英语六级单词)