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f What promise was that?' quoth Lisuarte. 'To maintain chivalry in its highest honour and degree: few princes now-a-days labour to that end; therefore are you to be commended above all other.' 'Certes, knight, that promise shall hold while I live.' 'God grant you life to complete it!' quoth the old man: 'and because you have summoned a great court to London, I have brought something here which becomes such a person, for such an occasion.' Then he opened the coffer and took out a Crown of Gold, so curiously wrought and set with pearls and gems, that all were amazed at its beauty; and it well appeared that it was only fit for the brow of some mighty lord. 'Is it not a work which the most cunning artists would wonder at?' said the old knight. Lisuarte answered, 'In truth it is.' 'Yet,' said the knight, ' it hath a virtue more to be esteemed than its rare work and richness: whatever king hath it on his head shall always increase his honour; this it did for him for whom it was made till the day of his death: since then no king hath

worn it. I will give it you, sir, for one boon.'

'You also, Lady,' said the knight, 'should purchase a rich mantle that I bring:' and he took from the coffer the richest and most beautiful mantle that ever was seen; for besides the pearls and precious stones with which it was beautified, there were figured on it all the birds and beasts in nature; so that it looked like a miracle. 'On my faith,' exclaimed the Queen, ' this cloth can only have been made by that Lord who can do everything.' 'It is the work of man,' said the old knight; 'but rarely will one be found to make its fellow: it should belong to wife rather than maiden, for she that weareth it shall never have dispute with her husband? Britna answered, < If that be true, it is above all price; I will give you for it whatsoever you ask.' And Lisuarte bade him demand what he would for the mantle and crown." *

But the robe which occupied the busy fingers of the Saracen king's daughter for seven long years, and of which the jewelled ornaments inwrought in it—as was then very usual—were sought far and wide, has often been referred to (albeit wanting in fairy gifts) as a crowning proof of female industry and talent. We give the full description from the Romance of e Emare/ in Ritson's collection :—

"Sone aftur yu a whyle,
The ryche Kynge of Cesyle

To the Kmperour gaun wende,
A ryche present wyth hym he browght,
A cloth that was wordylye wroght,

He well corned hym at the hende.f

"Syr Tergaunte, that nobyll knyghte hyghte, He presented the Emperour ryght,

And sette hym on hys kne,
Wyth that cloth rychyly dyght.
Full of stones ther hit was pyght,

As thykke as hit myght be,
Offtopaze andrubyes,
And other stones of myche prys,

That semely wer to se,
Of crapowtes and nakette,
As thykke ar they sette

For sothe as y say the.

* Amadis of Gaul, bk. i. ch. xxx.
f Hende—kind, civil, obliging.

"The cloth was displayed sone,
The Emperoer lokede therupone,

And myght hyt not se,
For glysteryng of the ryche ston
Redy syght had he non,

And sayde, How may thys be?
The Emperour sayde on hygh,
Sertes thys ys a fayry,

Or ellys a vanyte.
The Kyng of Cysyle answered than
So ryche a Jewell ys ther non

In all Crystyante.

"The amerayle* dowghter of hethennes Made this cloth withouten lees,

And wrowghte hit all with pride,
And purtreyed hyt with gret honour,
Wyth ryche golde and asowr,f

And stones on ylke a side;
And, as the story telles in honde,
The stones that yn this cloth stonde

Sowghte they wer full wyde.
Seven wynter hit was yn makynge,
Or hit was browght to endynge,

In herte ys not to hyde.

"In that on korner made was
Idoyne and Amadas,

With love that was so 1rewe?
For they loveden hem wit honour,
Portrayed they wer with trewe-love flour,

Of stones bryght of hewe,
Wyth carbankull and safere,
Kasydonys and onyx so clere,

Sette in golde newe,
Deamondes and rubyes,
And other stones of mychyll pryse,
And menstrellys with her gle.

* Saracen king. f Asowr—azure.

"In that other korner was dyght, Trystram and Isowde so bryght,

That semely wer to se,
And for they loved hem ryght,
As full of stones ar they dyght,

As thykke as they may be,
Of topase and of rubyes,
And other stones of myche pryse,

That semely wer to se,
With crapawtes and nakette,
Thykke of stones ar they sette,

For sothe as y say the.

* In the thyrdde korner, with gret honour, Was Florys and dame Blawncheflour,

As love was hem betwene, For they loved wyth honour, Purtrayed they wer with trewe-love-flower,

With stones bryght and shene. Ther wer knyghtes and senatowres, Emerawdes of gret vertues,

To wyte withouten wene, Deamondes and koralle, Perydotes and crystall,

And gode garnettes bytwene.

"In the fowrthe korner was oon Of Babylone the sowdan sonne,

The amerayle's dowghter hym by,
For hys sake the cloth was wrowght,
She loved hym in hert and thowght,

As testy-moyeth thys storye.
The fayr mayden her byforn
Was purtrayed an unykorn,

With hys horn so hye,
Flowres and bryddes on ylke a syde,
Wyth stones that wer sowght wyde,

Stuffed wyth ymagerye.

"When the cloth to ende was wrought,
To the sowdan sone hit was browght,

That semely was of syghte:
'My fadyr was a nobyll man,
Of the sowdan he hit wan,

Wyth maystrye and myghth;
For gret love he yaf hyt me,
I brynge hit the in specyalte,

Thys cloth ys rychely dyght.'
He yaf hit the Emperour,
He receyved hit wyth gret honour,
And thonkede hym fayr and ryght."

We must not dismiss this subject without recording a species of mantle much celebrated in romance, and which must have tried the skill and patience of the fair votaries of the needle to the uttermost. We all have seen, perhaps we have some of us been foolish enough to manufacture, initials with hair, as tokens or souvenirs, or some other such fooleries. In our mothers' and grandmothers' days, when "fine marking" was the sine qua non of a good education, whole sets of linen were thus elaborately marked; and often have we marvelled when these tokens of grandmotherly skill and industry were displayed to our wondering and aching eyes. What then should we have thought of King Ryence's mantle, of rich scarlet, bordered round with the beards of kings, sewed thereon full craftily by accomplished female hands. Thus runs the anecdote in the 'Morte Arthur:'—

"Came a messenger hastely from King Ryence, of North Wales, saying, that King Ryence had discomfited and overcomen eleaven kings, and everiche of them did him homage, and that was thus: they

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