Chap. I. State of Chivalry in England During the Reign of Edward the Third
CHAP. I. which Edwal'destablished at Windsorin ]344 described a circumference of six hundred feet: but it is more interesting to know, that the nobility and knighthood of France, Germany, Spain, and other countries flocked to England on the invitation of the King, and that the chivalric bands at 'Vindsor were graced by the presence of Queen Philippa and three hundred English ladies, who, in honour of the friendlv union of
" knights, were all arrayed in splendid dresses of one form and fashion, and looked like the sisters of a military order. Policy was mixed with chi. valric pride in Edward's plan; for he wished to retain in his service some of the foreign knights who repaired to the tournament at Windsor. Rut his intention to strengthen his chivalry was defeated by his rival philip of Valois, who established also a round table, to which the cavaliers of'the Continent could more easily repair than to that of Edward. * The knights of France were expressly forbidden by their king to attend the
festivities of the round table at 'VilldsOl". The CHAP, I. English monarch found, too, that he could not secure the attachment of stranger knights. That great chivalric principle, the companionship in weal or woe of men forming one society, was never regarded by them. Edward's table at '''indsor was sllI'rounded by gay cavaliers, who talked and sang of war and love, and then merrily returned to their own country filII of courtesy to their royal host for his gallant bearing, but not disposed to renounce the chivalric associations of their native land. Edward then changed his design, and wished to establish an order of merit, that so "true nobilit.y, after long and hazardous adventures, should 110t enviously be deprived of that honour, which it hath really deserved, and that active and hardy youth might not want a spur in the profession of virtue, which is to be esteemed glorious and eternal." '*' He accordingly assembled the nobility and knight-Order oC 1 d f ' I ' I dId I I" , the Garter, 100 0 US rea m, an s lowe tWill 1IS mtentlOu of forming an especi,ll brotherhood of knights, to be called Knights of the blue Garter, and of ordaining that a feast should be kept yearly at Windsor, 011 Saint George's day. The barons and cavaliers of England joyously agreed to his pleasure; for they were animated hy this en~
* Preface to the Black nook of the Order of the Garter. B ~3
CHAP. I. couragement to military feats, and they saw that great amity and love would grow and increase among them. Twenty-five of the most valiant men of the kingdom were then chosen."