Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Battle of Tewkesbury

"It is the signal of parting," said the exiled Queen, collecting herself. " Do not fear, noble Oxford, I am not often thus; but how seldom do I see those friends, whose faces and voices can disturb the composure of my despair! Let me tie this relic about thy neck, good youth, and fear not its evil influence, though you receive it from an ill-omened hand. It was my husband's, blessed by many a prayer, and sanctified by many a holy tear; even my unhappy hands cannot pollute it. I should have bound it on my Edward's bosom on the dreadful morning of Tewkesbury fight; but he armed early — went to the field without seeing me, and all my purpose was vain.

She passed a golden chain round Arthur's neck as she spoke, which contained a small gold crucifix of rich but barbarous manufacture. It had belonged, said tradition, to Edward the Confessor. The knock at the door of the chapel was repeated.

"We must not tarry," said Margaret; "let us part here — you for Dijon — I to Aix, my abode of unrest in Provence. Farewell — we may meet in a better hour — yet how can I hope it? Thus I said on the morning before the fight of St. Albans — thus on the dark dawning of Towton — thus on the yet more bloody field of Tewkesbury — and what was the event? Yet hope is a plant which cannot be rooted out of a noble breast, till the last heart-string crack as it is pulled away."

The Battle of Tewkesbury was a Yorkist victory over the Lancastrians; part of the Wars of the Roses, as Sir Walter Scott termed it.  This battle took place on May 4, 1471.  The Wars of the Roses are part of the background for Scott's "Anne of Gieirstein" (text above).

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