Too often we discover, on examination, that any lessons we may derive from such, arise from the instinctive promptings of our own hearts, from the spontaneous whispering of the mind, which revolts from its solemn and empty pomp. In the present instance, however, it is the monument itself that speaks. Or rather it is the spirit of the sculptor, which freeing itself from the trammels of "custom," "being dead, yet speaketh." Extinguished torches, mourning angels, and other rude, - and to say the least of them, not very christian-like - emblems of death, we have in abundance on our tombs; emblems, which can neither be pleasing to the survivors, nor suitable to those whom they have lost. But to this kingly, though in some respects barbarous memorial, I would direct the attention of our student sculptors and heralds: if the first would learn the force of truth in design, or the last would see how moral dignity may be im-parted to the blazoned shield. Few, I think, can have entered, for the first time and with unpre-judiced feelings, the solemn precincts of West-minster Abbey, or any other of our cathedrals, without feeling shocked and pained beyond ex-pression by the heathen monuments which, with but rare exceptions, deface the hallowed walls, and disturb the quietude of feeling otherwise produced by the place.
It is well that this sacred fane has, at least, its one truly Christian emblem of the putting off of mortality; so different from the gigantic and muscular-looking angels bearing departed spirits to heaven on petrified clouds re-sembling feather-beds; while cherubs - bodiless in the most material sense of the word - trumpet forth, with inflated cheeks, the "name, and style, and title," of the being who "departs this life." Few, I think, will not have felt how different are the emotions provoked by some such dese-cration of the memory of the dead, and those evoked by the simple device of the empty, and placidly opened husk, from which the ripened seed has fallen only to rise into a new life:- fit com-panion for the noblest epitaph in the world; the beautiful "Emigravit" of the painter, Albert Durer. But I have wandered far beyond my bounds, and must return to the learned and valuable researches of Mr. Gough Nichols,* .of which I have already so largely availed myself. At an early period, as he shews, the broom was a very favourite emblem in France. In the year 1234, St. Louis, as he is usually styled, celebrated the coronation of his queen, the fair Margaret of Provence, by creating a new order of knighthood:† - the soldiers of the broom, Millies genestella, the collar of which was composed of broom-flowers interwoven with the white lily (as emblematic of humility and purity), and bearing a golden cross, with the motto, "Exaltat humilis".
* In the "Archseologia".
† According, however, to Guillaume de Nangis, this institution only took place in the year 1267. See Ibid.
In the year 1368, Charles V. granted to his cham-berlain, Geoffry de Belleville, the right to wear, in all feasts and companies, the insignia of the broom-pod;* this was, evidently, a thing quite distinct from the badge of the Milites genestella; and, in-deed, at a later period, that of our own Henry IV., we find it described as the livery of the King of France. In the year 1389, Charles VI. gave the same decoration to his kinsmen, the King of Sicily and the Prince of Tarentum, making them, by the gift, knights of the Star of the Broom-pods; † so that a certain dignity, not before appertaining to it, was now evidently attached to the insignia. And in the year 1393, we even find him ordering his gold-smith, John Compere, to make for Richard II., of England, and his uncles, the Dukes of Gloucester, York, and Lancaster, collars formed of two twisted stalks interlaced with broom-pods, enamelled in white and green, and thickly set with pearls; with which alternated fifty letters forming "the word James (? jamais), ten times repeated." The value of the whole amounted to upwards of eight hun-dred and thirty francs.
At a later period, however, such jewels became far more costly; one of the three described amongst the crown jewels after the acces-sion of Henry IV., being, "overages de genestes, garnisez de iiii balez, iii saphirs, xxvi perles, poisant ii, une, et di'."* Henry VI., in the fourth year of his reign, had a collar made for himself of the letter S, intertwined with broom-pods; and in his wardrobe accounts occur, robes worked "cum ramis de brome".
* Collier de la cosse de genista, † Cosse de geneste.
The motto of James, or as it is more usually written, jamais,† appears to have been attached to the device of the broom; perhaps, on account of the evergreen nature of its branchlets, which made it symbolical of eternity. Thus, Menestrier mentions having seen a pall, long preserved in the monastery of the Dominicans, at Poissy, and which had covered the coffin of Madame Marie de France, the sister of Charles II., "seme," as heralds term it, with sprays of broom, and with the word jamais, in Gothic characters.
The Highland clan, Forbes, are true Plantagenets, so far as their device goes, as the broom is still their distinctive badge.
* "Ancient Kalendars and Inventories of the Treasury of the Exchequer," quoted by Mr. Gough Nichols.
† This is the word usually adopted for the name; but it may, perhaps, be sometimes put for j'aimais. The omission of the letter i in the word "aimer" would, at least, be a less violation of orthographical rules, than the spelling of jamais for James. The word jamais is well known to have been adopted as a punning watchword by the Jameses of the House of Stuart; but the fact can, in no way, bear on its inscription on a jewel given by a French to an earlier English sovereign. It should, however, be added, that an English family of the name of James, yet bears, I believe, the motto "j'ayme a jamais." Both James and Jacques are singularly unlike Jacobus. The Italians distinguish Giacomo from Giacopo.