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Page 15. The bloody battle of the Spurs of Gold.
This battle, the most memorable in Flemish history, was fought under the walls of Courtray, on the 11th of July, 1302, between the French and the Flemings, the former commanded by Robert, Comte d'Artois, and the latter by Guillaume de Juliers, and Jean, Comte de Namur. The French army was completely routed, with a loss of twenty thousand infantry and seven thousand cavalry; among whom were sixty-three princes, dukes, and counts, seven hundred lordsbanneret, and eleven hundred noblemen. The flower of the French nobility perished on that day; to which history has given the name of the Journée des Éperons d'Or, from the great number of golden spurs found on the field of battle. Seven hundred of them were hung up as a trophy in the church of Notre Dame de Courtray; and, as the cavaliers of that day wore but a single spur each, these vouched to God for the violent and bloody death of seven hundred of his creatures.
PAGE 15. Saw the fight at Minnewater.
When the inhabitants of Bruges were digging a canal at Minnewater, to bring the waters of the Lys from Deynze to their city, they were attacked and routed by the citizens of Ghent, whose commerce would have been much injured by the canal. They were led by Jean Lyons, captain of a military company at Ghent, called the Chaperons Blancs. He had great sway over the turbulent populace, who, in those prosperous times of the city, gained an easy livelihood by laboring two or three days in the week, and had the remaining four or five to devote to public affairs. The fight at Minnewater was followed by open rebellion against Louis de Maele, the Count of Flanders and Protector of Bruges. His superb château of Wondelghem was pillaged and burnt; and the insurgents forced the gates of Bruges, and entered in triumph, with Lyons mounted at their head. A few days afterwards he died suddenly, perhaps by poison.
Meanwhile the insurgents received a check at the village of Nevèle; and two hundred of them perished in the church, which was burned by the count's orders. One of the chiefs, Jean de Lannoy, took refuge in the belfry. From the summit of the tower he held forth his purse filled with gold, and begged for deliverance. It was in vain. His enemies cried to him from below to save himself as best he might; and, half suffocated with smoke and flame, he threw himself from the tower and perished at their feet. Peace was soon afterwards established, and the count retired to faithful Bruges.
PAGE 15. The Golden Dragon's nest.
The Golden Dragon, taken from the church of St. Sophia, at Constantinople, in one of the Crusades, and placed on the belfry of Bruges, was afterwards transported to Ghent by Philip van Artevelde, and still adorns the belfry of that city.
The inscription on the alarm-bell at Ghent is, “ Mynen naem is Roland; als ik klep is er brand, and als ik luy is er victorie in het land.” My name is Roland; when I toll there is fire, and when I ring there is victory in the land.
PAGE 28. That their great imperial city stretched its hand
through every clime.
An old popular proverb of the tower runs thus : –
“ Nurnberg's Hand
Geht durch alle Land.”
Page 28. Sat the poet Melchior singing Kaiser Maximilian's
MELCHIOR PFinding was one of the most celebrated German poets of the sixteenth century. The hero of his Teuerdank was the reigning emperor, Maximilian; and the poem was to the Germans of that day what the Orlando Furioso was to the Italians. Maximilian is mentioned before, in the Belfry of Bruges. See note to page 14.
PAGE 29. In the church of sainted Sebald sleeps enshrined his
The tomb of Saint Sebald, in the church which bears his name, is one of the richest works of art in Nuremberg. It is of bronze, and was cast by Peter Vischer and his sons, who labored upon it thirteen years. It is adorned with nearly one hundred figures, among which those of the Twelve Apostles are conspicuous for size and beauty.
Page 29. In the church of sainted Lawrence stands a pix of
This pix, or tabernacle for the vessels of the sacrament, is by the hand of Adam Kraft. It is an exquisite piece of sculpture in white stone, and rises to the height of sixty-four feet. It stands in the choir, whose richly painted windows cover it with varied colors.
PAGE 32. Wisest of the Twelve Wise Masters.
The Twelve Wise Masters was the title of the original corporation of the Mastersingers. Hans Sachs, the cobbler of Nuremberg, though not one of the original Twelve, was the most renowned of the Mastersingers, as well as the most voluminous. He flourished in the sixteenth century; and left behind him thirty-four folio volumes of manuscript, containing two hundred eight plays, one thousand and seven hundred comic tales, and between four and five thousand lyric poems.
PAGE 32. As in Adam Puschman's song.
Adam Puschman, in his poem on the death of Hans Sachs, describes him as he appeared in a vision :
16 An old man,
PAGE 88. Walter von der Vogelweide.
Walter VON DER VOGELWEIDE, or Bird-Meadow, was one of the principal Minnesingers of the thirteenth century. He triumphed over Heinrich von Ofterdingen in that poetic contest at the Wartburg Castle, known in literary history as the War of Wartburg.