previous next
[194] true soldier's gaudium certaminis is all there, but modified and kept under by the patriot's forgetfulness of self and devotion to duty, which is shown by a certain eager and slightly anxious gaze upon the distance, as if watching approaching re-enforcements. The rider recalls to our minds vivid suggestions of the knightly leaders of the medieval ages, the recital of whose deeds flushed our cheeks in boyhood. He looks as Charlemagne may have done that summer morning in the good year of our Lord 778, when he heard of the chivalric death of Roland and his whole corps in the gloomy defiles of the Roncesvalles; or as Alfred the Great, of England, that beautiful May morning when leading his troops at Ethandune; or as William the Norman, when he galloped over the green sward of Hastings, through the soft October evening sunshine, leading to the final charge, his chivalry who had struck up the soulinspiring, three-centuried song of Roland. No-nor more stately was Robert Bruce on the eve of Bannockburn, when he struck down from the saddle Sir Henry de Bohun, than, at the battle of the Wilderness, was Robert Lee, in whose veins coursed the mingled blood of these four above-mentioned heroes of the middle ages.

Recently, while collecting material for writing a biography of Major-General Alexander Spotswood, Governor of Virginia from 1710 to 1723, I discovered that through him Robert Lee, of Virginia, was seventeenth in direct descent from Robert Bruce, of Scotland. More-over, that of the five heroes who particularly distinguished themselves on the glorious field of Bannockburn, in driving back the invaders of their beloved country, Lee, through the same channel, was the direct descendant of four, namely: King Robert; Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray; Walter, the High Steward; and Sir Robert de Keith, Great Marischal of Scotland. These facts have never been brought out in any of the biographies of Lee. Indeed, until now, they were unknown to any of the descendants of Governor Spotswood, during the present century. I know this to be the case, for I have often conversed with my paternal grandmother, whose maiden name was Martha Dandridge, a great-granddaughter of Governor Spotswood, on the subject of the ancestry of the Spotswoods. She was quite an antiquary, and knew many of the traditionary tales of the “Knights of the golden Horseshoe,” besides their romantic ride over the blue mountains of Virginia, down to the cool waters of the silvery Shenandoah. The old lady, with pardonable pride, used to tell us children of her ancestor, the Governor, being on the staff of the Duke of Marlborough, and of his being wounded in the breast at the battle of Blenheim, August 13, 1704; of the Governor's grandfather, Sir Robert Spotswood, of whom

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Robert Lee (4)
Alexander Spotswood (3)
Roland (2)
Robert Bruce (2)
Robert Spotswood (1)
Thomas Randolph (1)
Robert Keith (1)
Hastings (1)
Martha Dandridge (1)
Henry Bohun (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1723 AD (1)
1710 AD (1)
August 13th, 1704 AD (1)
October (1)
May (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: