Henry Peacham (1638) The Valley of Varietie, Chapter XIX, pp. 158-161.


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CHAP. XIX.

The occasion of the alteration of the Armes of Bohemia.

WHEN Vladislaus K. of Bohemia tooke part with Frederick Barbarossa, and very much assisted him with Men, Munition, and all things necessarie for his Expedition against Millan: Millan being taken, the day after the Emperor had entred into the Citie, mounted upon a goodly Courser, in his Imperiall Robes, wearing the Crowne which the King of England had sent him, all beset with most resplendent and prizelesse Jemmes, hee entred into the choyce Church of the Citie, wherein the Arch-bishop of Millane sayd Masse; there taking off his Crowne, hee presented it to the King of Bohemia in these words: Vladislaus, this Crowne, and the Honour thereunto belonging, being the gift of my loving Friend the King of England, appertaineth by right unto your selfe: for you have been both the head and foot of that Victory which now I have obtained. Moreover, as a perpetuall Testimonie and Monument of our mutuall love and friendship unto all posteritie, give mee leave to change your Single blacke Eagle into a sterne Lion: for a Lyon in strength and courage farre excelleth an Eagle. The King yeelded unto him, giving him many thankes. Then by the Commandement of the Emperour a Painter was sent for, who should draw this Lyon in an Ensigne: but heare a merry jeast which followed. The Paynter by chance had so drawne him, that his Tayle lay close between his legges, as if he had had none at all; which the Bohemians observing; and I pray you (quoth they to the Painter) Where is his tayle? this is more like an ill-favoured Jack an apes, then a generous Lyon. Hereupon despising this coward-like Lion, they desired (being much grieved) that they might have their old Eagle againe. This when it was related unto the Emperour, he fell into a great laughter, saying, It is no hard matter to finde a remedy for this, and to please the Bohemians. Wherfore he caused presently to bee new paynted, a white Lion, not with one taile onely, but with two, and those fairely aloft, cast over his backe: which remaineth the Armes of the Bohemians even to this day.1

Note

1. The two tails are in fact one tail, "fourchée", or forked. The blazon is Gules a lion rampant queue fourchée argent armed and langed [and somtimes crowned] or. There is a rather absurd 19th-century representation of these arms, with some history, at Civic Heraldry, along with a link to a representation of the old arms of Bohemia.


This page is by James Eason.