Henry Peacham (1638) The Valley of Varietie, Chapter XX, pp. 162-167.


Back
Back
Home
Other Texts Home
Home
Sir Thomas Browne Home
Home
Peacham Home
Home
Next

CHAP. XX.

A most ancient and pleasant manner of Choosing their Prince in Carinthia.

IN Carinthia, as often as a new Prince is to bee chosen, and to take the government upon him, they observe a Custome, the like whereof is not in the world. Not farre from the Towne of Saint Vitus, in a goodly Valley, are seen the ruines of an old Citie, the name whereof Antiquitie of Time hath abolished. Not farre off, among many large Medowes, is erected a Marble stone: on this stone a Peasant or Country-man gets up, (which office hee hath Hæreditarie, as belonging to him and his posteritie) at whose right hand standeth a leane blacke Oxe, and an ill-favoured Mare of Paramatiæ; about this Mare stand a multitude of people, and all the Husbandmen of the Countrie.

Then the Prince commeth on forward from the other part of the Medow, all his Nobles in Purple accompanying him; the Earle of Goritia (who is Steward, and keeper of the Princes Pallace) carrieth the Banner and Armes of the Country, runneth before between twelve lesser Banners; the other Magistrates follow after. In all this companie, every one goeth in an honourable and respectfull fashion, saving the Prince himselfe: who goeth like a Clowne or a Country-man, and apparrelled accordingly; for hee weareth an old side-coat, a Plow-mans cap, high shooes, and a Shepherds hooke in his hand; whom, as soone as the other Country-man upon the stone hath espied, he cals out aloud unto him in the Slavonian tongue, (for the Carinthians are all of them Slavonians) Who is this whom I espie comming in that state, and so proud a gate towards me? The standers by answer, That the Prince of the Country is come. He upon the stone then replies, What is hee? Is hee an upright Judge? And seeks the good and safety of the Countrie? Is hee of a free condition, and worthy of Honour? Is he a professour and maintainer of the Christian Religion? and will hee be a defender of the same? All then answer together, He is, and will be. I therefore demand, by what right hee can dispossesse and stirre me from my seate, this same stone? The Earle of Goritia answers, This place shall be bought of you for threescore pence, these Cattle shall be yours, (shewing him the Oxe and the Mare) besides, you shall have also the Princes apparell, which shortly hee will leave off, your house shall be free, without paying Tribute. Which words being pronounced, the Country-man upon the stone, gives the Prince a gentle box on the eare, and bids him be a good Judge; then arising, and taking his goodly beasts with him, he yields his place to the Prince.

The Prince getting up upon the Stone, turnes himselfe round about toward the people, with his Sword drawne, which hee flourisheth every way, and over his head, promising true Justice unto the people. Then they bring him fayre water to drinke out of a Countrey-mans Cap, meaning, that hee should put downe the drinking, and use of Wine. After this hee goeth unto a Church dedicated unto the Blessed Virgine Marie, which standeth upon a little Mount not farre off, where solemne Service being finished, hee casteth off his Countrey habit, putting on a princely Robe, and having feasted royally with his Nobles, hee goeth againe into the aforesayd Meadowe, and there sitting in a Chaire of State, hee administers Justice to all that aske it, and disposeth of houses and lands. The Duke of Carinthia had sometime the place of chiefe Hunts-man of the Empire, before whome all Controversies amongst Hunters and Wood-men, were brought and decided.


This page is by James Eason.