over the jupon, and therefore by gipon we are not to understand the splendidly emblazoned garment generally at this period covering the breast-plate or plastron, but a plain fustian just-au-corps, and by habergeon, the plastron or breast-plate itself. In the French metrical history of the deposition of Richard II. (Harleian MS. 1319) Bolingbroke is seen with a breast-plate, worn over a black jupon or just-au-corps. In the rhyme of Sir Topas, Chaucer gives a fuller description of the dress and arms of a knight. He first put on

" Of doth of lake fin and clere A breche and eke a sherte, Ful next his sherte an haketon» And over that an habergeon For piercing of his herte."

Here again the habergeon is apparently the plastron ; but he continues—

" And over that a fin hauberk Was all y wrought of Jewes work, Ful strong it was of plate, And over that his cote-armure As white as is the lily floure In which he wold debate."

Here the hauberk is distinctly said to be also of plate, and worn over the habergeon, being itself covered by the jupon or surcoat, emblazoned with his armorial bearings. We have quoted this pas* sage merely to show that the terms hauberk and

18 Camden, p. 196, calls a jacket without sleeves a haketon.

habergeon no longer designate chain or ringed armour only, and thereby prevent our readers being puzzled like poor Mr. Mills, who argued himself into a fever upon the subject for want of that very simple key to the riddle.14

- The jambeaux or jambs (leg-pieces) of Chaucer's Sir Topas were of cuir-bouly (cuir-bouilli), a preparation of leather much used at this period, not only for armour, but for effigies and various works of art.

His swerde's sheth of ivory, His helme of latoun bright, His sadel was of rewel bone, His bridel as the sonne shone, Or as the mone light,

The hed ful sharpe y-gronnd."

His shield was gilt, and emblazoned with a boar's head and a " charboncle," and his crest was a tower, out of which sprung a lily.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment