Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 1 of 8 from 1860 edition

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I
ST. GEORGE AND THK DRAGON.           71
It was he that commanded the heavenly host that came to the help of the Crusaders against the Turks, under the walls of Antioch, in the year 1098, on which occa­sion he was seen on his white horse, bearing the white banner with the red cross. He manifested himself again at the storming of Jerusalem in the following year, and a hundred years later was seen to fight in the front rank against the Moors in Spain, and for Frederic Barbarossa, in his crusade in 1190. But though he had entered into the service of the German emperor, this did not prevent his aiding the orthodox William of Holland in taking Aix-la-Chapelle from the excommunicated Emperor Frederic in 1248.— The most various races have contended for his protec­tion. His feast was in 122 2 ordered to be kept as a hol­iday throughout all England: from the beginning of the 14th century, or since the Mongol dominion was shaken off, he has been one of the guardian saints of Russia: in 1468, the Emperor Frederic III. founded the Aus­trian Order of St. George for the protection of the Em­pire against the Turks, and a few years later, in 1471, at the momentous battle of Brunkeberg, his name was the war-cry of both parties, Swedes and Danes.
That the subjugation of the Dragon (a symbolical mode of representing the extinction of Evil common to all times and peoples) should be attributed to St. George, would seem to be sufficiently explained by his having become the Christian Hero of the Middle Ages. A special reason may, however, be alleged for his con­nection with such a legend. Long before the Cru­sades, he was depicted by the artists of the Oriental Church as the Great Martyr, with the Dragon (Anti-Christ or the Devil) at his feet, and a crowned virgin (the Church) at his side. In like manner had Constan-







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