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take their rest, then the king entered into his oratory, and kneeled down before the altar praying God devoutly that if he fought the next day, that he might achieve the journey to his honour. Then about midnight he laid him down to rest, and in the morning he rose betimes, and heard mass, and the prince, his son (the Black Prince) with him, and the most part of his company were confessed and houseled. And after the mass said, he commanded every man to be armed, and to draw to the field, to the same place before appointed. Then the king caused a park to be made by the wood-side, behind his host, and there was set all carts and carriages, and within the park were all their horses, for every man was afoot; and into this park there was but one entry.” After arranging the army in three battalions, “the king leapt on a hobby, with a white rod in his hand, of his marshals on the one hand, and the other on the other hand: he rode from rank to rank, desiring every man to take heed that day to his right and honour: he spake it so sweetly, and with so good countenance and merry cheer, that all such as were discomfited took courage in the seeing and hearing of him. And when he had thus visited all his battles (battalions) it was then nine of the day: then he caused every man to eat and drink a little, and so they did at their leisure; and afterwards they ordered again their battles. Then every man lay down on the earth, and by him his salet and bow, to be the more fresher when their enemies should come.” It was in this position that they were found by the tumultuous French army, which came rushing on, crying “Down with them,” “Let us slay them,” in such a manner, that, says Froissart, there was no man, though he were present at the journey, that could imagine or show the truth of the evil order” that was among them. The day of this meeting was Saturday, August 6, 1346. “The Englishmen, who were in three battles, lying on the ground to rest them, as soon as they saw the Frenchmen approach, they rose upon their feet, fair and easily, without any haste, and arranged their battles: the first, which was the prince's battle ; the archers there stood in manner of a herse (harrow), and the men-of-arms in the bottom of the battle. The Earl of Northampton and the Earl of Arundel, with the second battle, were on a wing in good order, ready to comfort the prince's battle, if need were. The lords and knights of France came not to the assembly together in good order; for some came before, and some came after, in such haste and evil order that one of them did trouble another. When the French king saw the Englishmen, his blood changed; and (he) said to his marshals, ‘Make the Genoese go on before, and begin the battle in the name of God and St. Denis.” There were of the Genoese crossbows about fifteen thousand; but they were so weary of going a-foot that day a six league, armed with their crossbows, that they said to their constables, “We be not well ordered to fight this day, for we be not in the case to do any great deed of arms, as we have more need of rest.’ These words came to the Duke of Alençon, who said, ‘A man is well at ease to be charged with such a sort of rascals, to be faint and fail now at most need.” Also at the same season there fell a great rain and eclipse, with a terrible thunder; and before the rain there came flying over both battles a great number of crows, for fear of the tempest coming. Then anon the air began to wax clear and the sun to shine fair and bright, the which was right in the Frenchmen's eyes and on the Englishmen's backs. When the Genoese were assembled together, and began to approach, they made a great leap and cry to abash the Englishmen, but they stood still, and stirred not for all that. Then the Genoese again the second time made another leap, and a fell cry, and stept forward a little, and the Englishmen removed not one foot; thirdly, again they leaped and cried, and went forth till they came within shot, then they shot fiercely with their cross-bows. Then the English archers stept forth one pass (pace), and let fly their arrows so wholly, and so thick, that it seemed snow. When the Genoese felt the arrows pressing through heads, arms, and breasts, many of them cast down their crossbows, and did cut their strings, and returned discomforted. When the French king saw them flee away, he said, ‘Slay these rascals; for they shall lett (hinder) and trouble us without reason.' Then ye should have seen the men-of-arms dash in among them, and kill a great number of them; and ever still the Englishmen shot whereas they saw thickest press; the sharp arrows ran into the men-of-arms, and into their horses and many fell, horse and men, among the Genoese ; and when they were down, they could not relyne again, the press was so thick that one overthrew another. And also among the Englishmen there were certain rascals that went on foot, with great knives, and they went in among the men-of-arms, and slew and murdered many as they lay on the ground, both earls, barons, knights, and squires, whereof the King of England was after displeased, for he had rather they had been taken prisoners. The valiant King of Bohemia, called Charles of Luxembourg, son to thenoble emperor Henry of Luxembourg, for all that he was nigh blind, when he understood the order of the battle, he said to them about him, ‘Where is the lord Charles, my son ' His men said, ‘Sir, we cannot tell, we think he be fighting.” Then he said, ‘Sirs, ye are my men, my companions and friends in this journey; I require you bring me so forward that I may strike one stroke with my sword.' They said they would do his commandment; and to the intent that they might not lose him in the press, they tied all the reins of their bridles each to other, and set the king before to accomplish his desire, and so they went on their enemies. The Lord Charles of Bohemia, his son, who wrote himself King of Bohemia, and bare the arms, he came in good order to the battle; but when he saw that the matter went awry on their party, he departed, I cannot tell you which way. The king his father was so far forward, that he struck a stroke with his sword, yea and more than four, and fought valiantly, and so did his company, and they adventured themselves so forward, that they were all slain, and the next day they were found in the place about the king, and all their horses tied to each other.” One of the most interesting incidents of the battle is connected with the behaviour of the king and his son; and, absurdly enough, instead of appreciating the military sagacity of the former, and the full knowledge and sympathy with the feelings of his son and his companions, which induced him to send the message recorded in the following passage, doubts have been raised upon the incident relative to the king's valour. “The prince's battalion at one period was very hard pressed; and they with the prince sent a messenger to the king, who was on a little windmillhill; then the knight said to the king, ‘Sir, the Earl of Warwick, and the Earl of Oxford, Sir Reynold Cobham, and others, such as be about the prince, your son, are fiercely fought withal, and are sore handled, wherefore they desire you, that you and your battle will come and aid them, for if the Frenchmen increase, as they doubt they will, your son and they will have much ado.’ Then the king said, ‘Is my son dead or hurt, or on the earth fell'd 1' ‘No, Sir, quoth the knight, but he is hardly matched, wherefore he hath need of your aid.’ ‘Well,” said the king, ‘return to him and to them that sent you hither, and say to them, that they send no more to me for any adventure that faileth, as long as my son is alive; and also say to them, that they suffer him this day to win his spurs, for, if God be pleased, I will this journey be his, and the honour thereof, and to them that be about him.’ Then the knight returned again to them, and showed the king's words, the which greatly encouraged them, and they repined in that they had sent to the king as they did.” The king of France stayed till the last. It was not until the evening that he could be induced to acknowledge that all was lost. Then, when he “had left about him no more than a threescore persons, one and other, whereof Sir John of Heynault
was one,who had remounted once the king (for his horse was slain with an arrow), then he said to the king, “Sir, depart hence, for it is time; lose not yourself wilfully; if ye have loss this time, ye shall recover it again another season;' and so he took the king's horse by the bridle and led him away in a manner per force. Then the king rode till he came to the castle of La Broyes; the gate was closed, because it was by that time dark; then the king called the captain, who came to the walls, and said, “Open your gate quickly, for this is the fortune of France.’ The captain knew then it was the king, and opened the gate and let down the bridge; then the king entered, and he had with him but five barons, Sir John of Heynault,” and four others. The unhappy king, however, could not rest there, but “drank, and departed thence about midnight.” The recorded results of the battle would seem exaggerations but that they are so well authenticated. Besides the King of Bohemia, there perished the Duke of Lorraine, the Earl of Alençon, whose overweening pride and impetuosity had so much contributed to the fatal result, the Count of Flanders, eight other Counts, two archbishops, several other noblemen, and it is said twelve hundred knights and thirty thousand common persons. Such was the cost to humanity of one day's proceedings in the endeavour to conquer France.
* 109.--THE SIEGE OF CALAIS. FRoissart.
Only five days after the battle of Cressy, the people of Calais beheld the conqueror Edward III. before their town, and a siege commenced, almost unexampled for its severity, and the length of time it continued. The place might be considered as impregnable to direct assault, and the defenders were prepared to resist to the last. Edward, therefore, determined to surround the city so completely, that neither ingress nor egress should take place, and leave the rest to time and famine. His fleet blocked the harbour, and stopped approach that way; whilst on the land he formed vast intrenchments. For the accommodation of his soldiers he built an immense number of wooden huts or houses, which the French called the “city of wood.” The brave governor of Calais, John de Vienne, understood clearly the purpose of all this, and immediately took such precautions as he deemed necessary. The nature of one of his precautions give us a fearful illustration of the calamities of war. Seventeen hundred poor persons of the town, “useless mouths,” as they were called, were driven out towards the English lines. Edward was then in one of his better moods; he gave them all a good dinner, twopence in money each, and then dismissed them to take their several ways into the interior. A second experiment of the same kind was thought to be too much. Provisions having become exceedingly scarce, a new survey of the place was made, when five hundred more unfortunates were determined to be “useless mouths,” and dismissed as before. It is dreadful to reflect upon their fate. They were driven back at the sword's point by the English soldiers, and as John de Vienne would not re-admit them, they are said to have all perished in the sight of their own townsmen. Strenuous exertions were made from time to time to relieve the place from the sea, and a few vessels did get in by stealth; but afterwards ingenuity and strength became alike unavailable. The garrison then wrote to their king, Philip, to say they had eaten their horses, their dogs, and all the unclean animals they could find, and slothing remained but to eat each other. The letter fell into the hands of the English, and gave them a new motive for watchfulness, if any were needed, as it now became evident Calais must yield soon, or be relieved. Philip, however, knew !he condition of the place, and resolved to make one great effort in its favour. The
Oriflamme, the sacred banner of the kingdom, that banner which was never to be used but on extraordinary occasions, was unfurled, and the vassals of the crown were summoned from every part to its support. In July, 1347, or eleven months after the commencement of the siege, the failing hearts of the garrison were inspired with new energies by the sight of the goodly array, in the distance, of their sovereign army. How were they to be disappointed Philip, finding both the roads to the town so strongly guarded that he could only force his way by a very bold and costly attack, adopted an amusing expedient. He sent four of his principal lords to the English king, to complain that he was there to do battle, but could find no way to come to him, and therefore requested a meeting of council to advise a place. The nature of the answer may be readily imagined. And what did Philip then for the brave soldiers and citizens who had done everything for him?— turned round and retraced the road he had come. All the sufferings the defenders of Calais had experienced must have been light compared to the bitterness of their feelings as they saw the gradual disappearance of the army which had come expressly for their relief, yet failed even to strike a single blow. Such is the position of affairs at the moment Froissart commences the relation of an incident which has made the siege of Calais a memorable event throughout the civilised world, and shed lustre over it which appears only the more permanently brilliant in contrast with the factitious glare of mere military glory by which it was surrounded. “After that the French king was thus departed from Sangate, they within Calais saw well how their succour failed them, for the which they were in great sorrow. Then they desired so much their captain, Sir John of Vienne, that he went to the walls of the town, and made a sign to speak with some person of the host. When the king heard thereof, he sent thither Sir Walter of Manny and Sir Basset; then Sir John of Vienne said to them, ‘Sirs, ye be right valiant knights in deeds of arms, and ye know well how the king my master hath sent me and others to this town, and commanded us to keep it to his behoof, in such wise that we take no blame, nor to him no damage; and we have done all that lieth in our power. Now our succours hath failed us, and we be so sore strained, that we have not to live withall, but that we must all die, or else enrage for famine, without the noble and gentle king of yours will take mercy on us, and to let us go and depart as we be, and let him take the town and castle and all the goods that be therein, the which is great abundance.’ Then Sir Walter of Manny said, ‘Sir, we know somewhat of the intention of the king our master, for he hath showed it unto us; surely know we for truth it is not his mind that ye nor they within the town should depart so, for it is his will that ye all should put yourselves into his pure will to ransom all such pleaseth him, and to put to death such as he list; for they of Calais had done him such contraries and despites, had caused him to dispend so much goods and lost many of his men, that he is sore grieved against them.” Then the captain said, ‘Sir, this is too hard a matter to us; we are here within, a small sort (company) of knights and squires, who have truly served the king our master, as well as ye serve yours in like case, and we have endured much pain and unease; but we shall yet endure as much pain as ever knights did, rather than to consent that the worst lad in the town should have any more evil than the greatest of us all; therefore, sir, we pray you that of your humility, yet that ye will go and speak to the king of England, and desire him to have pity of us, for we trust in him so much gentleness, that by the grace of God, his purpose shall change.” Sir Walter of Manny and Sir Basset returned to the king and declared to him all that had been said. The king said he would none otherwise, but that they should yield them up simply to his pleasure. Then Sir Walter said, 'Sir, saving your displeasure in this, ye may be in the wrong, for ye shall give by this an evil example: if ye send
any of us your servants into any fortress, we will not be very glad to go if ye put. any of them in the town to death after they be yielded, for in likewise they will deal with us if the case fell like ;’ the which words divers other lords that were there present sustained and maintained. Then the king said, ‘Sirs, I will not be alone against you all; therefore, Sir Walter of Manny, ye shall go and say to the captain, that all the grace that he shall find now in me is, that they let six of the chief burgesses of the town come out bare-headed, bare-footed, and bare-legged, and in their shirts, with halters about their necks, with the keys of the town and castle in their hands, and let them six yield themselves purely to my will, and the residue I will take to mercy.” Then Sir Walter returned, and found Sir John of Vienne still on the wall, abiding of an answer; then Sir Walter showed him all the grace that he could get of the king. ‘Well, quoth Sir John, ‘Sir, I require you tarry here a certain space till I go into the town and show this to the commons of the town, who sent me thither.’ Then Sir John went into the market-place and sounded the common bell; then incontinent men and women assembled there. Then the captain made report of all that he had done, and said, ‘Sirs, it will be none otherwise, therefore take advice and make a short answer.’ Then all the people began to weep and make such sorrow, that there was not so hard a heart, if they had seen them, but that would have had great pity of them: the captain himself wept piteously. At last the most rich burgess of all the town, called Eustace de St. Pierre, rose up and said openly, “Sirs, great and small, great mischief it should be to suffer to die such people as be in this town, either by famine or otherwise, when there is a mean to save them. I think he or they should have great merit of our Lord God that might keep them from such mischief. As for my part, I have so good trust in our Lord God, that if I die in the quarrel to save the residue, that God would pardon me; wherefore, to save them I will be the first to put my life in jeopardy.' When he had thus said, every man worshipped him, and divers kneeled down at his feet with sore weeping and sore sighs. Then another honest burgess rose and said, ‘I will keep company with my gossip Eustace;’ he was called Jehan D’Aire. Then rose up Jacques de Wisant, who was rich in goods and heritage; he said also that he would hold company with his two cousins in likewise; so did Peter of Wisant, his brother; and then rose two other; they said they would do the same. Then they went and apparelled them as the king desired. Then the captain went with them to the gate; there was great lamentation made of men, women, and children at their departing. Then the gate was opened, and he issued out with the six burgesses, and closed the gate again ; so they were between the gate and the barriers. Then he said to Sir Walter of Manny, ‘Sir, I deliver here to you as captain of Calais, by the whole consent of all the people of the town, these six burgesses, and I swear to you truly, that they be, and were to-day, most honourable, rich, and most notable burgesses of all the town of Calais; wherefore, gentle knight, I require you pray the king to have mercy on them, that they die not.’ Quoth Sir Walter, ‘I cannot say what the king will do, but I shall do for them the best I can.” Then the barriers were opened, the burgesses went towards the king, and the captain entered again into the town. When Sir Walter presented these burgesses to the king, they kneeled down, and held up their hands and said, Gentle king, behold here we six, who were burgesses of Calais, and great mer. chants; we have brought the keys of the town and of the castle, and we submit ourselves clearly into your will and pleasure, to save the residue of the people of Calais who have suffered great pain. Sir, we beseech your grace to have mercy and pity on us through your high nobles.” Then all the earls and barons and other that were there wept for pity. The king looked felly (savagely or vindictively) on them, for greatly he hated the people of Calais for the great damage and displeasures