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War. Why, now thou speak'st as I would have thee speak,
To the black faction of bed-blotting shame ! Erit.
During the tempest of Edward's passion, the Prince of Wales arrives at the Castle of Roxburgh, and the conflict in the mind of the king is well imagined:
Edw. I see the boy. O, how his mother's face,
Pri. I have assembled, my dear lord and father,
Edw. Still do I see in him delineate
Shall the large limit of fair Brittany
The countess enters, and with the following scene suddenly terminates the ill-starred passion of the king:—
Edw. Now, my soul's playfellow ! art thou come,
Beardless Leander not so strong as I:
112.-BERTRAND DU GUESCLIN.
(Translated from the French in “Historical Parallels.')
[In 1361 the prince of Wales had married Joanna, styled the Fair, the daughter of his great uncle the earl of Kent, who had been put to death in the beginning of the present reign. This lady had been first married to William de Montacute, earl of Salisbury, from whom she had been divorced ; and she had now been about three months the widow of sir Thomas Holland, who assumed in her right the title of earl of Kent, and was summoned to parliament as such. Soon after his marriage the prince of Wales was raised by his father to the new dignity of prince of Aquitaine and Gascony (the two provinces or districts of Guienne); and in 1363 he took up his residence, and established a splendid court in that quality, at Bordeaux. Edward's administration of his continental principality was very able and successful, till he unfortunately became involved in the contest carried on by Pedro, surnamed the Cruel, with his illegitimate brother Henry of Trastamare for the crown of Castile. Pedro having been driven from his throne by Henry, applied to the Black Prince for aid to expel the usurper. At this call Edward, forgetting everything except the martial feelings of the age and what he conceived to be the rights of legitimacy, marched into Spain, and defeated Henry at the battle of Najera, fought on the 3rd of April, 1367. He did not, however, attain even his immediate object by this success. Pedro had reigned little more than a year when he was again driven from his throne by Henry, by whom he was soon after murdered Henry kept possession of the throne which he had thus obtained till his death, ten years after. Prince Edward, meanwhile, owing to Pedro's misfortunes, having been disappointed of the money which that king had engaged to supply, found himself obliged to lay additional taxes upon his subjects of Guienne, to obtain the means of paying his troops. These imposts several of the Gascon lords refused to submit to, and appealed to the king of France as the lord paramount. Charles on this summoned Edward to appear before the parliament of Paris as his vassal; and on the refusal of the prince, immediately confiscated all the lands held by him and his father in France. A new war forthwith broke out between the two countries. For a time the wonted valour of prince Edward again shone forth ; but among the other fruits of his Spanish expedition was an illness caught by his exposure in that climate, which gradually undermined his constitution, and at length compelled him, in January, 1371, to return to England.]
One day the prince of Wales was risen from dinner, and gone into a private chamber with his barons, who had been served with wine and spices. So they began to speak of many a bold deed of arms, of love-passages, of battles, and of prisons, and how St. Louis to save his life was made prisoner in Tunis, from whence he was ransomed for fine gold, paid down by weight. Until the prince, who spoke without caution, said, “When a good knight well approved in battle is made prisoner in fair feat of arms, and has rendered himself, and sworn to abide prisoner, he should on no account depart without his master's leave. And also one should not demand such portion of his substance, that he be unable to equip himself again.” When the Sire de Lebret heard these words, he began to take heed, and said to him, “Noble Sire, be not angry with me if I relate what I have heard said of you in your absence.’ ‘By my faith,' said the prince, ‘right little should I love follower of mine sitting at my table, if he heard said a word against my honour, and apprised me not of it.’ “Sire,' said he of Lebret, “men say that you hold in prison a knigh: whose name I well know, whom you dare not delyver.” “It is true,' said Oliver de
Clisson, “I have heard speak of it.' Then the prince swore and boasted, “that he knew no knight in the world, but, if he were his prisoner, he would put him to a fair ransom, according to his ability.’ And Lebret said, “How then do you forget Bertrand du Guesclin, that he cannot get away ?’ And when the prince heard this, his colour changed; and he was so tempted by pride, anger, and disdain, that he commanded Bertrand to be brought before him; with whom he wished to make terms, in spite of all who had spoken of the matter, and would fain not let him be ransomed, unless they themselves should fix the amount. Then certain knights went and found Bertrand, who, to amuse himself and forget his weariness, was talking with his chamberlain. Which knights saluted him. And Bertrand arose towards them, and showed a fair seeming, saying ‘that they were come in good time.' Then he ordered the aforesaid chamberlain to bring wine. The knights answered ‘that it was right fitting they should have much wine, good and strong; for they brought him good, joyful, and pleasant news with good will.” Then one of them who was wise and discreet said, ‘that the prince sent for him to appear in his presence, and he thought that he would be ransomed by help of those friends he had at court, who were many.’ ‘What say you?” said Bertrand; ‘I have neither halfpenny nor penny, and owe more than ten thousand livres, that have been lent me, which debt has accrued in this city while I have been prisoner.’ One of them inquired of him, ‘How have you accounted for so much l’ ‘I will answer for that,' said Bertrand ; “I have eaten, drunk, given, and played at dice with it. A little money is soon spent. But if I be set free, I shall soon have paid it: he saves his money, and has it in good keeping, who shall for my help lend me the keys of it.' And an officer who heard him said, ‘Sir, you are stouthearted, it seems to you that every thing which you would have must happen.” “By my faith,' said Bertrand, “you are right, for a dispirited man is nothing better than beaten and discomfited.’ And the rest said, ‘that he was like one enchanted, for he was proof against every shock.” Then he was brought to the chamber where was the prince of Wales, and with him John Chandos, a true and valiant knight. And had they chosen to believe him, they would long before have disposed of the war: for he gave much good advice. And also there were Oliver de Clisson and other knights, before whom came Bertrand, wearing a grey coat. And when the prince saw him, he could not keep from laughing, from the time he saw him. Then he said, ‘Well, Bertrand, how fare you?' And Bertrand approached him, bowing a little, and said, ‘Sir, when it shall please you, I may fare better: many a day have I heard the rats and mice, but the song of birds it is long since I heard.* I shall hear them when it is your pleasure.” “Bertrand,” said the prince, ‘that shall be when you will; it will depend only on yourself, so that you will swear, and make true oath, never to bear arms against me, nor these others, nor to assist Henry of Spain. So soon as you will swear this, we will fully set you free, and pay that you owe, and besides give ten thousand florins to equip you anew, if you consent to this ; else you shall not go.’ “Sire,' said Bertrand, “my deliverance then will not come to pass; for before I do so, may I lie by the leg in prison while I live. God willing, I will never be a reproach to my friends. For by Him who made the world, I will serve with my whole heart those whom I have served, and whose I have been from my outset. These are the good king of France, the noble Dukes of Anjou, of Berry, of Burgundy, and of Bourbon; whose I have been, as became me. But so please you,
* This expression will remind the reader of a favourite saying of the “Good Sir James" Douglas, the companion of Robert Bruce's dangers, that “It is better to hear the lark sing,
than the mouse cheep:” meaning that he would never shut himself up in a castle while he would keep the open field.