« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
other sovereign princes who have been, and still are, desirous of being admitted into the most noble order, are a clear evidence of its great repute throughout all Europe.* Rapin, vol. i., p. 428.
BATTLE OF POICTIERS.
This memorable victory was obtained on the 19th September, 1356, without the loss of one person of distinction among the English; whereas the principal noblemen of France fell in the contest. Two dukes, nineteen counts, five thousand men-at-arms, and about eight thousand infantry, are said to have been killed on the side of the French. Two thousand men-at-arms were taken prisoners, among whom, besides John, King of France, were three princes of the blood, the Archbishop of Sens, the Counts of Estampes, Vandemont, and many other noblemen.† Spencer, p. 118. The Prince of Wales took the field with an army which no historian makes amount to above 12,000 men. The French King's army amounted to above 60,000 men. Hume, vol. i., p. 454.
CAPTURE OF THE FRENCH KING.
The English and Germans poured so fast upon the king's division, that they broke through the ranks by force; and the French were so intermixed with their enemies, that at times there were five men attacking one gentleman. The Lord of Pompadour and the Lord Bartholomew de Barnes were there captured; the Lord de Chargny was slain, with the banner of France in his hands, by the Lord Reginald de Cobham; and afterwards the Earl of Dammartin shared the same fate. There was much pressing at this
as prelate, chancellor, register, king-at-arms, and usher of the black rod, are attached to the order. With the exception of the prelate they all receive fees and pensions. Chronicle of the Kings, p. 56.
*Camden reckons in his time twenty-two kings, besides the kings of Eng land, and as many foreign dukes and princes; he has, likewise, given us a list of the first six-and-twenty knights, who are called the founders of the order, and adds-" The Countess of Salisbury, who, it seems, gave occasion for founding the order, was the wonder of her time for shape and beauty." For several hundred years after the institution of the order the ladies of the knights continued to attend the chapters in their robes, and many portraits and statues still exist of these noble "lady companions" wearing the garter, with the motto, on their left arms.
When they were all collected they found they had twice as many prisoners as themselves, they therefore consulted if, considering the risk they might run, it would not be more advisable to ransom them on the spot. This was done; and the prisoners found the English and Gascons very civil, for there were many set at liberty that day, on their promise of coming to Bordeaux before Christmas to pay their ransom. When all were returned to their banners they retired to their camp, which was adjoining to the field of battle. Some disarmed themselves, and did the same to their prisoners, to whom they showed every kindness; for whoever made any prisoners they were solely at his disposal to ransom or not, as he pleased. It may be easily supposed that all those who accompanied the prince were very rich in glory and wealth, as well by the ransoms of his prisoners as by the quantities of gold and silver plate, rich jewels, and trunks stuffed full of belts, that were weighty from their gold and silver ornaments, and furred mantles. They set no value on armour, tents, or other things, for the French had come there as magnificently and richly dressed as if they had been sure of gaining the victory. Froissart, vol. i., p. 225.
time, through eagerness to take the king; and those who were nearest to him, and knew him, cried out, "Surrender yourself, surrender yourself, or you are a dead man.' In that part of the field was a young knight from St. Omer, who was engaged by a salary in the service of the King of England-his name was Denys de Morbeque-who for five years had attached himself to the English, on account of having been banished in his younger days from France, for a murder committed in an affray at St. Omer. It fortunately happened for this knight that he was at the time near the King of France, when he was so pulled about; he by dint of force, for he was very strong and robust, pushed through the crowd, and said to the king, in good French," Sire, sire, surrender yourself." The king, who found himself very disagreeably situated, turning to him, asked, "To whom shall I surrender myself to whom? Where is my cousin the Prince of Wales? if I could see him I would speak to him." "Sire," replied Sir Denys, "he is not here; but surrender yourself to me, and I will lead you to him." "Who are you?" said the king. "Sire, I am Denys de Morbeque, a knight from Artois, but I serve the King of England because I cannot belong to France, having forfeited all I possessed there." The king then gave him his right hand glove, and said, "I surrender myself to you." There was much crowding and pushing about, for every one was eager to cry out, "I have taken him.' Neither the king nor his youngest son Philip were able to get forward and free themselves from the throng. The Prince of Wales, who was as courageous as a lion, and took delight that day to combat his enemies, was talking with Sir John Chandos, and others of his knights, in another part of the field, and finding from his marshal that no tidings had been heard of the King of France, sent the Lords Warwick and Cobham to gain some certain intelligence of him. The two barons immediately mounting their horses, left the prince, and made for a small hillock, that they might look about them; and from their stand they perceived a crowd of men-at-arms on foot, who were advancing very slowly. The King of France was in the midst of them, in great danger, for the English and Gascons had taken him from Sir Denys de Morbeque, and were disputing who should have him, the stoutest bawling out, "It is I that have got him." "No, no," replied the others, we have him." The king, to escape from the peril, said, "Gentlemen, gentlemen, I pray you conduct me and my son in a courteous manner to my cousin the prince, and do not make such a riot about my capture, for I am so great a lord that I can make all sufficiently rich." These words, and others which fell from the king, appeased them a little; but the disputes were always beginning again, and they did not move a step without rioting. When the two barons saw this troop of people they descended from the hillock, and sticking spurs into their horses, made up to them. On their arrival they asked what was the matter; they were answered that it was the King of France, who had been made prisoner, and that upwards
of ten knights and squires challenged him at the same time as belonging to each of them. The two barons then pushed through the crowd by main force, and ordered all to draw aside: they commanded, in the name of the prince, and under pain of instant death, that every one should keep his distance, and not approach unless ordered or desired so to do. They all retreated behind the king; the two barons dismounting, advanced to the king with profound reverence, and conducted him in a peaceable manner to the Prince of Wales.* Froissart, vol. i., p. 223.
MAGNANIMITY OF THE BLACK PRINCE. When the evening was come the Prince of Wales gave a supper in his pavilion to the King of France, and to the greater part of the princes and barons who were prisoners. The prince seated the King of France and his son, the Lord Philip, at an elevated and well-covered table; with them were Sir James de Bourbon, the Lord John D'Artois, the Earls of Tancarville, of Estampes, of Dammartin, of Graville, and the Lord of Partenay. The other knights and squires were placed at different tables. The prince himself served the king's table, as well as the others, with every mark of humility, and would not sit down at it, in spite of all his entreaties for him so to do, saying, that "he was not worthy of such an honour, nor did it appertain to him to seat himself at the table of so great a king, or of so valiant a man as he had shown himself by his actions that day;" he added also, with a noble air, “Dear Sir, do not make a poor meal because the Almighty God has not gratified your wishes in the event of this day, for be assured that my lord and father will show you every honour and friendship in his power, and will arrange your ransom so reasonably, that you will henceforward always remain friends. In my opinion you have cause to be glad that the success of this battle did not turn out as you desired; for you have this day acquired such high renown for prowess, that you have surpassed all the best knights on your side. I do not, dear sir, say this to flatter you, for all those of our side who have seen and observed the actions of each party have unanimously allowed this to be your due, and decree you the prize and garland for it." At the
* Hume says, "Here commences the real and truly admirable heroism of Edward for victories are vulgar things in comparison of that moderation and humanity displayed by a young prince of twenty-seven years of age, not yet cooled from the fury of battle, and elated by as extraordinary and as unexpected success as ever crowned the arms of any commander. He came forth to meet the captive king with all the marks of regard and sympathy, administered comfort to him amidst his misfortunes, paid him the tribute of praise due to his valour, ascribed his own victory merely to the blind chance of war, or to a superior Providence, which controls all the efforts of human force and prudence. The behaviour of John showed him not unworthy of his courteous treatment: his present abject fortune never made him forget for a moment that he was a king. More touched by Edward's generosity than by his own calamities, he confessed that, notwithstanding his defeat and captivity, his honour was still unimpaired; and that, if he yielded the victory, it was at least gained by a prince of such consummate valour and humanity."
end of this speech there were murmurs of praise heard from every one, and the French said the prince had spoken nobly and truly, and that he would be one of the most gallant princes in Christendom, if God should grant him life to pursue his career of glory. Froissart, vol. i., p. 226.
THE FRENCH KING'S ENTRY INTO LONDON. The Prince of Wales spent the winter at Bordeaux, where two legates from the Pope came and pressed him so earnestly, that he consented, with the approbation of the king, his father, to a truce for two years, wherein all the allies of both armies were included. In April following he came into England, bringing his prisoner with him. He was received there with excessive joy, but constantly refused all honours that were offered to him, being satisfied with those paid to the captive king. When they made their entry into London, the Prince of Wales rode on a little black pony by the King of France's side, who was mounted on a stately white courser, adorned with costly trappings. One would have thought that all the pomp displayed on this occasion was intended purely to do honour to the captive king, so great care was taken to avoid all signs of his disgrace, and everything that might be offensive to his eyes. Though Edward disputed with him the title of King of France, he treated him, however, like a king. The sight of the captive prince putting him in mind of the instability of human grandeur, he received him with as cordial embraces as if he had been his own brother, or one come on purpose to pay him a visit. In this noble and generous manner the father and son strove with emulation to comfort the unfortunate king by all the marks of respect due to a great prince, in whatever state fortune may have placed him. It is reported, when Edward received the news of the victory of Poictiers, he said to those about him, that his satisfaction at so glorious a success was not comparable to the pleasure caused by the generous behaviour of the prince. King John, and Prince Philip, his son, were lodged together in the palace of the Savoy, with all the honourable freedom they could desire. The other captive lords met with the same treatment and civilities. Rapin, vol. i., p. 430.
DEATH OF THE BLACK PRINCE.
In the year 1396, on Trinity Sunday, that flower of English knighthood, the Lord Edward of England, Prince of Wales and of Acquitaine, departed this life in the Palace of Westminster,
He was received by Henry Picard, the Lord Mayor, with the aldermen, &c., in all their formalities, with the city pageants; and in the streets, as he passed to Westminster, the citizens hung out all their plate, tapestry and armour, so that the like had never been seen before in the memory of man. Barnes, p. 526.
Lingard says, "His father had given the necessary directions for his entry into the capital, under pretence of doing honour to the King of France; an unwelcome honour, which served to remind that monarch of his captivity, and to make him the principal ornament in the triumph of his conqueror."
near London; his body was embalmed, placed in a leaden coffin, and kept until the ensuing Michaelmas, in order that it might be buried with greater pomp and magnificence when the parliament assembled in London. Froissart, vol. i., p. 500.
He died of a fever, June 8, 1396, in his forty-sixth year, and by his will ordered his body to be buried in the cathedral at Canterbury. He was universally regretted, and the parliament, as a mark of their esteem, attended his funeral. Over his grave is erected a stately monument of grey marble, with his portraiture of copper-gilt; the ends and sides are garnished with escutcheons, also of copper, enamelled with his arms and devices, and superscribed with the words Houmont and Ich Dien. On an iron bar over the tomb are placed the helmet and crest, coat of mail, and gauntlets; and, on a pillar, his shield of arms, richly diapered with gold. On a fillet of brass is circumscribed a French epitaph, and on the south side of the foot, and north side of the tomb, are verses in that language. He was called the black prince from the colour of his armour. He is described by historians as the most excellent prince England had ever produced; and little inferior in virtue and talent to the Roman Scipio. He was a good soldier, a great general, brave without fierceness, bold in battle, but affable in conversation, and of a modest demeanour. Ever submissive and respectful to the king his father, whom he never once disobliged. Generous, liberal, pleased with rewarding merit whereever he found it, he wanted no qualification to form a perfect hero. Such is the character given of this renowned warrior.
Kings of England, p. 54.
John Wycliffe s name is first mentioned in the year 1360, in a controversy with the different orders of friars. He was educated at Oxford, where he took his degree of doctor of divinity. He was so eminent for his parts, learning, and fine genius, that the Archbishop of Canterbury, having founded a new college, made him the rector. Wycliffe's behaviour in his situation gave universal satisfaction. On the death of his patron he was removed to the living of Lutterworth, in the diocese of Lincoln; and it was there that he first published in his sermons and writings his doctrines. Gregory XI. hearing of this new religion, despatched an order to the Bishop of London, to apprehend and examine Wycliffe, and send his deposition to Rome. But these orders were not easy to execute, the Duke of Lancaster and the Earl Marshall having openly declared they would not suffer Wycliffe to be imprisoned. The prelate was obliged to content himself with summoning Wycliffe before him in St. Paul's Church, where there was a vast concourse of people to hear the examination. The Duke of Lancaster and Lord Percy accompanied the reformer, assuring him that there was no danger, and that he might make his defence with courage before men who were mere ignoramuses