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The king of France, on leaving Verberie, marched toward Compiegne; and when he had approached near, he sent one of his heralds to the gates of the town, to announce to those within that the king was coming, that they might, like loyal subjects, admit him as their lord. The townsmen made answer, that they would very cheerfully admit him and his son, the duke of Acquitaine, with their attendants, but no more. The herald carried this answer to the king, who had lodged himself in a small house between the town and the forest, and the duke of Acquitaine in the monastery of Royaulieu. The other princes and captains quartered themselves as well as they could; and the king's batteries kept constantly playing against the town, to which they did much damage, while skirmishes frequently happened between the two parties. One of them is deserving of notice. When the month of May was near at hand, sir Hector, bastard of Bourbon, sent to inform the besieged, that on the first of May he would try
On that day, he accordingly mounted his horse, attended by about two hundred
able men at at arms and some foot-soldiers, having all May garlands over their helmets : he led them to the gate of Pierrefons, to present a May garland to the besieged, as he had promised. The besieged made a stout resistance, insomuch that it became very serious, and several were killed and wounded on each side: the bastard of Bourbon had his horse killed under him, and was in great danger of being made prisoner or slain.
While these things were passing, the duke of Burgundy held many conferences with the Flemings, to persuade them to levy a certain number of men, that he might raise the siege of Compiegne; but they refused, alledging that they could not bear arms against the king of France. The duke of Burgundy, to whom his people in Compiegne had sent to know if they might expect succours, advised them to make the best terms they could with the king and the duke of Acquitaine. On hearing this, they offered to open the gates to the king and his army, on condition that the troops of the duke of Burgundy should retire in safety with their effects,--they promising, or their captain for them, that they would never again oppose the king, or the duke of Acquitaine, in any town which belonged to them.
The king consented to pardon the inhabitants, and to receive them again into favour, without touching their lives or fortunes.
Thus on Monday, the 8th day of May, at the same time that the troops of the duke of Burgundy marched out under passports from the king and the duke of Acquitaine to fix their quarters in Artois, the royal army marched into Compiegne.
At this time, Waleran count de St Pol, who still called himself constable of France, riding from Amiens to his castle of St Pol, had a severe fall, and broke his leg: the pain was so great that he was carried to St Poll; but there was a report current, that he pretended to have been thus sorely hurt in order to be excused from obeying the king's summons, which had been often repeated to him; and also out of regard to the duke of Burgundy, whom he saw much distressed, and was perplexed how to assist him in his quarrel. In like manner, sir James de Châtillon, lord of Dampierre,
styling himself admiral of France, remained all this season at his castle of Rolaincourt, pretending to be confined with the gout, which often attacked him, in order to be excused, like the constable, from serving in the king's army, or joining the duke of Burgundy, of whose success he was very desirous. Their dependauts, however, who were accustomed to follow them in arms to war, or at least the greater part of them, joined the duke of Burgundy and his parti
This war placed many lords in disagreeable situations and perplexities ; for they knew not well how to steer, with honour to themselves, between the two parties.
THE KING OF FRANCE, MARCHES HIS ARMY
FROM COMPIEGNE TO SOISSONS, WHICH HE BESIEGES AND TAKES BY STORM :IT IS PILLAGED AND DESTROYED.
The king, having reduced the town of Compiegne to his obedience, departed, on
the 5th day of May*, with his army, to lay siege to the town of Soissons, of which place the brave Enguerrand de Bournouville was governor. The van division had before advanced thither, under the command of the duke of Bar, the count d'Armagnac, Clugnet de Brabant, calling him. self admiral of France, the bastard of Bourbon, sir Aymé de Sallebruche, and other able captains.
The inhabitants of Soissons, perceiving that they should be besieged, acted like to those of Compiegne, in destroying their suburbs, with many noble buildings, churches and houses. Notwithstanding this, they were, on the arrival of the royal army, very closely besieged. The king, on his coming thither, sent to summon the town to surrender itself to his obedience, otherwise the inhabitants were in the road to destruction ; but in defiance of this, they resolved to defend themselves against the king's army, in the hope of receiving reinforcements from their lord and master the duke of Bur
* Monstrelet mentions in the preceding chapter, that the king of France made his public entry into Compiegne on the 8th day of May.