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perity in all things ! yea unto him that is yet able to receive meat !
O Death, acceptable is thy sentence unto the needy, and unto him whose strength faileth, that is now in the last age, and is vexed with all things, and to him that despaireth, and hath lost patience!
Ecclesiasticus, xli. 1, 2.
Page 23.--Think well of this, young man! Dreadful indeed must have been the miseries of the French from vulgar plunderers, when the manners of the highest classes were marked by hideous grossness and vices that may not be uttered. “Of acts so ill examples are not good.”
i Sir William Alexander. The following portrait of some of these outrages I extract from the notes of Andrews's History of Great Britain :— “Agricola quilibet, sponsam juvenem acquisitus, ac in vicinia alicujus viri nobilis et præpotentis habitans, crudelissime vexabatur. Nempe nonnunquam in ejus domum irruens iste optimas, magnâ comitante catervâ, pretium ingens redemptionis exigeret, ac si non protinus solveret colonus, istum miserum in magna arca protrudens, venustæ ac teneræ uxori suæ (super ipsam arcam prostratæ) vim vir nobilis adferret; voce exclamans horrenda, “ Audine Rustice ! jamjam, super hanc arcam constupratur dilecta tua sponsa,” atque peracto hoc scelere nefando relinqueretur (horresco re
ferens) suffocatione expirans maritus, nisi magno pretio sponsa nuper vitiata liberationem ejus redimeret.”
J. de Paris. · Let us add to this the detestable history of a great commander under Charles VII. of France, the bastard of Bourbon, who (after having committed the most execrable crimes during a series of years with impunity) was drowned, in 1441, by the constable Richemont (a treacherous assassin, but a mirror of justice when compared to his noble contemporaries), on its being proved against him, “ Quod super ipsum maritum vi prostratum, uxori frustra repugnanti, vim adtuleret.”
Ensuite il avoit fait battre et decouper le mari, tant que c'etoit pitie a voir.
Mem. de Richemont.
Page 24.—Think that there are such horrors. I translate the following anecdote of the Black Prince from Froissart :
The Prince of Wales was about a month, and not longer, before the city of Lymoges, and he did not assault it, but always continued mining. When the miners of the prince had finished their work, they said to him, “Sir, we will throw down a great part of the wall into the moat whenever it shall please you, so that you may enter into the city at your ease, without danger.” These words greatly pleased the prince, who said to them, “ I chuse that your work should be mani
fested to-morrow at the hour of day-break.” Then the miners set fire to their mines the next morning as the prince had commanded, and overthrew a great pane of the wall, which filled the moat where it had fallen. The English saw all this very willingly, and they were there all armed and ready to enter into the town; those who were on foot could enter at their ease, and they entered and ran to the gate and beat it to the earth and all the barriers also; for there was no defence, and all this was done so suddenly, that the people of the town were not upon their guard. And then you might have seen the prince, the duke of Lancaster, the count of Canterbury, the count of Pembroke, Messire Guischart Dangle, and all the other chiefs and their people who entered in, and ruffians on foot who were prepared to do mischief, and to run through the town, and to kill men and women and children, and so they had been commanded to do. There was a full pitiful sight, for men and women and children cast themselves on their knees before the prince, and cried “ mercy !” but he was so enflamed with so great rage, that he heard them not, neither man nor woman would he hear, but they were all put to the sword wherever they were found, and these people had not been guilty. I know not how they could have no pity upon poor people, who had never been powerful enough to do any treason. There was no heart so hard in the city of Lymoges which had any remembrance of God, that did not lament the great mischief that was there; for more than three thousand men and women
and children had their throats cut that day, God has their souls, for indeed they were martyred. In entering the town a party of the English went to the palace of the bishop and found him there, and took him and led him before the prince, who looked at him with a inurderous look (felonneusement), and the best word that he could say to him was that his head should be cut off, and then he made him be taken from his presence.
I. 235. The crime which the people of Lymoges had committed was that of surrendering when they had been besieged by the duke of Berry, and in consequence turning French. And this crime was thus punished at a period when no versatility of conduct was thought dishonourable. The phrases tourner Anglois—tourner François-retourner Anglois, occur repeatedly in Froissart. I should add that of all the heroes of this period the Black Prince was the most generous and the most humane.
After the English had taken the town of Montereau, the seigneur de Guitery, who commanded there, retired to the castle; and Henry V. threatened, unless he surrendered, to hang eleven gentlemen, taken in the town. These poor men intreated the governor to comply, for the sake of saving their lives, letting him at the same time know how impossible it was that his defence could be of any avail. He was not to be persuaded; and when they saw this, and knew that they must die, some of them requested that they might first see their wives and their friends. This was allowed: the women were sent, la y eut de piteux regrets au prendre congé, says Pierre de Fenin, and on the following morning they were executed as Henry had threatened. The governor held out for fifteen days, and then yielded by a capitulation which secured himself. (Coll. des Memoires. T. v. p. 456.)
In the whole history of these dreadful times I remember but one man whom the cruelty of the age had not contaminated, and that was the Portuguese hero Nuno Alvares Pereira, a man who appears to me to have been a perfect example of patriotism, heroism, and every noble and lovely quality, above all others of any age or country.
Atrocious however as these instances àre, they seem as nothing when compared to the atrocities which the French exercised upon each other. When Soissons.was captured by Charles VI. (1414) in person, “ In regard to the destruction committed by the king's army (says Monstrellet), it cannot be estimated; for after they had plundered all the inhabitants, and their dwellings, they despoiled the churches and monasteries. They even took and robbed the most part of the sacred shrines of many bodies of saints, which they stripped of all the precious stones, gold and silver, together with many other jewels and holy things appertaining to the aforesaid churches. There is not a christian but would have shuddered at the atrocious excesses committed by the soldiery in Soissons: married women violated before