ページの画像
PDF
ePub

There shall also be two lances of equal lengths, with which twenty courses shall be run, with liberty to strike on the fore or hinder parts of the body, from the fork of the body upward. These courses being finished, the following combats to take place: that is to say, should it happen that neither of us be wounded, we shall be bound to perform, on that or on the following day, so many courses on horseback until one fall to the ground, or be wounded so that he can hold out no longer, each person being armed as to his body and head according to his pleasure. The targets to be made of horn or sinews, without any part being of iron or steel, and no deceit in them. The courses to be performed with the before-mentioned lances and saddles, on horseback ; but each may settle his stirrups as he pleases, but without any trick. To add greater authenticity to this letter, I Michel d'Orris have scaled it with the seal of my arms, written and dated from Paris, Friday the 27th day of May, in the year 1400."

The pursuivant Aly went with this letter to Calais, where it was seen by an English knight, called sir John Prendergast, who accepted the challenge, provided it were agreeable to his sovereign lord the king of England, and in consequence wrote the following answer to the Arragonian esquire:

"To the noble and honourable personage Michel d'Orris,—John Prendergast, knight, and familiar to the most high and puissant lord the earl of Somerset, sends greeting, honour and pleasure :—May it please you to know, that I have just seen your letter, sent hither by the pursuivant Aly, from which I learn the valiant desire you have for deeds of arms, which has induced you to wear on your leg a certain thing that is of pain to you, but which yon will not take off until delivered by an English knight performing with you such deeds of arms as are mentioned in your aforesaid letter. I, being equally desirous of gaining honour and amusement like a gentleman to the utmost of my power, in the name of God, of the blessed Virgin Mary, of my lords St. George and St. Anthony, have accepted and do accept your challenge, according to the best sense of the terms in your letter, as well to ease you from the pain you are now suffering as from the desire I have long had of making acquaintance with some of the French nobility, to learn more knowledge from them in the honourable profession of arms. But my acceptation of your challenge must be subject to the good pleasure of my sovereign lord the king, that he may from his especial grace grant me liberty to fulfil it, either before his royal presence in England, or otherwise at Calais before my lord the earl of Somerset. And since you mention in your letter, that you will provide helmets, from which your adversary may chuse, and that each may wear such gorgets as he shall please, I wish you to know that to prevent any unnecessary delay by any supposed subtlety of mine respecting armour or otherwise, I will also bring with me two helmets and two gorgets for you, if you shall think proper, to chuse from them; and I promise you on my loyalty and good faith, that I will exert all my own influence and that of my friends, to obtain the aforesaid permission, of which I hope to God I shall not be disappointed. Should it be the good pleasure of the king to grant his consent, I will write to the governor of Boulogne on Epiphany-day next ensuing, or sooner if it be possible, to acquaint him of the time and place of combat, that you may be instantly informed of the willingness of my heart to comply with your request.

"Noble, honourable, and valiant lord, I pray the Author of all good to grant you joy, honour, and pleasure, with every kind thing you may wish to the lady of your affections, to whom I entreat that these presents may recommend me. Written at Calais, and scaled with my seal, this 11th day of June, in the year aforesaid."

This letter was sent to the Arragonian esquire; but the English knight not receiving an answer so soon as he expected, and the matter seeming to be delayed, he again wrote as follows:

"To the honourable Michel d'Orris, John Prendergast, knight, sends greeting.

"Since to ease you from the penance you have suffered, and still do suffer, in wearing the stump of the greave on your leg, I have consented to deliver you by a combat at arms described in your former letters, sealed with the seal of your arms; and in consequence of the request made by me and by my friends to my sovereign lord and king, who has ordained the most excellent and puissant lord of Somerset, his brother, governor of Calais, to be the judge of our combat, as I had written to you by Aly the pursuivant, in my letter bearing date the 11th day of last June, and which you ought to have received and seen in proper time. This is apparent from letters of that noble and potent man the lord de Gaucourt, chamberlain to the king of France, bearing date the 20th day of January, declaring that he had forwarded my letter to you, to hasten your journey hitherward. You will have learnt from it that the day appointed for the fulfilment of our engagement is fixed for the first Monday in the ensuing month of May; for so it has been ordained by the king, our lord, in consequence of my solicitations. I must therefore obey; and since it has pleased that monarch, for various other weighty considerations touching his royal excellence, to order my lord, his brother, into other parts on the appointed day, he has condescended, at the humble requests of myself, my kindred, and friends, to nominate for our judge his cousin, my much honoured lord Hugh Lutrellier *, lieutenant to my aforesaid lord of Somerset, in the government of Calais. I am therefore ready prepared to fulfil our engagement in arms, under the good pleasure of God, St. George, and St. Anthony, expecting that you will not fail to meet me for the deliverance from your long penance; and, to accomplish this, I send you a passport for forty persons and as many horses. I have nothing more now to add, for you know how much your honour is concerned in this matter. I entreat therefore Cupid, the god of love, as you may desire the affections of your lady, to urge you to hasten your journey.—Written at Calais, and sealed with my arms, the 2d day of January, 1401."

THE THIRD LETTER WRITTEN AND SENT BY THE ENGLISH KNIGHT TO THE ESQUIRE OK

ARRAGON.

"To the honourable man Michel d'Orris, John Prendergast, knight, sends greeting.

"You will be pleased to remember that you sent, by Aly the pursuivant, a general challenge, addressed to all English knights, written at Paris on Friday the 27th day of May, 1400, sealed with the seal of your arms. You must likewise recollect the answer I sent to your challenge, as an English knight who had first seen your defiance; which answer, and all that has since passed between us, I have renewed in substance, in my letters sealed with my arms, and bearing (Lite the last day but one of April just passed. I likewise sent you a good and sufficient passport to come hither, and perform the promises held out by your letter, addressed to you in a manner similar to that of this present letter. Know, therefore, that I am greatly astonished, considering the purport of my letters, that I have not received any answer, and that you have not kept your appointment by meeting me on the day fixed on, nor sent any sufficient excuse for this failure.

"I am ignorant if the god of love, who inspired you with the courage to write your challenge, have since been displeased, and changed his ancient pleasures, which formerly consisted in urging on deeds of arms, and in the delights of chivalry. He kept the nobles of his court under such good government f that, to add to their honour, after having undertaken any deeds of arms, they could not absent themselves from the country where such enterprise was to be performed until it was perfectly accomplished, and this caused their companions not to labour or exert themselves in vain. I would not, therefore, he should find me so great a defaulter in this respect as to banish me from his court; and consequently shall remain here until the eighth day of this present month of May, ready, with the aid of God, of St. George, and of St. Anthony, to deliver you, so that your lady and mine may know that, out of respect to them, I am willing to ease you of your penance, which, according to the tenor of your letter, you have suffered a long time, and have sufficient reason for wishing to be relieved from it. After the above-mentioned period, should you be unwilling to come, I intend, under God's pleasure, to return to England, to our ladies, where I hope to God that knights and esquires will bear witness that I have not misbehaved towards the god of love, to whom I recommend my lady and yours, hoping he will not be displeased with them for anything that may have happened.—Written at Calais, and sealed with my arms, the 2d day of May, 1401."

* Q. Luttrel, or Latimer? the ancient court* of love, the institution of which was cort

t The whole of this romautic passage seems to refer to sidciablv prior to the fifteenth century.

THE ANSWERS THE ARRAGONIAN ESQUIRE SENT TO THE LETTERS OF THE ENGLISH

KNIGHT.

"To the most noble personage sir John Prendergast, knight—

"I, Michel d'Orris, esquire, native of the kingdom of Arragon, make known, that from the ardent and courageous desire I have had, and always shall have so long as it may please God to grant me life, to employ my time in arms, so suitable to every gentleman; knowing that in the kingdom of England there were very many knights of great prowess, who, in my opinion, had been too long asleep, to awaken them from their indolence, and to make acquaintance with some of them, I attached to my leg a part of a greave, vowing to wear it until I should be delivered by a knight of that country; and in consequence wrote my challenge at Paris, the 27th day of May, in the year 14(H), and which was carried by the pursuivant Aly, as your letters, dated the 11th of December*, from Calais, testify.

"I thank you for what is contained at the commencement of your said letter, since you seem willing to deliver me from the pain I am in, as your gracious expressions testify; and you declare you have long been desirous of making acquaintance with some valiant man of France. That you may not be ignorant who I am, I inform you that I am a native of the kingdom of Arragon, not that myself nor any greater person may claim a superior rank from having been born in France; for although no one can reproach the French with any disgraceful act, or with anything unbecoming a gentleman, or that truth would wish to hide, yet no honest man should deny his country. I therefore assure you that I have had, and shall continue to have, the same desire for the fulfilment of my engagement, according to the proposals contained in my letter, until it be perfectly accomplished. It is true that I formed this enterprise while living in Arragon; but seeing I was too far distant from England for the speedy accomplishment of it, I set out for Paris, where I staid a very considerable time after I had sent oflf my challenge. Business + respecting my sovereign lord the king of Arragon forced me to leave France; and I returned very melancholy to my own country, and surprised at the dilatoriness of so many noble knights in the amusement I offered them, for I had not any answer during the space of two years that I was detained in Arragon from the quarrels of my friends. I then took leave of my lord, and returned to Paris to learn intelligence respecting my challenge. I there found, at the hotel of the lord de Gaucourt, in the hands of Jean d'Olmedo his esquire, your letters, which had been brought thither after my departure for Arragon. Why they were brought hither after I had set out I shall not say anything, but leave every one to judge of the circumstance as he may please. Your letter has much astonished me, as well as other knights and esquires who have seen it, considering your good reputation in chivalry and strict observance of the laws of arms. You now wish to make alterations in the treaty, without the advice of any one, yourself choosing the judge of the field, and fixing the place of combat according to your pleasure and advantage, which, as every one knows, is highly improper. In regard to the other letters that were found lying at the hotel de Gaucourt at Paris, underneath is the answer to them."

CONCLUSION OP THE SECOND LETTER OP THE ARRAGONIAN ESQUIRE.

"In answer to the first part of your letter, wherein you say you have sent me letters and a passport to fulfil my engagement in arms, at the place and on the day that you have been pleased to fix on,—know for certain, and on my faith, that I have never received other letters than those given me at the hotel de Gaucourt the 12th day of March, nor have I ever seen any passport. Doubtless, had I received your letters, you would very speedily have had my answers,—for it is the object nearest my heart to have this deed of arms accomplished; and for this have I twice travelled from my own country, a distance of two hundred and fifty leagues, at much inconvenience and great expense, as is well known.

* The date of the first letter of Sir John Prendergast is atcd two years previous to this, otherwise we should be al 11 June, not Decemtier. no loss to account for the business which forced Michel

f The wars for the succession of Arragon had tenniu- d'Orris to return from France.

"In your letters, you inform me, that you have fixed on Calais as the place where our meeting should be held, in the presence of the noble and puissant prince the earl of Somerset; and afterward your letters say, that as he was otherwise occupied, your sovereign lord the king of England, at your request, had nominated sir Hugh Lutrellier, lieutenant to the carl of Somerset in his government of Calais, judge between us, without ever having had my consent, or asking for it, which has exceedingly, and with just cause, astonished me,—for how could you, without my permission, take such advantages as to name the judge of the field and fix on the place of combat? It seems to me, that you are very unwilling to lose sight of your own country; and yet our ancestors, those noble knights who have left us such examples to follow, never acquired any great honours in their own countries, nor were accustomed to make improper demands, which are but checks to gallant deeds. I am fully aware, that you cannot be so ignorant as not to know that the choice of the judge, and of the time and place of combat, must be made with the mutual assent of the two parties; and if I had received your letters, you should sooner have heard this from me.

"With regard to what you say, that you are ignorant whether the god of love have banished me from his court, because I had absented myself from France, where my first letter was written, and whether he have caused me to change my mind,—I make known to you, that assuredly, without any dissembling, I shall never, in regard to this combat, change my mind so long as God may preserve my life; nor have there ever been any of my family who have not always acted in such wise as became honest men and gentlemen. When the appointed day shall come, which, through God's aid, it shall shortly, unless it be by your own fault, I believe you will need good courage to meet a man whom you have suspected of having retracted his word. I therefore beg such expressions may not be used, as they are unproductive of good, and unbecoming knights and gentlemen, but attend solely to the deeds of arms of which you have given me hopes.

"I make known to you, that it has been told me that you entered the lists at Calais alone as if against me, who was ignorant of every circumstance, and three hundred leagues distant from you. If I had acted in a similar way to you in the country whero I then was (which God forbid), I believe my armour would have been little the worse for it, and my lances have remained as sound as yours were. You would undoubtedly have won the prize. I must, in truth, suppose, that this your extraordinary enterprise was not undertaken with the mature deliberation of friends, nor will it ever be praised by any who may perchance hear of it. Not, however, that I conclude from this that you want to make a colourable show by such fictions, and avoid keeping the promise you made of delivering me;—and I earnestly entreat you will fulfil the engagement you have entered into by your letters to me, for on that I rest my delight and hope of deliverance. Should you not be desirous of accomplishing this, I have not a doubt but many English knights would have engaged so to do, had you not at first undertaken it. Make no longer any excuses on account of the letters you have sent me, for I have explained wherein the fault lay. I am ready to maintain and defend my honour; and as there is nothing I have written contrary to truth, I wish not to make any alteration in what I have said.

"Because I would not be so presumptuous to make choice of a place without your assent, I oflfer the combat before that most excellent and sovereign prince my lord the king of Arragon, or before the kings of Spain*, Portugal, or Navarre; and should none of these princes be agreeable to you to select as our judge, to the end that I may not separate you far from your country, your lady and mine, to whose wishes I will conform to the utmost of my power, I am ready to go to Boulogne on your coming to Calais,—and then the governors of these two places, in behalf of each of us, shall appoint the proper time and place for the fulfilment of our engagement according to the terms of my letter, which I am prepared to accomplish, with the aid of God, of our Lady, of my lord St. Michael, and my lord St. George.

"Since I am so very far from my native country, I shall wait here for your answer until the end of the month of August next ensuing; and in the meantime, out of compliment to you, I shall no longer wear the stump of the greave fastened to my leg, although many have * The kings of Castille were at this period styled kings of S|«in, Kot' Hoxjv

advised to the contrary. The month of August being passed without hearing satisfactorily from you, I shall replace the greave on my leg, and shall disperse my challenge throughout your kingdom, or wherever else I may please, until I shall have found a person to deliver me from my penance. That you may place greater confidence in what I have written, I have put to these letters the seal of my arms, and to the parts marked A, B, G, my sign manual, which parts were done and written at Paris the 4th day of September, 1401."

THE CHALLENGE OF THE AHRAGONIAN ESQUIRE.

"In the name of the holy Trinity, the blessed Virgin Mary, of my lord St. Michael the archangel, and of my lord St. George,—I, Michel d'Orris, esquire, a native of the kingdom of Arragon, make known to all the knights of England, that, to exalt my name and honour, I am seeking deeds of arms. I know full well, that a noble chivalry exists in England,— and I am desirous of making acquaintance with the members of it, and learning from them feats of arms. I therefore require from you, in the name of knighthood, and by the thing you love most, that you will deliver me from my vow by such deeds of arms as I shall propose.

"First, to enter the lists on foot, and perform the deeds specified in my first letter; and I offer, in order to shorten the matter, to show my willingness and diligence to present myself before your governor of Calais within two months after I shall have received your answer sealed with the seal of your arms, if God should grant me life and health. And I will likewise send, within these two months, the two helmets, two saddles, and the measure of the staves to the battle-axes and spears. I beg of that knight, who, from good will, may incline to deliver me, to send me a speedy, honourable, and agreeable answer, such as I shall expect from such noble personages. Have forwarded to me a good and sufficient passport for myself and my companions, to the number of thirty-five horses, at the same time with your answer, by Longueville, the bearer of this letter; and that it may have the greater weight, I have signed it with my sign manual, and scaled it with my arms, dated Paris, the 1st day of January, 1402."

THE FOURTH LETTER OF THE ARKAGONIAN ESQUIRE.

"To the honour of God, Father of all things, and the blessed Virgin Mary, his mother, whose aid I implore, that she would, through her grace, comfort and assist me to the fulfilment of the enterprise I have formed against all English knights,—I, Michel d'Orris, a native of the kingdom of Arragon, proclaim, as I have before done in the year 1400, like as one abstracted from all cares, having only the remembrance before me of the great glories our predecessors in former times acquired from the excellent prowess they displayed in numberless deeds of arms; and longing in my heart to gain some portion of their praise, I made dispositions to perform some deeds of arms with such English knight who by his prowess might deliver me from my vow. My challenge was accepted by a noble and honourable personage called sir John Prendergast, an English knight, as may be seen by the letters I have received from him. And that the conclusion I draw may be clearly seen, I have incorporated my letters with the last letters the said sir John Prendergast has lately sent me, as they include every circumstance relative to the fact. These letters, with my third letter, I sent back by Berry, king-at-arms, to Calais, to be delivered to sir John Prendergast.

"The herald, on his return, brought me for answer, that he had been told by the most potent prince the "earl of Somerset, governor of Calais, that he had, within the month of August, sent answers to my former letters to Boulogne, although the enterprise had not been completed. In honour, therefore, to this excellent prince, the governor of Calais, who through humility had taken charge to send the letters to Boulogne (as reported to me by the king-at-arms), by Faulcon king-at-arms in England, and in honour of chivalry, and that on no future occasion it may be said I was importunately pressing in my pursuit, I have waited for the space of one month after the expiration of the above term, for the delivery of this answer; and that my willingness and patience may be notorious, and

« 前へ次へ »