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A.D. 1415. the place of the French vanguard, in order that on the march of the said French these two hundred English might shoot at them on that side; but I have heard it asserted for truth by a man of honour who was at that hour in the English army that there was nothing of this. Then, as has been above alluded to, the English having heard their king thus kindly exhorting them, uttered a loud cry, saying "Sire, God "grant you long life, and victory over your enemies '" This done, the king, again upon his little horse, came and placed himself before his banner, and made his battalioil march in the name of God and St. George approaching the enemy in fine order. But presently he made n. halt; and from the place where he stopped he sent gersons in whom he had great confidence to communicate with some French lords in the midst between the two armies: I know not through what incident; but, however, there were overtures and offers made by the two parties in the way of coming to a peace between the two kings and kingdoms of [France and] England. And by the French Henry was offered that if he would renounce the title which he asserted to the crown of France and entirely quit it and leave it, and, moreover, would restore the town of Harfleur, which he had lately conquered, the King of France would be satisfied to leave him peaceably what he held in Guienne, and that which he had by ancient conquest in Picardy. But the English answered that if the King of France would allow King Henry to enjoy the duchy of Guienne, and five cities of the county of Poiton, which were then named, and which pertained of right to the said duchy of Guienne, and would give him the lady Catherine, his daughter, to wife, with five hundred thousand francs, ready cash, for her apparel and jewellery, the King of England would be content to renounce his title to the crown of France, and restore the town of Harfleur. Which offers and demands were rejected equally by both A.D. 1415. sides, so the mediators returned, the French as well as the English, each to their own side.
Now it is true that some on this side have given it out that the King of England offered the French that if they would allow him and his army to pass peaceably to Calais, and courteously let victuals be supplied them for reasonable payment he would restore the town of Harfleur with the spoil and benefits which he had acquired by means of the said conquest and expedition. But though it may displease those who have averred it, this thing is an invention, for never did the King of England bind himself beyond the demand above mentioned. Thus quickly the parley being broken off, without any further hope whatever of peace or concord, each of the two parties prepared to fight. And every English archer had a stake pointed at both ends, with which they made a fence before them and fortified themselves.
Of the mortal battle of Azincourt, in which the King of England discomfited the French. Chapter XII.
It is true that the French had arranged their battalions between two small thickets, one lying close to Azincourt, and the other to Tramecourt. The place was narrow, and very advantageous for the English, and, on the contrary, very ruinous for the French, for the said French had been all night on horseback, and it rained, and the pages, grooms, and others, in leading about the horses, had broken up the ground, which was so soft that the horses could with difficulty step out of the soil. And also the said French were so
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A.D. 1415. loaded with armour that they could not support themselves or move forward. In the first place they were armed with long coats of steel, reaching to the knees or lower, and very heavy, over the leg harness, and besides plate armour also most of them had hooded helmets; wherefore this weight of armour, with the softness of the wet ground, as has been said, kept them as if immovable, so that they could raise their clubs only with great difficulty, and with all these mischiefs there was this, that most of them were troubled with hunger and want of sleep. There was a marvellous number of banners, and it was ordered that some of them should be furled. Also it was settled among the said French that every one should shorten his lance, in order that they might be stiffer when it came to fighting at close quarters. They had archers and cross-bowmen enough, but they would not let them shoot, for the plain was so narrow that there was no room except for the men-at-arms.
Now let us return to the English. After the parley between the two armies was finished, as we have said, and the delegates had returned, each to their own people, the King of England, who had appointed a knight called Sir Thomas Erpingham to place his archers in front in two wings, trusted entirely to him, and Sir Thomas, to do his part, exhorted every one to do well in the name of the king, begging them to fight vigorously against the French in order to secure and save their own lives. And thus the knight, who rode with two others only in front of the battalion, seeing that the hour was come, for all things were well arranged, threw up a baton which he held in his hand, saying "Nestrocq,"1 which was the signal
i Nestrocq, A. Nestrongue, H. Ne streckc in Monstrelet. Buchon (Monst., p. 375) coujec ures that
the word was intended to represent the English, " Now strike."
for attack; then dismounted and joined the king, who A.d. His. was also on foot in the midst of his men, with his banner before him. Then the English, seeing this signal, began suddenly to march, uttering a very loud cry, which greatly surprised the French. And when the English saw that the French did not approach them, they marched dashingly towards them in very fine order, and again raised a loud cry as they stopped to take breath.
Then the English archers, who, as I have said, were in the wings, saw that they were near enough, and began to send their arrows on the French with great vigour. The said archers were for the most part in their doublets, without armour, their stockings rolled up to their knees, and having hatchets and battle-axes or great swords hanging at their girdles; some were barefooted and bare-headed, others had caps of boiled leather, and others of osier, covered with harpoy or leather.
Then the French, seeing the English come towards them in this fashion, placed themselves in order, every one under his banner, their helmets on their heads. The constable, the marshal, the admirals, and the other princes earnestly exhorted their men to fight the English well and bravely; and when it came to the approach the trumpets and clarions resounded everywhere; but the French began to hold down their heads, especially those who had no bucklers, for the impetuosity of the English arrows, which fell so heavily that no one durst uncover or look up. Thus they went forward a little, then made a little retreat, but before they could come to close quarters, many of the French were disabled and wounded by the arrows; and when they came quite up to the English, they were, as has been said, so closely pressed one against another that none of them could lift their arms to strike their enemies, except some that were in front, and these fiercely pricked with the lances which they had shortened to be more stiff, and to get nearer their enemies.
A,D. 1415. The said French had formed a plan which I will describe, that is to say, the constable and marshal had chosen ten or twelve hundred men-at-arms, of whom one party was to go by the Azincourt side and the other on that of Tramecourt, to break the two wings i-f the English archers; but when it came to close quarters there were but six score left of the band of Sir Clugnet de Brabant, who had the charge of the undertaking on the Tramecourt side. Sir William de Saveuse, a very brave knight, took the Aziucourt side, with about three hundred lances ; and with two others only he advanced before the rest, who all followed, and struck into these English archers, who had their stakes fixed in front <-f them, but these had little hold in such soft ground. So the said Sir William and his two companions pressed on boldly; but their horses tumbled among the stakes, and they were speedily slain by the archers, which was a great pity. And most of the rest, through fear, gave way and fell back into their vanguard, to whom they were a great hindrance; and they opened their ranks in several places, and made them fall back and lose their footing in some land newly sown; for their horses had been so wounded by the arrows that the men could no longer manage them. Thus, by these principally and by this adventure, the vanguard of the French was thrown into disorder, and men-at-arms without number began to fall; and their horses feeling the arrows coming upon them took to flight before the enemy, and following their example many of the French turned and fled. Soon alterwards the English archers, seeing the vanguard thus shaken, issued from behind their stockade, threw away their bows and quivers, then took their swords, hatchets, mallets, axes, falcon-beaks and other weapons, and, pushing into the places where they saw these breaches, struck down and killed these Frenchmen without mercy, and never ceased to kill till the said vanguard which had fought little or not at all was