ページの画像
PDF
ePub

Harfleur for the King of England, and asked the A.D. 1417. said Laguen to break three lances against him, which thing the bastard freely agreed to; and as soon as he was armed he sallied forth from the gate, with thirty companions on foot only, and there before the barrier the two champions ran against each other with good will ; but it happened that by the first blow the English knight was pierced through the body by the lance and carried off his horse, and besides was drawn by force into the town, where he soon died, which was a great pity, for he was a knight of good renown. And the said bastard was very sorry for his death, but he could do nothing else. However, he had four hundred nobles from the friends of the deceased for giving up the body. For this thing the bastard was greatly lauded, valued, and honoured by all ; but, to tell the truth, such passages of arms could profit neither the besiegers or the besieged, except for the renown of their valiant nobility.

When, then, the French had been besieged a long while, and were therefore finding themselves getting very short of provisions and all other necessaries, they found means of making a sally in the evening, in order to put out of the city an aged and subtle priest, and to send him to the King of France, well instructed in what he was to say to the king and his council on behalf of the besieged ones of Rouen. The said priest thus committed to fortune very ingeniously escaped everywhere the best way he could, and used such diligence that he arrived at Paris, where he explained his mission before the king and his council through an Augustine doctor named Eustace of Pavia, that is to say, she told] of the tribulation, danger, and necessity in which the people of Rouen were placed. And in explaining it he took for his text, “Quid faciemus ?” which words he expounded very wisely and in orthodox manner. After this fine sermon the priest

A.D. 1417. said to the king, "Most excellent pripce, it is enjoined

" on me by the inhabitants of the good town of
“ Rouen to cry against you, and also against you,
“sire Duke of Burgundy, who have the government
“ of the king and his kingdom, that is to say, that I
“ signify to you the distress which they suffer from
“ the English ; so they send to you, and make known
“ by me, that if for want of your help they are
“ obliged to become subjects of the King of England,
“ you will not have in the whole world worse enemies
“ than they; and it they can they will ruin you
" and your dynasty." These and the like words this
priest spoke, and earnestly remonstrated with the
King of France and his council, and after they had
given him a grand reception, and also the Duke of
Burgundy had promised him that it should be attended
to as quickly as possible, he returned the best way he
could, carrying his tidings to the besieged, whom he
reached without hindrance.

Soon afterwards the King of France and the Duke of Burgundy sent an embassy to Pont de l'Arche, to treat with the King of England for peace between them and their kingdoms, and with the said embassy went the Cardinal des Ursins to mediate between the parties. In which legation there were for the King of France the Bishop of Beauvais, Maitre Philip de Morviller, first president; Sir Regnault de Folleville, knight; Sir William de Champ-divers ; Maitre Thery Le Roy, and some others; to meet whom there came to the said place of Pont de l'Arche the Earl of Warwick, Chancellor of England; the [Arch]bishop of Canterbury, and others of the king's council. This embassy lasted about fifteen days, during which time the said cardinal went to the King of England at his camp before Rouen, where he was received with honour by the king and the other princes. And the said ambassadors of France had brought with them the portrait of the lady Catherine, the noble daughter of the king, A.D. 1417. painted to the life ; this was presented to King Henry, and pleased him very much. Suill nothing could be agreed on between them, because he made demands which to the French appeared extravagant; that is to say, that there should be given him with the daughter of the King of France ten hundred thousand crowns in gold; the duchy of Normandy, of which he had already made almost the entire conquest; the duchy of Aqui. taine; the county of Ponthieu and other seignories formerly possessed by his ancestors; and all without holding them under the King of France. So the French ambassadors made reply that the King of France was in no condition to confirm treaties]? ; that he could not without grave reasons alienate the heritage of the crown; that the dauphin was not yet king to go so far in negotiation, and also that the Duke of Burgundy had no power to make such bargains.

After these questions and answers the cardinal and the French ambassadors returned to the king, the queen, and the Duke of Burgundy, who had lately removed from Paris to Pontoise, and to whom they told the condition of their embassy. And within a short time afterwards the Cardinal des Ursins returned to the pope, who was staying at Avignon, for he felt that nothing could be agreed upon between the two parties above mentioned.

When the people of Rouen knew that the embassy had broken up, and saw that help was long in coming, they took the resolution together to sally out in force one day and fight one of the besieging parties of the King of England. But before this they anew thrust out of their city at least twenty thousand poor people, men, women, and children, who had nothing to live on, with priests also, and ladies married and unmarried, wives of burgesses, and aged men, who were eating,

1 These words are supplied by H.

A.D. 14i7. and could do nothing else to help. But when the

English saw these people issue forth from the gates and bulwarks they placed themselves in front of them, and the archers shot slowly into the midst of them, by which some were wounded ; wherefore they withdrew into the trenches of the town, where they remained for the space of three days in great want, crying out, weeping, dying, and the women in labour, which was a pitiable thing to behold, so much so, that at length those of the garrison and the townspeople were constrained by the pity and compassion which they had for them to replace them within the town; wherefore the famine and mortality came to be so great, that in a short time there died at least thirty thousand persons, men, women, and little children.

Those of the garrison, seeing that their affairs were going badly, their provisions running short, and help delaying, as I have already said above, sent forth from the town ten thousand good warriors; and the city being closely kept it was ordered that each should be provided with food for three days. And when all was ready for effecting their purpose, and two thousand at least had already sallied forth (they rushed] on the camp of the King of England, where at the onset they did great execution. They believed that the rest would follow, but it happened that the English who formed the siege on this side were secretly warned of the sortie of the French ; wherefore by night they with noiseless tools cut the piles which supported the bridge ; consequently those who first got upon it unluckily fell into the water; for the bridge sank; and so some of them perished, and the others were hurt. Their companions were greatly surprised, and not without cause ;, and seeing this misfortune, they hastened to another gate, to succour and help their comrades whom they knew to be in great danger ; so

by great valour they got them back into the town, A.D. 1417. but it was not without loss to both parties. · After this affair, there began great murmuring through the city against the fidelity of Sir Guy-le-Boutillier, for he was believed either to have caused the said bridge to be sawn, or to have given information to the English.

And about this time Languen, the bastard of Arly, died through sickness; wherefore those of the commonalty of the town were sadly disconsolate ; for they loved him greatly as has been said above; and they relied on him more than on any of the other captains for loyalty and valour.

Now we shall, for a little, leave speaking of the Rouen people, and tell you about the King of France and those of his party.

Of things which were done, and which happened

during the siege of Rouen. CHAPTER XXIII.

Now to speak of the condition of the King of France and the Duke of Burgundy, it is true that in order to aid the condition of the people of Rouen, they sent great summonses throughout the kingdom whereever their rule was acknowledged ; and there came people in large numbers to the appointed place round Beauvais. Among those who came were chiefly all the lords of Picardy and all those under them that were accustomed to carry arms; by whom the countries through which they passed, and where they lodged, were greatly troubled. And then the king, the queen, the Duke of Burgundy, and their retinues came from Pontoise to Beauvais, in order that there might be more abundant food. At which place there were held by common consent, many close councils to consider

« 前へ次へ »