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men, but they had fled, retreating towards Scotland, A.D. 1399. dismayed at the great tumult and affray which they had heard in the town, believing that King Henry had arrived there. The said Earl of Huntingdon found his steward outside the town with about twelve horses and quitted the kingdom, but afterwards went into Essex.i The Lord Dospencer went towards Wales, and Magdelain towards Scotland, and all the others who remained in the town of Cirencester defended themselves bravely, and, spite of the townspeople, held their hostel till the next morning about eight o'clock, when they were obliged to surrender; and there were taken there Sir Thomas Blount, Sir Bennett Seely, and fully twenty other lords, who were all bound together and sent on foot, trotting behind their horses, which the townspeople rode. Then the people cut off the heads of the Duke of Surrey and another great lord, and carried their heads on two large poles, with the intention of bringing them as a present to King Henry.
Of the ordinance of King Henry, when he had set out from London to attack his enemies. Chapter XI.
You have heard heretofore how King Henry, when he knew of the army which the above-named conspirators had raised, and how they had taken the field, caused a proclamation to be made in the city of London that all who had been used to arms should come, and put in writing a promise well and loyally to serve King Henry, and that they should be paid for fifteen days, each man-at-arms eighteen pence, and
i Compare the passage at the commencement of Chap. 13. u 17967. c
A.D. 1400. each archer ninepence a day. When they were all ready, the king left London to lead his men on the field, and sixteen thousand men were paid on the Epiphany,1 the sixth of January in the year 1399, so that at ten o'clock they should be ready to go against the enemy; but know, that at this hour there were but fifty lances, and six thousand archers, in his service. On arriving on the field, he began to make his dispositions, waiting for his mercenaries, and it was full three in the afternoon before they began to come up, whereupon King Henry said to the Earl of Warwick: "Sir Thomas, I wonder very much that "our cousin of Arundel, your brother, lingers so." Then the Earl of Warwick said to him: "Sire, if you "had listened to the advice of your Commons, and "the decision of the Parliament of London, you would "not have had any need of this expedition." "Why, "fair cousin?" said King Henry, "ought I to have "put to death him who never did me any wrong, "nor deceived me? You know too, that I was not "yet king, so had not opportunity to cause his "death; but, by the faith which I owe to Saint "George, if perchance he has escaped from the place "where I had sent him, and had joined with the "others, and I can meet him on the field, I will slay "him, or he me. I have no fear of the French or "Scotch, but I do fear the Flemings, by whom he "was much loved." The said King Henry very hurriedly ordered the Mayor of London to return to the city, to make proclamation on his behalf, and in like manner he sent throughout England, especially to the ports and harbours, that, under pain of the halter, none should leave by sea, and that they should allow no one to leave the country, until the repeal of the present edict; and the king's command was complied
1 Le jour des Roix.
with, and proclaimed everywhere where it was neces- uoo.
sary. Just at this time the Lord Fitzwalter arrived,
mounted on a very fine charger, and armed in a
very fine suit of armour, carrying the banner of the
Londoners, which is argent with a cross gules, and he
had with him eight thousand horse. Then King
Henry, seeing those men of London, said, smilingly:
"Welcome, my good friends from London!'' for he
was greatly rejoiced at their arrival; and ordered
wine to be brought; and when he had drunk, he gave
his cup to the Earl of Warwick, saying: "Drink to
"me, cousin, T hope that, to-day, we shall have a good
"fight against our enemies."
The manner of King Richard's death. Chapter XII.
Very soon after these doings, King Henry called to him one of his esquires, named Piers d'Exton, whom he ordered to go, without delay, to release Richard of Bordeaux from this world, for it was meet that what was ordered by decree of Parliament should be performed. This gentleman, ready to obey King Henry's command, took leave of him, and carrying with him eight big ruffians, strong and bold men, took the road to Pomfret, where he knew King Richard was prisoner. When he arrived there he dismounted in the inner court of the castle, and called the keeper of the place, to whom he showed the letters from King Henry, containing the charge which he had to perform. Then the castellan, wishing to carry out the royal command, answered Sir Piers d'Exton, that he could put his charge into execution, and pointed out to him the tower in which King Richard was a prisoner, and was at that hour sitting at table at dinner. Sir Piers d'Exton being come there, caused the esquire carver of King Richard to be called, whom he forbade, on behalf of King Henry, ever henceforth to be so
A.D. 1400. bold, as he valued his life, as to carve or taste the food before the said King Richard of Bordeaux, saying that he was to let him eat alone as he would, for he would never eat again after this once. When the esquire heard Sir Piers speak thus he returned in great terror to the room, where the king generally dined, who, as was said, was sitting at table and waiting for his esquire to taste and carve before him, as he was accustomed to do. The king, who was not eating, looked at his esquire, and said to him: "What is "the news, why do you not do your duty?" "Sire," said the esquire, "I know no other news, "excepting that Sir Piers d'Exton has arrived here; "I don't know what news he brings." Then King Richard told the esquire to carve him something to eat, and to taste before him as he was accustomed, and as belonged to his office. Then tho esquire fell on his knees before the table, crying to King Richard for mercy, beseeching him humbly, for the love of God, that he would pardon him, for he had been forbidden, on behalf of King Henry, to do so any more. Whereupon King Richard, much vexed and full of anger, seized one of the knives which were on the table, and, throwing it at the head of the esquire, said: "Cursed "be Henry of Lancaster, and all the traitors of his "confederacy." At these words Sir Piers d'Exton with seven men came in to the said room where King Richard was sitting at table, and there was not one of the eight who had not an axe in his hand; but when King Richard saw them thus enter his room, armed and provided with cudgels, he threw the table on the ground and leaped into tho midst of them all, and rushing on one, whose axe he snatched from him, began to strike out on all sides, and he did so much by hi3 great prowess and bravery that out of the eight he slew four. Sir Piers d'Exton, seeing the king's great prowess, jumped towards the bench, on which he mounted, axe in hand, while the king was de- A.D. uoo. fending himself agaiust the three other murderers in so marvellous a manner that they were all afraid of him, and it happened that the king fell back against the bench on which was the traitor, of whom he was taking no heed. Sir Piers seeing the king at a disadvantage, swung up the deadly axe and struck the king such a prodigious blow on the head with it that he felled him to the ground. Then the noble King Richard, feeling that it was his death blow, cried to God for mercy, and the wicked knight jumped down from the bench and gave the king another heavy blow again on the head, whereof he died instantly, which was a shameful murder and a great dishonour to the English who were participators in and consenting to it. Then Sir Piers d'Exton, who had slain the king, as you have heard, sat down beside the dead body, weeping very tenderly, and saying, "Alas, what have "we, this day, done? so cruelly to murder the noble "king our sovereign lord, whom for the space of "twenty-two years that he has ruled over us we "have kept for our king. Well may I curse the hour "that I was born of my mother, for this day have I "dishonoured myself and all my lineage. The time will "never be so long, as I am in this world, when I "shall cease to be reproached with it." Thus, as you have heard, did Sir Piers d'Exton make his complaint, but it was too late. Afterwards, the body of King Richard, in order that everyone might know that he was dead, was placed on a chariot covered with black cloth, with four banners, one at each corner of the car, of which two were of arms of Saint George and the two others the arms of Saint Edward; and there were a hundred men all dressed in black, each bearing a torch in his hand before the chariot, and in this state they brought the body to London, from which place of London thirty men all dressed in white went