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cIIAPTER colxiv.–THE DAUPHIN LAYs siege to conE-sur-Loire.—THE EXPEDITION of THE DUKE of BURGUNDY for ITS RELIEF.—THE DEATH" of THE KING of ENGLAND.
We must now speak of the duke of Touraine, dauphin, who had assembled from divers parts an army of twenty thousand men, the greater number of which he had marched to Sancerre, where he had fixed his residence. During his stay there, he had won the town of La Charité-sur-Loire, which he regarrisoned; and had so closely besieged Cône-sur-Loire, that the garrison were constrained to capitulate with the commissaries of the dauphin for its surrender on the 6th day of August, unless the duke of Burgundy should come or send a force sufficient to combat his enemies; and for the due performance of this they gave sufficient hostages. The two dukes of Touraine and Burgundy mutually promised each other, by their heralds, to meet on the appointed day in battle array for the combat. The duke of Burgundy had before made his arrangements to return to Artois; but in consequence of the above, he resolved to stay in Burgundy, and sent messengers to summon assistance from Flanders, Picardy, and elsewhere. He sent also to the king of England, earnestly to request the aid of a certain number of his men-at-arms and archers, with some of his princes and chief captains. The king gave for answer to the duke's messengers, that he would not only comply with the request they made, but would come to the duke's aid in person, and with his whole army. Sir Hugh de Lannoy, master of the cross-bows of France, was not idle in raising men in Flanders and in the neighbourhood of Lille, and assembled great numbers. In like manner did sir John de Luxembourg, the lord de Croy, and many other captains in Picardy, who, toward the end of July, advanced by different roads round Paris, and marched thence through Troyes in Champagne. On the other hand, the king of England, though in a very bad state of health at Senlis, ordered the army that was in and about Paris to march toward Burgundy, under the command of his brother the duke of Bedford, the earl of Warwick, and other princes and captains. He himself, notwithstanding his illness, took leave of his brother the king of France, of the queen, and of his own consort, whom he never after saw, and departed from Senlis to Melun, where he had himself placed in a litter, intending to join his army on the day appointed for the battle between the dauphin and the duke of Burgundy. But he daily grew so much weaker, that he was forced to return to the castle of Vincennes, where he took to his death-bed. In the mean time, the English army, under the duke of Bedford, advanced near to Burgundy, as did the lords of Picardy by another route. They at length came to the town of Veselay, where they found the duke of Burgundy waiting for them with a considerable army collected from all quarters. The duke received them with great joy, and feasted them grandly, more especially the duke of Bedford and the English lords, whom he gratefully thanked for the powerful succour they had brought him in his time of need. When the junction of all these reinforcements was completed, the whole advanced toward Cône-sur-Loire, having van, centre, and rear battalions, in which were intermixed English, Burgundians, and Picards, so that no jealousies might arise among them, and that none of the three parties might claim any particular honour on the day of battle. In this order they came before Cône, and there took up their quarters for the night, ready for the combat on the morrow, according to the promises of the dauphin. But the dauphin and his advisers, having heard of the immense force of the duke of Burgundy and the princes his allies, withdrew with his army to Bourges in Berry, and no person appeared for him on the appointed day. Thus the town of Cône remained in possession of the duke of Burgundy, who marched back toward Troyes. The army suffered much from want of provision, especially bread; but when they were arrived near Troyes, they spread themselves over the low countries, which were very much oppressed by them on their going and returning. The duke of Bedford received intelligence on the march, that his brother the king was so ill that his life was despaired of: on which the duke, and some of the most faithful of the king's household, quitted the army, and hastened to the castle of Vincennes, where they found him worse than had been told them. The duke of Burgundy hearing this, despatched sir Hugh de Lannoy to visit him, and inquire into the state of his health. King Henry finding himself mortally ill, called to him his brother the duke of Bedford, his uncle of Exeter, the earl of Warwick, sir Louis de Robesart, and others, to the number of six or eight of those in whom he had the greatest confidence, and said, that he saw with grief it was the pleasure of his Creator that he should quit this world. He then addressed the duke of Bedford.—“John, my good brother, I beseech you, on the loyalty and love you have ever expressed for me, that you show the same loyalty and affection to my son Henry, your nephew; and that, so long as you shall live, you do not suffer him to conclude any treaty with our adversary Charles, and that on no account whatever the duchy of Normandy be wholly restored to him. Should our good brother of Burgundy be desirous of the regency of the kingdom of France, I would advise that you let him have it; but should he refuse, then take it yourself. My good uncle of Exeter, I nominate you sole regent of the kingdom of England, for that you well know how to govern it; and I entreat that you do not, on any pretence whatever, return to France; and I likewise nominate you as guardian to my son; and I insist, on your love to me, that you do very often personally visit and see him. My dear cousin of Warwick, I will that you be his governor, and that you teach him all things becoming his rank, for I cannot provide a fitter person for the purpose. “I entreat you as earnestly as I can, that you avoid all quarrels and dissentions with our fair brother of Burgundy; and this I particularly recommend to the consideration of my fair brother Humphrey, for should any coolness subsist between you, which God forbid, the affairs of this realm, which are now in a very promising state, would soon be ruined. You will be careful not to set at liberty our cousin of Orleans, the count d'Eu, the lord de Gaucourt and sir Guichart de Sisay, until our dear son shall be of a proper age ; and in all other things you will act as you shall judge for the best.” The king having said these words and some others, the lords replied, with grief and respect, that all he had ordered, and whatever they should think would be agreeable to him, they would execute to the utmost of their power, without altering any one thing. They were greatly affected at seeing the melancholy state he was in ; and some of them left the apartment. Sir Hugh de Lannoy having accomplished the business he had been sent on by the duke of Burgundy, and having had some conversation with the king, returned to the duke. The king then sent for his physicians, and earnestly demanded of them how long they thought he had to live. They delayed answering the question directly; but, not to discourage hope, they said that it depended solely on the will of God whether he would be restored to health. He was dissatisfied with this answer, and repeated his request, begging of them to tell him the truth. Upon this they consulted together, and one of them, as spokesman, falling on his knees, said, “Sire, you must think on your soul; for, unless it be the will of God to decree otherwise, it is impossible that you should live more than two hours.” The king, hearing this, sent for his confessor, some of his household, and his chaplains, whom he ordered to chant the seven penitential psalms. When they came to “Benigne fac, Domine,” where mention is made “muri Hierusalem,” he stopped them, and said aloud, that he had fully intended, after he had wholly subdued the realm of France to his obedience, and restored it to peace, to have gone to conquer the kingdom of Jerusalem, if it had pleased his Creator to have granted him longer life. Having said this, he allowed the priests to proceed, and, . after, according to the prediction of his physicians, gave up the ghost the last day of ugust. The duke of Bedford, the other princes, and in general all the English, made loud lamentations for his death, and were truly sorry for it. Shortly after, his bowels were buried I I 2
in the church of the monastery of Saint Maur des Fosses, and his body embalmed and put into a leaden coffin. During this time, the duke of Burgundy came from BrayeComte-Robert to Vincennes, to visit the duke of Bedford and the other princes; and having had a short conference with them went to Paris, where he was lodged in his hotel of Artois. The body of king Henry was carried in great funeral pomp, attended by the English princes, his household, and a multitude of other people, to the church of Notre-Dame, in Paris, where a solemn service was performed ; after which it was conveyed to Rouen in the same state, where it remained a considerable time. In the mean time the princes, namely, the duke of Bedford, the duke of Burgundy, and the duke of Exeter, with other great lords, assembled in council at Paris, to deliberate on the future government of France, when it was resolved, that what had been formerly agreed to and settled between the two kings at Troyes in Champagne, for the establishment of peace, should be the ground-work of the future government. It was now publicly known, that the disorder king Henry died of was a heat in his fundament, very similar to what is called the disorder of St. Anthony". After the princes had agreed on the future government of the kingdom, the duke of Burgundy quitted Paris, and returned with his Picards to Artois and Flanders; and the duke of Bedford, with the English lords, to Rouen, to regulate the affairs of that duchy. The queen of England was conducted to Rouen in great state; for she had been kept in ignorance how dangerously ill the king was, and knew not of his death until some time after it had happened. The royal coffin was placed within a car, drawn by four large horses, having on its top a representation of the deceased monarch, of boiled leather, elegantly painted, with a rich crown of gold on the head: in his right hand a sceptre, in his left a golden ball, with his face looking to the heavens. Over the bed on which this representation lay was a coverlid of vermilion silk interwoven with beaten gold. When it passed through any towns, a canopy of silk (like to what is carried over the host on Corpus Christi day) was borne over it. In this state, and attended by his princes and the knights of his household, did the funeral proceed from Rouen straight to Abbeville, where the body was placed in the church of St. Ulfran, with rows of priests on each side of the coffin, who day and night incessantly chanted requiems. Masses were daily said for his soul in the churches of all the towns through which the funeral passed, from break of day until noon. From Abbeville the procession proceeded to Hesdin, and thence to Montrieul, Boulogne, and Calais. Iuring the whole way there were persons on either side the car, dressed in white, carrying lighted torches: behind it were his household clothed in black, and after them his relatives in tears, and dressed in mourning. At about a league distance followed the queen, with a numerous attendance. From Calais they embarked for Dover, and, passing through Canterbury and Rochester, arrived at London on Martinmas-day. When the funeral approached London, fifteen bishops dressed in pontificalibus, several mitred abbots and churchmen, with a multitude of persons of all ranks, came out to meet it. The churchmen chanted the service for the dead as it passed over London-bridge, through Lombard Street to St. Paul's cathedral. Near the car were the relations of the late king uttering loud lamentations. On the collar of the first horse that drew the car were emblazoned the ancient arms of England: on that of the second, the arms of France and England quartered, the same as he bore during his lifetime: on that of the third, the arms of France simply. On that of the fourth horse were painted the arms of the noble king Arthur, whom no one could conquer: there were three crowns or, on a shield azure. When the funeral service had been royally performed in the cathedral, the body was carried to be interred at Westminster abbey with the kings his ancestors. At this funeral, and in regard to everything concerning it, greater pomp and expense were made than had been done for two hundred years at the interment of any king of England; and even now, as much honour and reverence is daily paid to his tomb, as if it were certain he was a saint in paradise. Thus ended the life of king Henry in the flower of his age, for when he died he was but * The parliamentary history says that he died of a dysentery
forty years old *. He was very wise and able in every business he undertook, and of a determined character. During the seven or eight years he ruled in France, he made greater conquests than any of his predecessors had ever done. It is true, he was so feared by his princes and captains that none dared to disobey his orders, however nearly related to him, more especially his English subjects. In this state of obedience were his subjects of France and England in general; and the principal cause was, that if any person transgressed his ordinances he had him instantly punished without favour or mercy. When this ceremony was over, the three estates of England assembled to consider the present state of the realm, when they unanimously elected the young son of their departed monarch king, although he was but sixteen months old, and submitted themselves to his will notwithstanding his youth. They instantly granted him a royal establishment, and agreed that he should be under the governance of the earl of Warwick. While these things were passing, a noble knight of Picardy used a joking expression to his herald respecting king Henry, which was afterward often repeated. Sir Sarrasin d’Arly, uncle to the vidame of Amiens, who might be about sixty years of age, resided in the castle of Achere, which he had had with his wife, sister to the lord d'Offemont, near to Pas in Artois. He was laid up with the gout, but very eager in his inquiries after news of what was going on. One day his poursuivant, named Haurenas, of the same age as himself, and who had long served him, returned from making the usual inquiries; and on sir Sarrasin questioning him, and asking him if he had heard any particulars of the death of the king of England, he said that he had, and had even seen his corpse at Abbeville, in the church of St. Ulfran, and then related how he was attired, nearly as has been before described. The knight then asked him, on his faith, if he had diligently observed him. On his answering that he had, —“Now, on thy oath, tell me,” added sir Sarrasin, “if he had his boots on.” “No, my lord, by my faith, he had not.” The knight then cried out, “Haurenas, my good friend, never believe me if he has not left them in France " This expression set the company a laughing, and then they talked of other matters,
Chapter CCLXV.—THE DUCHESS op BURGUNDY DIES IN THE TOWN OF Ghent.—THE DUkr; of BEDFORD IS MADE REGENT OF FRANCE.-SEVERAL FORTS ARE DEMOLISHED.
DURING the absence of the duke of Burgundy, and while he was making his preparations for the expected battle of Cône, his duchess, daughter to the king of France and sister to the dauphin, fell ill at Ghent, and died there. All her attendants, and indeed the whole of the inhabitants of Ghent and Flanders, were much grieved at her death, for she was greatly beloved by all who knew her, and adored by the subjects of her lord, duke Philip, and not without reason, for she was of high extraction, and adorned with every good qualification, as it was reported by those who, from their situations, must have been perfectly acquainted with her. Her body was solemnly interred in the church of the monastery of Saint Bavon, near to Ghent.
It was, however, commonly reported and believed in Ghent, that her death had been hastened; and one of her ladies, called Ourse, wife to Coppin de la Viefville, born in Germany, was suspected of having done it. She had been the great confidante of the duchess, who had intrusted her signet to her, but, during her illness, had dismissed her from her service; and she had retired to the town of Aire. The municipality of Ghent sent six score men thither to arrest and bring her back; but, on their arrival at Aire, they were met by sir Gauvain de la Viefville, and some other gentlemen of name, friends to her husband, who promised to deliver her up to the duke of Burgundy, for him to deal with her as he pleased. On receiving a solemn promise to this purpose, the Ghent men returned to their town; but the municipality were very angry that their orders had not been obeyed, and confined several of them prisoners. They were also much displeased with the mayor, sheriffs, and jurats, for not having delivered up the said Ourse, according to their mandate.
* The authors of “L’Art de Verifier les Dates” say, he was but thirty-six years old when he died. According to Hume, he died in the thirty-fourth year of his age.