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A.l). 1420. Bourges in Berry and collected as many people as he could get to resist the attempts of the King of England and the Duke of Burgundy, who he knew were working, as has been told, to subjugate and recover the towns and countries which held out for him.
Of a great army which was raised in Bohemia against the people of Prague, who were then called Hussites. Chapter II.
At the same time that these things were doing among the parties in France a crusade was ordered by our holy father the Pope against the people of Prague. Besides many German princes, the leaders of this expedition were the Bishop of Cologne, the Archbishop of Treves, the Bishop of Liege, the Bishop of Mayence, Louis Duke in Bavaria, Duke of Heidelberg,i the Marquis of Nuisse,2 and others, dukes, counts, and marquises, being forty-two in all. And I, the author of this work, was in this army with the Savoyards, of w horn the chief was the Lord of Aix, and with him the Lord of Varenbon, the Lord of Gralee, Peter de Menton, Sir Ame de Challan, John de Compois, and several others. Under, and in the company of, the Duke of Heidelberg we proceeded through Nuremberg and Eger, which is the first town in Bohemia, and there we found a great number of princes waiting; then we crossed the forest, and the whole force entered the level country of Bohemia, which is very beautiful, and abundant in all good things, full of towns, villages,
i The person thus designated, who is called by Monstrelet Count Louis of the Rhine, seems to be Louis, Duke of Ingoldstadt, who
revolted against Ernest Duke of Bavaria.
- Mdlle. Dupont identifies this person with Frederick Marquis of Misnia.
and castles; and all was given to destruction by fire A.D. 1420. and sword, men, women, and children, without any mercy; and in truth, as several distinguished persons related, and also according to what I could see and suppose, when we came into a great plain near the town of Souchi to which they laid siege, the strength of the cavalry was estimated at 150,000 persons, besides the infantry, waggoners, merchants, suttlers, artisans, and workmen, who were estimated at fully 60,000; which armed force sat about a month before the said town. But envy and covetousness began to arise among the princes, wherefore this fine army broke up suddenly without effecting much. Also the night before the departure, there came tidings to the camp on behalf of the emperor who admonished the princes that it was not his pleasure that they had come there, and that they should proceed no further, nor go on with this expedition; and it appeared to him they had done very wrong, seeing they knew very well how the kingdom of Angle or Bohemia was his. For this reason they were all the more ready to depart, so much so that to see them set out from their camp it seemed as if they were pursued by their enemies. In this army was the Cardinal of Englnnd, who seeing the confusion, said in great displeasure that if he had had six thousand English archers that day he would quite easily have beaten all the troops that were there; and he said truly, for no one waited for another, and it was a wonder that no disaster happened to them, as it would have done if their enemies had been people of any enterprise. Thus, as you hear, this great army separated without effecting any thing; which matters I must leave to return to my subject.
Hoiv the Kings of France and England and the Duke of Burgundy besieged, the good town of Mehin. Chapter III.
A.D. 1430. Now it is time to return to the Kings of France and England, and Duke Philip of Burgundy, who, after the conquest of Monterau drew their army towards Melun, held by the dauphin's people. This town was entirely surrounded; for King Henry with his brothers, the red Duke of Bavaria his brother-inlaw, and some other princes had their quarters on the side towards Le Gatinois, and the Duke of Burgundy with his people, and with the Earl of Huntingdon and some other English captains had theirs on the side towards Brye; and King Charles of France, and the two queens, went to keep their court all together at Corbeil.
These besieging princes directed all their designs and endeavours to get near and come into conflict with their enemies, and then in order to distress them they erected several engines, bombards, and other instruments to break down the said town, within which the principal captain was the Lord of Barbasan, a noble knight, very expert and renowned in arms; with him were the Lord of Preaux, Sir Peter de Bourbon, and a valiant freebooter. These had in their company from five to eight hundred fighting men, who by their courage displayed to their enemies the appearance of great hardihood in valiantly defending themselves against their undertakings and assaults. Nevertheless, their fortifications were in several places round the town approached as far as the moats, as well by mines, as by bulwarks and otherwise; even on the side where the Duke of Burgundy was a very strong bulwark was taken by sudden assault, one which the A.D. 1420. said besieged had constructed outside the moats, and by which they annoyed and greatly troubled the besiegers; and after which capture the people of Duke Philip fortified it, and held it all through the remainder of the siege, keeping watch in it night and day. Moreover there was made a bridge of boats over the Seine, by which the two armies could go and come openly to each other; and besides, the king got his camp enclosed all round with good ditches, furnished with fences and stakes, so that he should not be surprised by his enemies; but in some places, leaving necessary openings which were shut with good barriers, and were watched night and day. Likewise it was done on the side of the Duke of Burgundy, and of the other English.
In this condition the said siege continued for the space of eighteen weeks, during which time some sallies and skirmishes were achieved by the besieged, but not on a great scale; however, one very valiant English captain, named Philip Lys, was killed by a bow shot, also a notable gentleman of the country of Burgundy, called Emart de Vyanne, with several others. And as the besiegers were ingenious in distressing their enemies, so the besieged in like manner defended themselves with great vigour, and as fast as their walls were broken down by the engines of their adversaries, they strengthened them with hogsheads full of earth, straw, wool, and other sufficient matters. On the side where the King of England encamped there was dug under the moats of the town a mine which penetrated nearly to the walls; but the besieged, suspecting this, countermined opposite to it, and used such diligence that it was broken open, and there were between the two parties great thrusts with short lances, and fine passes of arms. Then on the English side there was made a barrier within the said mine, in which the
A.D. 1420. King of England and the Duke of Burgundy fought with two dauphinists, thrusting lances against each other; and afterwards in succession several knights and esquires went to fight in the said mine. Of these some gained knighthood there, to wit, of the household of the Duke of Burgundy, John de Hornes, Lord of Bausignies, Robert de Maumez, and others.
While this siege continued before Melun, the King of England sometimes went to Corbeil to see the queen, his wife, with whom were the Duchess of Clarence, and other English dames and damsels. After the said siege had been formed, as has been told, for a certain space of time, the King of France was brought to it, that with greater certainty the said besieged ones might be summoned to give up the town to the King of France, their natural and sovereign lord. To which they replied that to him in his separate capacity they would willingly make overtures, but saying that they would not obey the King of England, the ancient enemy of the kingdom of France. Nevertheless the King of France remained a good while at the camp, sleeping in its tents under the governance of his son-in-law, the King of England, not with such state and attendance as he had formerly been seen with; for in comparison with time past there was little to see about him. And the King of England had his wife, the queen, brought to this same siege, grandly attended by dames and damsels, and she sojourned there about a month, lodged in a house which the king, her husband, had got made for her quite conveniently near his tents, which were far from the town, in order that they might not be troubled with arrows. And there, before the said king's tent six or eight English clarions and divers other instruments played melodiously for a good hour at sunset and at the