Introduction (for footnotes see the published edition)
Although Villehardouin, Joinville and Froissart have received some attention lately, most thirteenth and fourteenth-century vernacular French texts of an historical nature, both in verse and in prose, are unknown to modern readers. Ambroise has been translated in a volume long out of print, while Primat, the Minstrel of Rheims, Philippe de Mouskes, Guiart, Jean d'Outremeuse, Cuvelier, and others have neither been translated nor recently edited. As a result, modern readers without Middle French must base their impressions about the period primarily upon three works designed for the use of courtly aristocrats, or powerful ecclesiatics. The purpose of this translation is to introduce another perspective.
Probably composed in the early 1260's, by a man know only as the minstrel of Rheims, the Récits d'un Menestral de Reims offers, in its only modern edition, 247 pages of vernacular prose devoted to various historical events and characters. Unreliable, entertaining, and difficult to classify, it does not even have a title to which it can incontrovertibly lay claim. To call it a chronicle of Flanders or of Rheims, as some early readers did, leads to problems, since most of the text concerns France and England. Its opening indicates an interest in European adventures in the Near East, but it comes back to events on the continent, in various parts of what today amounts to France, England, Belgium, Spain, Italy, and Germany. A certain amount of specific detail is devoted to activities at Rheims. In addition, to call the Récits a chronicle is misleading, since history in the middle ages was a branch of grammar and rhetoric -- that is, it was literature.
Exactly what kind of literature the Minstrel intended ot produce is not entirely clear, since any title or introduction he may have given his work has not survived. His editor was troubled by the Minstrel's willingness to do anything to get a laugh, and by the fact that his subject matter clearly resembles what jongleurs tend to off: marvelous events and catastrophic disasters. The cavalier confusion of dates, characters, and places gives his text qualities to be found generally in historical fiction, and in chansons de gestes and romans particularly. Details combine, recombine, are invented or suppressed, in order not to conform to the needs of historians with scientific aspirations, but, in typically medieval fashion, to the needs and abilities of a specific author and a specific audience.
Some of the minstrel's deviations from fact (that is, names, dates, chronologies about which no controversy exists) may be attributed to carelessness or incompetence, and some to purposes that remain resolutely mysterious after more than 700 years. In some cases, however, the Minstrel deviates not necessarily from fact, but from other texts. Since we do not know exactly what texts, if any, he had before him as he composed, studying sources and analogues in this instance can only reveal something about the different intentions, sensibilities, and perspectives of the writers who treated the same characters and events. In addition, however, what the Minstrel does with his materials may reveal something about the way writers of popular historical literature in the thirteenth century, and perhaps in the Middle Ages generally, composed their texts.
Exactly or even roughly who the minstrel was is impossible to tell. By inference from the text of the Récits we may conclude that he drew upon both oral and written material. Bu inference also we may establish that his perspective was compounded out of two major problems: he had to protect himself against royal displeasure, and he had to please a heterogeneous, urban, if not necessarily urbane, audience. His performance lends further support to Jacques LeGoff's assertion that a shift in social perspective among writers of historical texts occurred between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. However, the Récits also provides an opportunity to examine an exception to the rule that French vernacular history in the thirteenth century reflected an attempt on the part of the aristocracy to "deproblematize" (Spiegel) aristocratic culture, since his attitude towards the aristocracy is skeptical at best.
In the process of his performance, the Minstrel pursues a not very well-hidden agenda, consisting of three items: to praise the Capetians, with the bulk of the panegyric bestowed upon Philip-Augustus; to castigate enemies of the Capetians, both internal and external; and to castigate almost all ecclesiastical figures.
In pursuing the first item on his agenda, the Minstrel devotes more than half of his text to a categorical, uncritical laus Philipi Augusti. In the process he fabricates victories where there were no battles, elides Philips's problems with women and the consequent difficulties with legitimatizing Agnes' children, and makes no mention of the negative actions attributed to the king by Rigord, who complained, for example, that in 1198 Philip treated the church badly, and permitted the Jews to return. Not only does he suppress Rigord's charges, but he fabricates the pious fiction of Philip Augustus making his will on his death-bed, leaving equal thirds to the poor and to the Holy Land. In addition the Minstrel lengthens Philip's reign from 43 to 47 years, apparently to magnify the king's glory, and he assigns his coronation to the age of 14 instead of 16, making him even more of a Wunderkind.
Fabricating accomplishments, exaggerating numbers, and suppressing unfavorable material, however, are not the minstrel's primary strategies for producing panegyric. He also composes dramatic scenes for the purpose of encomium (as he does in other instances to fuel his diatribe), drawing upon material with some basis in historical reality. One of the clearest illustrations of this technique is the incident in which Philip's momentary halt on the way to the battle of Bouvines, represented by only three words -- modici quieti vacaret -- in William the Breton's text, becomes a full-scale dramatic scene.
Panegyric, however, does not often make for interesting, appealing characters, and the Minstrel's Philip is no exception. On the other hand, Philip's enemy, Richard the Lion-Hearted emerges as a more appealing character, since his energy, generosity, and rashness more closely fit the heroic mold developed in chansons de geste and romans. Saladin also emerges as an appealing figure, a noble pagan, like Rainouart or Wolfram von Eschenbach's Feirefiz.
The portrait that emerges from the Minstrel's performance, however, is not sanguine: aristocrats are arrogant and self-destructive; clergymen are arrogant and greedy; the bourgeoisie share the same tendencies, but are less dangerous because still less powerful than the other two groups. The majority of people, those working the land, do not count at all. Disenfranchised politically, economically, and socially, they have no narrative value at all for the Minstrel.
After Godfrey of Boulogne and the nobility of France had conquered Antioch and Jerusalem, restoring Christianity where it had long been cast out, Christians won no victories against the Saracens in the land of Tyre, except for their retaking of Acre in the time of Saladin, and in the time of king Philip, whom you have heard mentioned earlier, and of Constantinople, which the blind duke of Venice conquered.
Sometime after the death of king Godfrey and king Baldwin, his brother, who were consecutive kings of Jerusalem, there was a king in France whose name was Raoul le Justiciers. He was so named because he carried out justice very well, nor did he tie malefactors to his purse strings, as evil princes do, who are eager for fighting and doing ill, in order to fill their purses, unmindful of Scripture, where David the prophet says: "Always make just judgements."
King Raoul had two sons by his wife, of whom the elder was named Robert, and the younger Louis. Robert had very little understanding, and was quite stupid. Louis was more intelligent, and had more understanding. When the king their father died, paying the debt that we all must pay, the barons and peers held a meeting, to make the elder brother king of France. However, there was one peer who was very wise and mature, who said: "Noble men, if you follow my advice, we shall make Louis, who has wisdom and understanding, king, since you can see very clearly that Robert has no understanding, and if you make him king, the kingdom will grow weak, and discord will arise among us. For we and the people have a very great need for a king in France to rule the kingdom, and you know very well how things are with my lord Robert. And God knows that I am not saying this for my own benefit, since the younger means no more to me than the elder. Do what God instructs you is best to do."
"Indeed," the barons and peers said to him, "we think that you have spoken well, and you have offered good reasons for what you have said." They all agreed to the younger one, and he was crowned king at Rheims, where he was anointed with the holy vial that God sent from the heavens to saint Remigius. Then they made of sir Robert a count of Dreux, who thought himself well-off, since he did not understand what this meant. The Robertines descend from this Robert, and they still say that they were done out of the kingdom, because he was the elder.
Let us return now to our subject. The barons agreed that the king should marry, and they gave him the duchess Eleanor, who was a very evil woman. She held Maine, Anjou, Poitou, Limoge, and Touraine, and easily three times the land held by the king. Now it happened that he wanted to go beyond the seas, to deliver the holy Land from the hands of the Saracens. He took the cross, and gathered many men, and they prepared their expedition. Embarking upon the sea at St. John's Day, they sailed for a month at the mercy of the winds, arriving at Tyre, for that was the only land held by Christians in Syria. He remained there for the entire next winter, and did nothing but spend his resources.
When Saladin perceived that he was weak and hesitant, he offered battle several times, but the king would not engage in a fight. When queen Eleanor saw the king's weakness, and she heard men speak of the goodness and strength and understanding and generosity of Saladin, she conceived a great passion for him in her heart, and she sent him greetings through one of her interpreters. He understood that, if he could arrange for her escape, she would take him as her lord, and would give up her faith. When Saladin understood the letter she had sent him through her interpreter, he was very pleased, for he knew that she was the most aristocratic and wealthiest lady in Christendom. Therefore he had a galley prepared, and brought from Ascalon, where he was, to Tyre, together with the interpreter. They arrived at Tyre a bit before midnight.
By means of a hidden gate, the interpreter climbed up to the queen's bedroom, where she was waiting for him. Wheny she saw him, she said: "What news?" "Lady," he said, "look at the galley that stands ready and waiting for you. Hurry, before we are seen." "My word," said the queen, "this has been done well." She quickly took with her two women, and two boxes full of gold and silver, intending to have them brought to the galley. When one of her ladies saw what was happening, she left her bedroom as quietly as possible, going to the bed of the king, who was asleep, waking him, and saying to him: "Sir, unfortunately the queen intends to go to Ascolon with Saladin, and his boat is waiting for her in the harbor. For God's sake, sir, hurry."
When the king heard this, he jumped up, got dressed, went out and ordered his entourage to arm themselves, and he went off to the harbor. There he found the queen, with one foot in the galley, and he took her by the hand, and brought her back to her room. The king's entourage captured the galley and its crew, for they were too surprised to defend themselves.
The king asked the queen why she wanted to do this, and she replied: "In the name of God, because you are not worth much. I heard so much about Saladin that I love him better than I love you. Be sure that you understand that you will never hold me." The king quickly departed, leaving her heavily guarded, and decided to return to France, for his money was running out, and in the East he had acquired only dishonor.
He set out again on the sea, together with the queen, and returned to France, where he consulted with all his barons about what to do with the queen. After he told them what she had done, the barons said: "My God, the best advice we can give you is to let her go, since she is a devil, and we fear that, if you keep her any longer, she will have you killed. In addition, she has given you no child." The king foolishly agreed, and carried out this plan; he should have cloistered her, so that his land would have remained great all his life, and the disasters of which you are about to hear would not have taken place.
The king returned queen Eleanor to her land, and she immediately sent for king Henry of England, who had ordered saint Thomas of Canterbury killed. He came willingly, married her, and did homage to the king for the very sizeable land that he took over. Henry took Eleanor back to England, and kept her until he had three sons with her, of whom the eldest was named Henry Courtmantel, a fine and competent knight, who, however, did not live long. The second was named Richard, a fine, competent, generous, chivalrous man, and the third was named John, an evil, treacherous man, who did not believe in God.
At this point we shall set aside, for the moment, the topic of king Henry and his sons, to talk about king Louis, who was without a wife. His barons told him that Henry, count of Champagne, a generous man, had a lovely, refined daughter, whose name was Alix; she was the sister of archbishop William Blanchemain, who was a powerful man in those days; he is the man who reestablished the magistracy at Rheims.
"Sir," said the barons, "we advise you to take her as your wife, for we do not see how you can do any better." The king believed them, and told count Henry to send him his daughter, and he would take her as his wife. The count willingly sent her to him, and the king married her. Their son was baptized Philip, and he was a very fine man, and their daughter was named Agnes. The son grew up, and when he reached the age of sixteen, the king his father saw that the child was wise and strong, and he knew that he himself was weak and old, little respected in his kingdom and scarcely feared by his enemies. It was his wish, and his advisers supported him in this, that his son be crowned at Rheims, and he had everything prepared that was proper for a royal coronation, and Philip was crowned at Rheims on All Saints' Day, in the year of the incarnation of Our Lord 1181, by his uncle, archbishop William Blanchemain. At the dinner, king Henry of England, on his knees, served him, and cut his food for him.
A little later, king Louis, his father, who was called God's Paw, lay down on his death bed, and submitted to death. He was given an elaborate burial, alongside his father, king Raoul le Justicier, in Saint Denis of France. King Philip then began to rule the land, and continually added to it, and this was certainly necessary, since he had no more than 60,000 pounds of income from the land he inherited.
Now I shall tell you of Henry Courtmantel, the eldest son of king Henry of England, who heard that king Philip had a lovely, refined sister. He asked his father to send to king Philip to ask for his sister, that he might marry her. The king replied that he would certainly do this, and he sent a letter, and ten fine, wise knights. They crossed the sea, and found king Philip at Monloon (Laon), and they greeted him in the name of king Henry, and they gave him the letter. The king had it read, and he understood it, and he told the emissaries that he would gladly send her. He had her outfitted splendidly, like the daughter of a king, and the sister of a king, and he gave her gold, silver, and many knights and young women. They took leave of the king and crossed the sea, coming to London, where they found king Henry, who made a great feast in honor of the arrival of the young woman. But his son, Henry Courtmantel, had not yet returned to England, for he was in Scotland, on important business.
Meanwhile, treacherous king Henry turned his attentions to the young woman, and lay with her. When Henry Courtmantel returned and discovered the truth about what had happened, he became so enraged that he took to his bed and died. The young woman was sent back beyond the sea, and arrived in Poitou, where she remained for a long time, not daring to show herself, because of her disgrace, to her brother, king Philip.
Now it happened that the count of Poitou died, and his son, a good-looking young man, who was a cleric, inherited the land of Poitou. He heard of this woman who had come to stay in his country, and he arranged to talk with her, and he finally offered to take her as his wife, if she were willing, and if her brother agreed to the match. After their conversation, the count did not forget the stick or the fire, but he went directly to king Philip, and said: "Sir, with your permission, I would like to take your sister as my wife, to be the countess of Poitou."
When the king heard him speak, he thought for a moment, and the replied: "By the lance of saint [ James, Philips' favorite oath, as other texts testify. ] I would be very pleased if you took her." The count left at once, well satisfied with the king's response, and he came to the lady, reporting that the king had agreed. Very pleased with him, she married the count, and became a very good, wise woman. She and the count loved each other, and they had a lovely, charming daughter, who was married to count Simon, the blood brother of count Renaud of Boulogne. They had three daughters, of whom one became queen of Spain, another the countess of Wales, and the third countess of Roucy.
At this point let us set aside the count and countess of Poitou, and return to king Philip, who was now twenty years old, and who had not yet forgotten the great shame that king Henry had inflicted upon his sister. One day he was at Beauvais, and king Henry was at Gerbroys, an abbey of black monks four leagues from Beauvais.
When king Philip learned this, he was very happy, because he thought that he might possibly take vengeance. He arranged for his knights and his people to eat early, had the horses fed, and, at vespers, he had his men arm themselves, without telling them what he was planning to do. They rode until they reached Gerbroys, where king Henry was lodged. Before he had gone to sleep, king Philip entered the room in which Henry was on his elbows (praying, presumably) on a bed.
When king Philip saw him, he drew his sword and ran at him directly, intending to cut his head open. A knight leaped between them, and deflected the blow. King Henry jumped up in fright, and fled into a bedroom, locking the door firmly. When king Philip saw that he had missed, he was very sorry, and he returned to Beauvais, because staying would do him no good.
When king Henry knew that it was king Philip who wanted to kill him, he said: "Ah, now I have lived too long, if this French brat, son of the wretched king, has come to kill me." King Henry jumped up, took a horse's bridle, went off in despair to rooms set aside for entertainment where, filled with anger, he strangled himself with the reins of the bridle.
When his entourage saw that the king was not with them, they looked everywhere, until they found him strangled to death, with the reins of the bridle around his neck. They were terribly shocked, and they took him, picked him up, and placed him in his bed. They told the people that he had died suddenly, but it doesn't often happen that such a thing happens to such a man without anyone knowing about it; what the entourage knows is not often kept hidden.
The body of the king was prepared for burial, and was carried to Rouen in Normandy, where it was buried in the mother church. Now I shall leave you to speak of king Henry, and I shall speak of his son king Richard, who arrived in the land. He was strong, brave, courtly, generous, and a fine knight, who participated in tourneys in the area between France and Poitou, where he did so well so often that everyone spoke well of him.
Let us, at this point, turn from king Richard, to speak of Amalric of Jerusalem, who died at this time, without an heir. The kingdom fell to one of his sisters, who was in the land of Jerusalem, and was married to lord Guy of Lusignan, who was a fine man, but not of royal lineage. Guy, of whom I am speaking, became king because the kingdom fell to his wife; he ruled for a while, like the fine man that he was, and the queen ruled like a fine woman.
It happened that the barons of that land, that is, the marquis of Montferrat, the count of Tripoli, the lord of Beirut, and the lord of Sidon, were jealous of king Guy, and they urged the patriarch of Jerusalem to take the kingdom from king Guy, because, they said, he was not worthy of being king. They did not do this in good faith, but because each wished to be king of Jerusalem. The patriarch agreed, and went to the queen, saying to her: "Lady, you should abandon your husband, for he is not sufficiently wise to hold and to govern the kingdom of Jerusalem."
When the queen heard the patriarch, she was much surprised, and she said to him: "Sir, how can I leave my husband, whom I have loyally married, and who is a fine man?" "Madam," he said, "you may easily do it, for if you do not, the kingdom will be destroyed, and will fall into the hands of the Saracens. See how wise and powerful Saladin is, who is only waiting for discord between you and your barons." "My God," said the queen, "you have responsibility for my soul, and are the apostle's vicar on this side of the sea, and you urge me neither to despise God nor my lord." "Lady," said the patriarch, you speak well, and we shall see in what way we can do better, so that things will turn out better for you."
It was decided by the barons that the queen would stand, on a certain day, in the church of the Holy Cross, which was the cathedral of Acre, and would hold the royal crown in her hand, and all the barons would surround her; he on whose head she placed the crown would become king. The king himself, who was her husband, was there also, and all the barons of the kingdom surrounded him. The queen was in the midst of them all, and she looked at them, and said: "My lord patriarch, and you, all noble barons, you have decided that the man on whose head I place the crown that I hold in my hand shall become king." They all replied that this was true.
"Now I want all of you to swear on the precious body of Our Lord, and you, sir patriarch, swear that you will never compel me to take another lord." The patriarch and all the barons swore to the oath devised by the queen, and she made a sign with her left hand, commended herself to God, and went directly to where she saw her lord, king Guy, and placed the crown on his head, saying to him: "Sir, I do not see here a great man more faithful than you, nor one who better deserves to be king of Jerusalem. I grant and bestow upon you the crown and the kingdom, as well as myself and my love."
When the patriarch and the barons who were present saw what the queen had done, they were very surprised, since each one thought that the crown would belong entirely to him. They quickly departed and held a treacherous meeting, which resulted in their telling king Saladin to meet them secretly, on a certain day in a certain place, for his advantage. Saladin, a wise and generous man, met them, and told them: "Gentlemen, you have asked me here; tell me your pleasure."
"Sir," replied the count of Tripoli, "we shall tell you. You know, of course, that king Amalric is dead; the kingdom is in the hands of his sister and her husband, who is not the kind of man who should control such a kingdom. The queen is not willing to follow our advice or that of the patriarch; if you are willing, we shall turn the land over to you, for the king is foolish and wretched, and has no power without us."
When Saladin heard these words, he was very pleased, and he said: "Gentlemen, if I were sure of you in this matter, I would give you more money from my coffers than you would ever dare to take." "Sir," said the count of Tripoli, "we are prepared to offer whatever security you wish." "By Mahomet, my God," said Saladin, "you speak well. You will all swear, on your law, and you will do more: we all shall make a pledge, and drink each other's blood, to establish an alliance, and we shall all be united."
Everything was done exactly as Saladin determined, and they all made their oaths together, drinking each other's blood. They agreed among themselves about the day on which Saladin would come before Acre, together with his army, but he would not show all of his people. Instead, he would challenge king Guy to fight. The traitors said that they would advise the king to fight, "and we shall promise to aid him loyally. When we are all ready to fight, we shall lower our banners, and remain still, and you will be easily able to do what you wish to do with the king and his people."
As soon as the meeting to organize this mortal betrayal ended, Saladin went back to his own country, and the traitors returned to their lands. Saladin secretly summoned his army, and set out for Acre. When king Guy learned of his approach, he became very worried, and he had letters written, and he sent them to all of his barons and his liege-men, and to all those who could bear arms. He assembled as many men as he could, but they were not equal to the army that Saladin had assembled in two divisions.
When the barons of the land of Tyre had assembled before Acre, king Guy came to them and said: "Gentlemen, I have come to you, to ask, in the name of God, and because it is your duty, that you give me loyal advice, to defend and uphold the kingdom of Jerusalem. For you see that Saladin is here with a great many men, and I am but a single man. Such as I am, I am your lord, and you are all my men and my vassals. Therefore all my trust is placed in you, and I very much want you to know that I wish to put all of my trust in your advice."
The count of Tripoli, who had plotted all of this treachery, replied: "Sir, your words are wise, and we are all ready to defend the kingdom, ourselves, you, and our honor, and we shall behave in such a way that neither God nor the world could ask more of us." When the king heard the count of Tripoli speak like this, he was very glad, and he went back to his tents, and prepared his men as well as he could. The barons came to speak to him frequently, showing excessive signs of love, and they said to him: "Sir, have no fear, were there twice as many on the other side, they would not be able to defeat us."
Trusting their words, the king waited until Saladin, three leagues from Acre, offered to fight him. The king said that he would consider it, and he sent for the count of Tripoli, the marquis of Montferrat, the lord of Beirut, the lord of Sidon, the guardian of Ascalon, and other barons of whose names I have no record. He said to them: "Gentlemen, I have sent for you because I wish to tell you that Saladin has challenged me to fight on saint John the Baptist's Day. I wish to consult with you about what to do, for I wish to do nothing without your assent. By God, advise me and yourselves in good faith, since his behavior towards me and towards you will be the same, and I have great faith in you."
The count of Tripoli, who was the highest ranking of them all, and the best speaker, replied to him: "Sir, I advise you to fight him, for I have no doubt whatsoever that you will be victorious. We are in the right, and he is in the wrong, and we have God on our side, and they do not." When the count of Tripoli had spoken, all the other traitors replied, saying: "Sir, the count of Tripoli gives you good advice, and we all agree with him." "By God," said the king, "since you are all in agreement, I shall not disagree."
Then the emissaries sent by Saladin were summoned, and they were told and assured that the fight would take place on the day requested. The emissaries left and returned to Saladin, and told him that king Guy and the barons of Tyre had agreed to fight. When the day for the fight arrived, the armies approached each other, and joined battle. The archers began to fire at each other, and there were many wounded and killed, and Saladin's archers retreated.
When Saladin saw this, he shouted to his men, and had the horns and trumpets sounded. The Turks roused themselves, cried out, and pushed forward against the Christians. The king and those around him gave them a hearty welcome, and many Saracens were struck, beaten, and killed. When Saladin saw the defeat of his first squadron, he was enraged, and sent forward the group he had kept hidden. They all struck together, surrounding them on all sides, so that none of them could move from the spot.
When king Guy saw himself surrounded, it was no miracle that he was frightened. He took heart, however, and cried out: "Holy Sepulchre!" and struck out among the Saracens, killing and striking down so many that all who caught sight of him laid down their arms and surrendered. Saladin then cried out, saying, "Count of Tripoli, count of Tripoli, keep your oath!" When the count heard Saladin, he had his banners lowered, as did all the other traitors, and none of them moved forward. When king Guy perceived his barons' treachery, his heart was in agony, and he said: "Ah, dear lord God, I am one of your servants, and am here on your errand, to defend Christianity. Lord, help us in our need, for I know that my barons have betrayed me."
Then he and his men struck out among them, and fought marvelously, but in vain, because there were too many Saracens, and his barons were weak. The king and all of his party were captured, and brought to prison in Babylon, and the traitors returned to their lands, and Saladin sent them much gold and silver. Saladin entered Acre, and there was no one to defend it, for all the defenders had been captured or killed, and the queen was in Tyre. The warden of Tyre guarded the city, and the queen had no power. The truth is that Saladin conquered all the land that the Christians had held, except for Tyre, for they were never able to take Tyre.
Here let us turn from king Guy, who was in prison in Babylon, in great distress, and speak of Saladin, than whom no better Saracen ever put a foot in a stirrup. One day he was in Babylon, and he commanded that king Guy be brought before him, and he said to him: "King, now I have you, and I am going to have your head cut off." "Of course," said the king, it is your right and I have deserved it, because it is my fault that the land beyond the seas has been lost, and Christianity dishonored."
"By Mahomet," said Saladin, "that is not true. It is the fault of your barons who betrayed you and took my gold and my silver. I know very well that you are a fine, brave knight, and I shall be generous to you; I shall give you twenty knights, together with their horses, with arms and food, and you may do the best you can." Then Saladin had all the prisoners brought before him, and he said to the king: "Now take the twenty that you want." The king chose the twenty best and most faithful knights, and Saladin supplied them with arms, horses, and food, and they were brought to the gates of Tyre.
The king told the guardian of Tyre to open the gates and let him in, and the guardian told him that he could not enter, nor did he consider him his lord. When the king knew that he could not enter, he had his tent pitched, and remained there a while, unable to do anything. When the queen knew that her lord had set up camp in the field and could not enter the city, she was very unhappy, and she went to the guardian of Tyre and said to him: "Why, sir, why don't you let the king our lord enter, as you should?" "Be quiet, madam," said the guardian, I can do nothing for you, and if you speak about this any more, I shall make you very uncomfortable." Understanding that she had no power, the queen was silent, and went to her room, to think about what she might do.
She decided in her heart to order her women to let down a rope at night from the battlements. When a long, strong rope, that reached to the ground, had been prepared, she and one of her women climbed down. At the sixth hour they reached the tent of the king, who was asleep, and she woke him. When the king saw her, he was very happy, and they took great pleasure in each other, as a fine man and a fine woman should. The next day, when what the queen had done became known, she was much praised for what she had done. The king and the queen, together with their people, remained encamped before Tyre. His suffering there was great, for he could do nothing, but Saladin sent him bread, wine, and other foods, as he had agreed to do.
Here we shall turn from king Guy and his queen (may God protect them!), who have suffered much, and we shall tell you of the apostle Lucien, who lived at that time, and who received letters from the patriarch, telling him that the lands beyond the seas had been entirely lost to the king of Tyre. He was very much disturbed by this, and quickly sent legates to France, England, Germany, and all the lands under Roman authority, to preach a crusade. The legates were fine men and learned clerics, and they showed God's need clearly, and the people were pious, and eagerly took the cross.
King Philip took the cross, king Richard as well, count Philip of Flanders, count Henry of Champagne, the count of Blois, and many other nobles whose names are not given in my text. They prepared themselves well and at great expense, and embarked upon the sea in 54 ships, and sailed smoothly until they arrived at Tyre on a Wednesday morning. They disembarked, pitched their tents and pavilions, and laid siege to the city by land and sea.
When the guardian understood the situation, and saw that so many great lords had come to lay siege to the city, he told them that he would give Tyre up to them, on condition that they spare his life. King Philip and the other princes told him that they would do nothing of the kind, and if he did not give the city up within three days, he would have no chance to escape. When the guardian heard these words, he was very frightened, and he said that he would surrender the city, and put himself at the king's disposal. Thus the king gained entrance, and the city was surrendered, and the guardian was imprisoned for life.
All of the barons then consulted with each other, and they decided that they would go to lay siege to Acre, and they affirmed by oath that they would not leave until it had been taken. They quickly took down their pavilions and their tents, packed all their gear, and marched to Acre, where they pitched their tents and their pavilions. King Richard wanted to have the best location, and he received it, because he was the most powerful man, and had made the most costly preparations. He had more sterling to spend than the king of France had sous. They attacked the walls of the city many times, with catapults and battering rams, to no avail, for the Saracens burned their catapults and battering rams with Greek fire. Keep in mind the fact that king Philip never participated in the assault.
Thus the whole winter was spent without success. King Richard went to the islands to enjoy himself, and to see the ladies. King Philip did otherwise; he had many machines made beyond the sea, which were brought by boat before Acre, where they were set up quickly. They were all protected by lead against Greek fire, and they began to hurl large, flaming stones, which destroyed those whom they struck.
The Saracens became frightened, and the guardian of Acre, who was Saladin's man, sent a very old, wise Saracen to the top of the battlements, together with an interpreter, who pointed out to him the tents and pavilions of the leading barons, whom he named, and he said: "Sir, there is the tent of king Richard, and there the tent of count Philip of Flanders, and the tent of count Henry of Champagne, and all the tents of the other barons." The Saracen looked and saw the machines of king Philip, and said: "Who is that with those machines?" The interpreter replied: "those are the machines of king Philip of France." The Saracen said: "By Mahomet, we shall lose Acre because of these machines."
The next morning king Philip launched a powerful assault, and Bad Neighbor [The name of a siege-machine] launched a powerful stone; at each blow a section of the wall collapsed. The other barons followed suit, except for king Richard, who was on the island of Cyprus. Their assault and barrage was so powerful that those within the city could not resist them; Christians entered on all sides, and the city was taken. Many Saracens were killed and decapitated, and many were found dead of disease, rotting in the streets. King Philip then announced that the city should be cleaned of Saracen bodies, and the king's orders were carried out. Acre was free, and king Guy and the queen were restored to their power, as lords and masters.
Now let us speak of king Richard, who was in Cyprus, where he received news from Acre that it had been captured. Almost out of his mind with rage, he went to Acre as quickly as he could, with envy and criminal intentions in his heart, because he knew that Acre had been conquered by king Philip. One day it happened that sir William of Barres was riding through Acre, and king Richard was also riding through the city. They met, and king Richard struck him with the truncheon of a long spear that he was holding, intending to knock him from his saddle.
The Barrois held fast, for he was an experienced knight, and he seized the king, as he tried to pass him, by the neck; spurring his own horse, he dragged the king from his saddle by brute strength, and then let go. Richard fell to the ground so painfully that his heart almost burst. For a long time he lay there stunned, without detectable pulse or breath. The Barrois quickly left, and went to the king's lodgings, where he told them of Richard's condition. When the king heard of this, he was troubled, and he had his men arm themselves, for he was very worried about King Richard.
When king Richard recovered from his coma, he had his Englishmen arm themselves, and he went to attack the quarters of king Philip. However, he did not find him surprised or unprepared, but instead, the king's men defended themselves well and vigorously, and there were many arrows launched and blows struck. Then count Henry and many other barons arrived, and they established a truce of three days, and in that time the matter was settled.
King Richard was very much disturbed that king Philip had won the honor of taking Acre, and he began to hate him, particularly because he had killed his father. He tried, with bribes, to poison the king, but by God's mercy he failed. When king Richard saw that he had failed, he approached the count of Flanders, the count of Champagne, and the count of Blois, and gave them so much of his sterling that they swore to kill Philip. They plotted how to kill him, but God, who never forgets his own people, sent an illness to count Philip, which caused his death. When he felt that he was dying, he sent for his godson, king Philip, and said to him:
"Dear godson, hang a rope and tie it around my neck, and have me drawn through all the streets of Acre, for I have deserved such treatment." When the king heard him speak like this, he thought that that the count had gone mad, and he said to him: "Dear godfather, what are you saying?" "In the name of God, I know very well what I am saying; be sure you understand, dear godson, that I have sworn to kill you, and so have your nephew, count Henry, and the count of Blois. Understand also that, unless you leave here immediately, you will be betrayed and killed." "Ah," said the king, "dear godfather, why did you agree to this?" "In the name of God, dear godson, they would have killed me otherwise."
Greatly disturbed, the king left the count, and thought all night long about what he should do. He decided to call all the knights to a dinner at his court three days later. He prepared a great feast, as was appropriate for a king's court, but he did not forget what count Philip had told him. Secretly he prepared his ships, putting aboard everything that was necessary, and the next day, he and his men embarked.
When count Henry heard that the king had left, he got into a boat, and went after him. He caught up to him, because he had not gone a great distance, and he said to him: "Dear lord, fine cousin, will you leave me behind in this foreign country?" The king replied to him: "Yes, by St. James' lance, you foul traitor, you will never return to Champagne, neither you nor your heir." Count Henry then returned to Acre, came to king Richard, and said to him: "Sir, we are dishonored and destroyed, for the king has left for France, and he has found out, through count Philip, that we have been treacherous; you may be certain that he will destroy us all." Then they sent for the count of Blois, and they discussed what they would say to count Philip.
During their discussion, word was brought to them of the count's death, and they were shocked. His body was prepared and brought to church, and he was given the exequies appropriate for a great lord, and buried in the square of the church of Saint Nicholas. The king, count Henry, and the count of Blois returned, entered a room, and discussed what they should do. "By my life," said the English king, "I shall return to England, and as soon as I get there, I shall start a royal war." "In the name of God," said the count of Blois, "I shall return to France, and ask the king's mercy." "By God," said count Henry, "I shall remain in this land, for I know for certain that I have lost my heritage."
King Richard prepared his ships and embarked upon the sea, heading, as best he could, in the direction of Germany, and he reached port. With his own entourage he went overland, traveling as far as Austria, where, when he realized that he had been noticed and recognized, he disguised himself as a servant, and went into the kitchen to prepare capons. A spy went and told the duke who, when he had been informed, sent many knights from his own entourage to overwhelm him. The king was captured and placed in a strong castle, and his entire entourage was placed in another. The king was taken from one castle to another, to keep everyone except the duke in the dark about his whereabouts.
Here we shall turn from king Richard in prison, and tell you about the count of Blois, who had embarked on the sea, reaching Marseilles, with full sail. He was caught in a great storm, so great that it seemed that the ship would be lifted to the clouds, and then it was dropped so deep that it seemed to fall into an abyss, and all the while it was in sight of land. When the count of Blois saw these remarkable events, he had a dinghy launched, and got into it, together with one-fourth of his entourage. Scarcely were they afloat, when the storm dashed them against a rock and shattered the dinghy. The count and all those with him were killed, and the storm abated, and the boat reached the safety of the harbor.
Now we shall tell you about count Henry, who had remained in Acre. News was brought to him that the king of Cyprus had died, and his sole remaining survivor was a daughter. He asked for her hand in marriage, and she was willingly granted to him because of his aristocratic rank. Thus he became king of Cyprus, and he had two daughters, of whom the eldest became the queen of Cyprus. The other daughter became the wife of Erard of Rameru (Brienne), who foolishly thought to obtain the county of Champagne because of the marriage.
The king of Cyprus now came to Acre, and wished to borrow money from a burgher, whom he drew aside to talk next to a window, which functioned both as a gate and as a window; it opened from the outside, and was closed, but not locked. When he leaned on it, the gate opened, and the king fell and broke his neck. His knights and entourage ran down and tended to him, finding that he had broken his neck. They were deeply grieved, and carried the king's body to Cyprus, where he was buried.
Here we shall leave king Henry of Cyprus, and return to king Guy and his wife, the good queen, who remained in the land of Tyre. Of the entire kingdom of Jerusalem, only Tyre, Acre, and Beirut remained under their rule; they lost nothing and they acquired nothing. In this condition they lived forty years; king Guy then died, and a short time later, the queen died, having left no heirs of their own blood. The barons of the kingdom assembled, and elected a king, who held the kingdom exactly as king Guy had held it, until the day he died. This king produced a daughter, who married king John, as you will hear later.
Now let us return to king Philip, who escaped the perils of the sea. When he was in greatest danger, thinking that with the next surge, at the next moment, he would perish, as the waves seemed to carry his ship to the clouds, and then down into the abyss, in the dark of the night, the king, firm in his belief in God, asked the sailors what was the time, and they replied that it was about midnight. Then the king said: "Rest assured that we are protected, for my friends of the Cistercian order have gotten up to sing matins and to pray for us."
Then the disturbance subsided, and the sea became still and peaceful. However, the king was not on his guard about drinking what the traitors had prepared for him to drink, but, thank God, the poison was not fatal. He tore his feet and his hands and all of his skin with his nails, and was sick for a whole year, before his health returned, and he was hale and healthy again. The barons of France came to him and said: "Sir, it would be a good idea for you to marry now." "Certainly," said the king, "it is my wish and my desire, and I wish to follow your advice."
"By God," said archbishop William, who was his uncle, "count Philip of Flanders is dead, and his land has fallen to his brother, count Baldwin. I know of no man in France wealthier or more well-born than he, and he has a sister, who is beautiful, graceful, and wise, and I would advice you to take her as your wife." "Sir," said the other barons, "your uncle is giving you good advice." "By God," said the king, "I agree." Two of them were then chosen to go to count Baldwin, and they found him at Lille in Flanders, where he was holding a great meeting of his barons.
The emissaries quickly dismounted, entered the hall, and greeted the count, delivering the king's letter to him. The count received the letter and gave it to the bishop of Arras, who was next to him. The bishop read the letter and explained it to the count, who called his men, entered a room, and said to them: "Gentlemen, the king of France has asked me to grant him my sister's hand in marriage." "Sir," said his men, "the king does you a very great honor, and we advise you to give her to him, together with as much land as he asks of you." The count replied that he would do so.
He came out of the room, and said to the king's emissaries: "Gentlemen, after careful consideration, I have willingly decided to do what the king asks." "Sir," said the emissaries, "you speak wisely. Now we shall tell you what the king requests. He tells you that he wants, together with your sister, the county of Artois, that is, Arras and Peronne, Bapaumes, Saint Omer, Aire, Hesdin, and all the counties that she holds." The count replied that he would willingly give them, and more if the king wished.
The emissaries took leave of the count and departed, and traveled by stages until they reached Paris, where the king and his advisers were. They gave the king greetings from count Baldwin of Flanders, and they said: "Sir, the count willingly and gladly welcomed us, and did us much honor for your sake, and we delivered your letter to him, and when he had taken counsel with the men who were there with him, he spoke to us, and he said: "Gentlemen, I thank your king very much for the honor that he has sent to me; I willingly grant to my lord the king my sister, and the county of Artois, and more if he wishes, and all my barons are of the same opinion." In response, archbishop William replied, saying to the king: "Sir, all that remains is to carry out the task."
The king immediately had a letter written, informing the count that he would marry his sister at Amiens, twenty-one days hence, and that the count should bring her there. What the king ordered was done, and the lady was brought there splendidly, with a great company, and count Baldwin held a fine reception. The king came to Amiens and married the woman, whose name was Isabel, and there was a great celebration throughout Amiens. After remaining in the city three days, the king went back to France, bringing the queen to Paris, where she was received with great respect. Between the king and the queen there was marvelous love, and they had a son who was baptized Louis. Louis was strong, brave, and a fighter, with the heart of a lion, but he was never without pain and sickness as long as he lived.
From this point on we shall tell you about king Richard, whom the duke of Austria held in prison; no one knew of his whereabouts except the duke and his advisers. It happened that the king had brought up from his youth a minstrel whose name was Blondel, who decided to search through every land for some news about him. He set about traveling through foreign countries for a year and a half, and could find no true report about the king.
By chance he entered Austria and came directly to the castle in which the king was being held prisoner. He stayed with a widow, and asked her to whom the fine, strong, well-situated castle belonged, and she replied that it belonged to the duke of Austria. "Lovely hostess," Blondel said, "are there any prisoners in the castle?" "Yes," she said, "there is one, who has been there four [Richard was captured in December, 1192, and released in May 1194. The Minstrel's arithmetic is clearly unreliable.] years, but we do not know who he is. I tell you they certainly guard him well and carefully; we believe that he is a gentleman and a great lord."
When Blondel heard these words, he was very glad, and it seemed to him in his heart that he had found the man for whom he had been looking, but he showed no signs of this to his hostess. That night he slept very well, and he awoke at daybreak. When he heard the guard sound reveille, he arose and went to the church, to ask for God's help. Then he went to the castle, and spoke with the chatelain, saying that he was a minstrel, and would very much like to stay with him if he was willing. The chatelain was a young, good-looking knight, who said that he would willingly keep Blondel with him.
Delighted, Blondel went to get his vielle and his instruments. His services pleased the chatelain and everyone else in the castle very much, and Blondel remained the entire winter in the castle, without being able to find out who the prisoner was. One day, during Easter, while he was walking alone in the garden near the tower, Blondel looked around him, thinking that he might, by chance, see the prisoner. As he was doing this, the king looked through an archer's slot, and saw Blondel. He thought about how to make him recognize him, and he remembered a song that they had made up together, which only the two of them knew.
He began to sing the opening words loudly and clearly, for he sang very well, and when Blondel heard him, he knew certainly that this was his lord. In his heart he felt greater joy than he had ever felt, and he left the garden, and went to his room, where he reclined, picked up his vielle, and began to play, singing of his joy at having found his lord. Blondel stayed until Pentecost, making sure that no one within the castle knew what he was trying to do.
Then Blondel went to the chatelain and said to him: "Sir, please, I would very much like to go back to my own country, for I have been away a long time." "Blondel, dear brother, you will not do this if you have faith in me; stay, and I shall do fine things for you." "Certainly, sir, I must not stay." When the chatelain saw that he could not keep him, he granted him leave to depart, and gave him a horse and a new garment.
After leaving the chatelain, Blondel proceeded by stages to England, where he told the king's friends and barons that he had found the king, and he told them where he was. When they heard the news, they were overjoyed, for the king was the most generous man who ever spurred a horse. They decided to send emissaries to the duke to ransom the king, and, for the expedition, they chose two of the wisest, most valiant knights.
They made their way to Austria, where they found the duke at his castle, and they greeted him on behalf of the barons of England, and they said to him: "Sir, we have been sent here by the barons of England, and we have learned that you hold king Richard prisoner. Sir, they ask and beg that you accept ransom, and they will give you a very satisfying sum." The duke replied that he would take the matter under advisement, and when he had done so, he told them: "Gentlemen, if you wish to take him, you will have to give 200,000 marks sterling [150,000 marks in other texts]. Do not go back on your word, for that would be wasted effort."
The emissaries took leave, and told the barons what he had said, and they discussed the matter. They returned to England, and told the barons what the duke had said, and they said that there would be no delay. They got the ransom ready, and had it taken to the duke, and the duke released the king, and he made the king give security that he would do him no harm.
King Richard was brought back, and welcomed in England with great honor, but his land was much weakened by the ransom, as were the churches, for they had to give up their chalices, using instead chalices of tin and wood when they sang mass. One night, king Richard lay in bed, unable to sleep, and a cruel, painful thought came to him; he remembered his father, king Henry, who strangled himself with the reins of his horse's bridle, out of anger towards king Philip, who had attacked him with drawn sword at Gerberoy.
He recalled his capture and the ransom that the duke of Austria had taken, following the orders and directions of king Philip, and he grew so angry and outraged in his heart that he said and swore that he would never rest until he had taken vengeance. When day broke, he arose and went to hear mass, then sent for his barons to consult with them, and he told them what he thought.
The barons and councilors replied to him that this was an atrocity, and he would do well to make a change, and he might rest assured that they were prepared to help him with their bodies and with what they possessed, and that they would be stronger than king Philip, both in friends and in land. When king Richard understood that he had the heart-felt support of his barons, he was extremely pleased. He had a letter written, with his seal, offering a challenge to king Philip, and he let him know that he would not consider him his lord or his friend. Furthermore, he let the king know that he would come to see him in a few days, in his own land, but that Philip was not man enough to see him.
He entrusted the letters to a wise knight, who took them from the king's hands, and went by sea and by land to Orleans, where king Philip was. Without giving him a greeting, he handed him the letters, saying to him: "Sir, king Richard of England sends you these letters; please give me your reaction, because I do not wish to remain here long."
The king directed the bishop of Orleans, who was next to him, to open the letters, and to read them. When he had read them, he said to the king: "Sir, king Richard sends you a challenge, and says that he will come to see you in a few days, in your own country, but you are not man enough to see him."
When the king heard king Richard's message, he thought for a while, and then said: "God, Our Lord, who is all powerful, may help us. Tell your lord that if he comes into our land to do harm, we shall be there to meet him with as many men as we can assemble."
Without taking his leave, the knight departed, and crossed the sea. He found king Richard at London, with his higher nobility, and he said to him: "Sir, I have been in France, and I found king Philip at Orleans, and I gave him your letter. He had it read, and he told me that if you enter his land intending to do harm, he will be there, in the forefront, with as many men as he can get together." These were the words they had been waiting for.
King Richard had many boats, tents, and pavilions constructed, for he had great resources in these areas. He prepared for the great undertaking while waiting for the spring. King Philip did not forget the stick or the fire, but he had his castles and borders fortified, and he gathered wine, food, and men to defend himself and his land, for he had great respect for king Richard's ability and courage.
Spring came, and early in the month of May king Richard embarked upon the sea, with all his knights. They had a favoring wind and good weather, and they reached Dieppe, a port in Normandy which belonged to the English. After disembarking from the ships, they reached Rouen, which was fourteen leagues from the port, and they stayed there a month to rest and to make preparations. King Richard then ordered the army to march to Gisors, one of his castles, which was well fortified and well situated, seven leagues from Beauvais.
When they reached Beauvais, they remained two days, and on the third day, king Richard ordered the vanguard to march forward, with the scouts out front. Then you might have seen soldiers, men on foot and on horse, spreading out through the area around Beauvais, carrying off bulls, cows, pigs, sheep, ducks, capons, hens, cart-horses and plow-horses, and bringing them behind the army, outside Gisors, where it was bivouaced, doing all the damage they could throughout the land and countryside. For a long time they did whatever they wished outside the fortresses, for no one prevented them. News of this was reported everywhere, and king Philip heard about it. He was told that king Richard was at Gisors with all of his nobles, burning and looting all the land around Beauvais.
When the king heard about this, he was very angry, and he sent for the count of Chartres, the count of Vendome, the count of Nevers, the count of Sancerre, who was a fine man, and the vidame of Chateadun, and sir Guillaume des Barres, and sir Alain of Roucy, and many other fine men who are not here named. He told them of the damage done by king Richard, who was supposed to be his vassal, and he asked their advice about what to do. "Sir," said the count of Sancerre, "by your leave, we who are here shall take your part, and go to Beauvais to see what is going on. With God's support, the English will do us no further damage."
The king told them to prepare themselves as quickly as possible, and he had them given money for wagons. When their arms and horses were ready, they went directly to Beauvais, and waited there. Breaking up into vanguard and rear-guard, they rode towards Gisors, and those at Gisors rode up to face them. They skirmished for a while, with some gains and some losses, and then left; each day they did the same.
King Richard sent a message to the counts of Sancerre and of Barre, telling them that they took the king's bread and gave him nothing in return but if they were brave enough to come to the elm tree at Gisors, he would consider them truly courageous. The French nobles sent the message back that they would come the next day, at the third hour, to cut the tree down, in spite of him. When the English king heard that they were coming to cut down the tree, he had the trunk reinforced with bands of iron, that were wrapped five times around it.
The next morning the French nobles armed themselves, and assembled five squadrons of their men, one of which was led by the count of Sancerre, another by the count of Chartres, the third by the count of Vendome, the fourth by the count of Nevers, and the fifth by sir William of Barre and sir Alain of Roucy. The rode up to the elm tree at Gisors, with the crossbowmen and carpenters out front, and they had in their hands sharp axes and good pointed hammers, with which to cut the bands that were fastened around the tree. They stopped at the elm tree, tore off the bands, and cut it down, in spite of all resistance.
Meanwhile, however, king Richard was not asleep. He had prepared five squadrons also, and he attacked the French vigorously, like the brave knight that he was. He received a fine welcome from the king's men, and lances were broken, and many men killed and knocked down. They drew their swords and fought hand-to-hand, and many fell on both sides. King Richard performed wonderful deeds, striking down knights and horses, tearing helms from heads and shields from necks, terrifying the king's men with his prowess.
On the other side, Barrois did well, striking to the ground every knight he met; no one dared to face him, but instead retreated when they saw him. King Richard watched him performing so well, and was envious, for he had hated his achievements at arms for a long time. He took up a long lance, and cried out to him: "Barrois, Barrois, you have ridden too long." When Barrois heard him, he recognized him, and took a long, stout, sharp lance from his squire, and spurred his horse against the king, and the king spurred his horse in response.
The meeting of their bodies and horses made the earth shake, and they struck each other's armor so powerfully that the straps of their equipment broke and they fell to the ground over the cruppers of the horses, with their saddles between their thighs. They leaped up, unsheathed their swords, and ran at each other, striking powerful blows on each other's helmets and shields. Neither could have won had the battle lasted long. After more exchanges on both sides, both sides remounted and left the field, returning to their quarters, because night was approaching.
The next day, after king Richard had heard mass, an emissary, who had ridden hard, came into the room and asked for the king. When he was shown where the king was, he went up to him and greeted him, saying: "Sir, the count of Gloucester, whom you left in charge of England, is dead, and your people are frightened, for the kings of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales have invaded your kingdom, and are doing you great harm. For God's sake, sir, offer your wisdom, as you should, like the lord and king that you are."
The king heard the emissary, and was so angry that he could hardly contain himself. He called his advisers and his most valiant, wisest barons, and he asked their advice. They replied that there was nothing else for him to do but go quickly to England, bringing with him whatever amount of men would be necessary; the others should remain here, guarding the castle, and battling the French king's men. "And we shall make them spend the king's money." "By God," said the king, "you speak well." The king then left his advisers, prepared his expedition the next day, picking his best barons, and went off to England. He found his country disturbed and frightened, like people without a lord.
At this point we shall turn from king Richard to king Philip, who had received from the count of Sancerre, the leader of the army, letters telling him that king Richard had gone to England, together with the best of his barons. The king thought that the time was ripe, and he had letters written sent to all his vassals, telling them to come to Beauvais fully armed, within a month. None of them delayed, but all appeared within a month, and they found the king there already. He made up a vanguard and a rear-guard of fine knights and archers to lead the army, and in the morning they came before Gisors, pitching their tents and pavilions around the castle, a crossbow's shot from the tower.
Those inside the castle came out, and gave them as much trouble as they could, but without results, because they were outnumbered by the king's forces, and they had no aid. Thus the French were in position, and the next morning the king ordered the siege-engines brought up; the assault weapons, catapults, battering rams, and covered galleries went to work furiously. As a result, in a short time the besieged were so sorely pressed, night and day, that they did not know what was happening, or what to do. So many had been killed that scarcely one third of them remained unharmed.
When the leader of those inside Gisors saw that they were all going to die, he sent a message to king Philip, after consulting with his people, and he told him that the castle would be surrendered in a month if he had no help from king Richard. The king agreed, taking as a hostage the son of the chatelain. He halted the work of the siege-engines, and the chatelain sent a message to England, asking king Richard to come and help him, because he had very few men, and he would have to surrender the castle in a month.
When the king heard the message from the chatelain, he was extremely angry, and he quickly ordered letters to be written, telling the chatelain that he could not reach him by that date, but that he should, for God's sake, hold on, for he would help him as soon as he could. While the truce was on, the king sent some of his men to Nior, a strong, well-situated castle, which belonged to the English king. They arrived so secretly that those within the castle did not notice them, and they were so surprised that when the king's men broke in, the castle was captured immediately, and the defenders seized and imprisoned. When king Philip heard this, he was so pleased that no one could restrain him.
Meanwhile, the emissaries sent by the chatelain to England returned, and the chatelain heard his lord's reply to the letter he had sent. He saw clearly that he would not receive help from his lord, and therefore he surrendered the castle of Gisors to noble, powerful king Philip. The king had the castle provided with good men and with whatever they needed, and then he left, traveling through Normandy, where he did what he wished outside of the fortresses. Meanwhile, king Richard finished his war against his enemies, and was reconciled with them.
As quickly as he could, he went to Normandy, arriving one evening at Dieppe. The next day he had his people armed before dawn, to set out to where the king was. King Philip was out riding with his entourage, having taken no precautions, since he thought that king Richard was still in England. The peasants, however, have a proverb: "In a barrel of thought there is not a cup full of wisdom." Even though king Philip was the wisest prince in the world, it often happens that a wise man does something very foolish, for he did not have the Barrois with him. Instead he had Alain de Roucy, who detested the Barrois, who in turn detested him.
Sir Alain looked ahead of him, and saw, less than two leagues distant, a thick crowd of barons, to the left and to the right, across the land. He came to the king and said to him: "Sir, I see many banners, and we are in a land at war; we should arm ourselves, believe me, for king Richard is a great knight, and highly capable at war." "By the lance of saint James," said the king, "I have never seen you behave like a coward until now." "By my life," said sir Alain, "I shall not say another word." [Alain is clearly playing Oliver to the king's Roland in this dialogue]
The king looked before him, and he saw the banners approaching him, and the land was filled with people. He called to lord Alain and said to him: "Alain, as you advised me, our men should arm themselves." Sir Alain replied to the king: "Cutting should be done at the right time. Sir, you may be absolutely sure that this is king Richard, and I tell you that we shall all certainly be captured. Do the right thing now; get on the fastest horse you have and go to Gisors, which is near here, and make sure that you are safely inside. I shall stay here, wearing your arms, and we shall do the best we can."
The king mounted a strong, fast horse, and raced off to Gisors. He was seen by the vanguard, and more than 200 of them ran after him, but they were armed, and he was unarmed, and on a better mount than any they had. He rode off at top speed to Gisors, where he was quickly taken in, and sir Alain de Roucy remained, wearing the arms of the king, and he divided whatever men he had into two squadrons, and sent them into battle.
King Richard and his men now attacked, and the few men of king Philip who were there fought back vigorously, defending themselves remarkably well. Their valiant efforts, however, were in vain, for there were only a few of them against the English, and king Richard was a very fine knight in a battle. King Philip's men were finally defeated, and sir Alain, wearing the king's arms, was captured.
When king Richard saw him, he cried out: "In the name of God, king, I have caught you." "You certainly have not," said sir Alain; "instead, you have caught sir Alain of Roucy, a poor vavasour." "What the devil!" said the king, "are you Alain? By saint Thomas, I thought that I had caught the king himself. Ah, God, if we have missed the king, do we have the Barrois?" "Indeed not," said sir Alain, "for he is not here. Had he been here, you may be certain that you all would have been captured or killed." This speech was reported to the Barrois, who hated him very much, but, by means of this speech, they were reconciled.
King Richard, with all of his prisoners, departed, and went to Vernon, one of his castles, which was very beautiful, and well-situated on the Seine. He distributed his prisoners among his castles, keeping sir Alain with him, bringing him with him to Rouen, where he remained for a while.
Now I shall tell you of king Philip, who was at Gisors, where he told his nobility to assemble. He returned to France and remained there for a while. King Richard, who was at Rouen, was very unhappy that he had lost Gisors and Nior (Deux-Sevres). He took part of his men and sent them into the border areas to pillage and ravage the countryside, while he led the other part to a castle on the border that belonged to king Philip, and he laid siege to it.
He spent a long time besieging it, guarding the roads so that no messengers could get out of the castle. When he finally took the castle by force, he had one hand cut off of each crossbowman, and an eye gouged out from each ordinary soldier. He demanded ransom for the knights, and let them go after a while. When king Philip learned of this, he was very troubled, but there was nothing that he could do at this time, for he was seriously ill and was unable to recover for a year and a half.
Let us return now to king Richard, who now had a free hand to do whatever he wished in the French countryside. He captured booty and peasants, and made so much trouble that throughout the borderland, and beyond, no sowing or reaping could take place. The French fortresses, however, were so well supplied with good men, wine, and food, and whatever else was necessary, that they were not overly concerned about king Richard, although he pressed them so closely that they could not move from where they were.
At this time he was told that the king of Spain had besieged Riole and Brai Gerart, two of his good towns. When he heard this news, he lowered his head, and said that, as the soul of his father was dear to him, he would delay no longer; the king of Spain had awakened the sleeping cat, and the proverb was correct that said, "an uncomfortable goat scratches quite a bit." King Richard then summoned his vassals, assembled a large army, and embarked upon the sea, sailing to Bayonne, a city that is located in Gascony, on the sea.
They remained there eight days; on the ninth day the English king ordered the army to march, and to invade, as quickly as possible, the land of the king of Spain. They set the whole countryside aflame, took booty, lay waste fields, vineyards, and gardens, and destroyed everything they could get their hands on. For fourteen days they did this, before the king of Spain heard of what was happening. One who had observed king Richard's army came directly to la Riole, where the king of Spain was, together with his army, and said to him: "Sir, things are going badly; king Richard has arrived in Bayonne with all of his people, and you may be certain that he has done you great harm, for he has burned and destroyed everything outside of the fortresses, nor has anyone put up any resistance."
When the king heard these unpleasant words, he planned to fight, for he knew that king Richard was strong and brave, and he would leave him nothing as his own. However, he thought that king Philip had kept him so busy that he could not have moved, but, as the saying goes, "Thinking and hoping are two fools." King Ferrand of Spain withdrew, summoned his advisers, and said to them: "Gentlemen, give me your advice, for I have great need of it. King Richard has invaded my land, and I know that he is arrogant, and if he gets his hands on me, I won't get away alive, or, at the very least, I will end up a prisoner."
"By God," his barons and advisers said, "you will not find a man among us who will abandon you. Summon your nobles, of whom there are many, and send help. Spend all your resources, and anyone who holds back will be alone. You will have twice the number of men that you have here, and in your own country, your forces will grow steadily." They all agreed upon this plan, and the king had letters written and sent quickly throughout his land. Everyone came on the appointed day; when king Richard was four leagues from them, he sent a challenge, defying king Ferrand, to fight him three days hence. King Ferrand sent a message that he would willingly fight, and he was very eager.
There one could see on both sides hauberks being cleaned. spears being spit-polished, doublets and cuirasses and shields being prepared, saddles and harnesses and breastplates prepared, horses shoed, and everyone taking great care that nothing would go wrong. On the third day, they all arose, and each of the kings had his army divided into ten squadrons, lined up in formations that seemed most effective to them. Each squadron was led by a constable, who was a fine nobleman.
The armies approached each other and the leading squadrons joined battle. Many were struck down and killed, and the English had the worst of it. But the second squadron came up vigorously, and charged their enemies forcefully. When the second squadron of Spaniards saw that they were losing, they struck out forcefully and killed and struck down many. Then the third, fourth, and fifth squadrons, and all the others, on both sides, attacked, and there was a general melee. So many knights were struck down, and so many horses wandered off, that no one could count the number.
King Richard then, lance in its rest, moved forward, shouting: "King Ferrand of Spain, where have you gone? Here is king Richard, who has come to defend La Riole and Brai Gerart against you, and the entire land of Gascony, to which you have no right. You have shown yourself to be a treacherous, evil man, for you thought that the king of France had kept me so busy that I could not get here." Then he made an excessive boast: "Indeed, I shall battle both you and him many times, as long as I shall." Alas! God, he thought that he would live longer than he actually did.
When the king of Spain heard himself called a traitor, he was disturbed. Spurring his horse on, with his shield hanging from his neck, on which three golden castles, signifying that he was the king of Castille, were painted, he went to the part of the field where king Richard was. He lowered his lance, and headed towards king Richard, who, in vermilion arms, headed towards him, his lance lowered. They met with such force that their waist-straps and breast-plates could not prevent them from falling to the ground, their saddles at their feet.
They leaped up as quickly as they could, and drew their bare swords from their sheaths, striking each other with powerful blows. They would have done great harm to each other, for they were both great knights, had they not been helped by their men, who put them back on their horses. The fighting lasted until late afternoon, when the Spaniards became frightened, for they were not well-armed, and did not know as much about fighting as did the English. The English were particularly encouraged by the behavior of their lord, king Richard, who fought so well that all those who saw him marveled. Neither the king of Spain, nor anyone else dared to face him.
When king Ferrand and his men saw that they could not stand up to the English, they retreated. The English pursued them until night fell, and no one could see anyone else. The English returned to king Ferrand's tents and remained there for the night, finding whatever they needed, and taking great treasure. The next morning they went to Bayonne, embarked upon the sea joyfully, and sailed for 12 days, arriving at one of the king's castles at Dover, where they English joyfully celebrated their lord's victory.
When the king had eaten and gone to bed, he could not sleep, because he remembered Gisros and Nior, which he had lost. He thought that he would go take Gisors by force, for king Philip was ill, and king Richard had most of his men with him, and his navy was ready. The next morning he had his men get ready the next morning to embark on the sea, and they sailed willingly. because he was a generous man.
They arrived at Dieppe, one of their own ports, and went to Rouen, which the king loved very much, and there they took what they needed. He had his army march to a castle named Loche, which belonged to king Philip, and was very strong, well-situated, well supplied, and very much in his way. He laid siege to it, and swore that he would not leave before capturing it by force, besieging it night and day. However, the defenders fought vigorously, because there were many of them, and they were well supplied.
One day king Richard went up to the castle to examine it, with a shield in front of him, and he was struck by a crossbowman who was in a small, corner tower, in front of the other towers. Placing an arrow in the noche, he aimed directly at the king, and struck him at an opening in a joint of the armor covering his right shoulder, wounding him badly. When the king felt that he had been wounded, he retreated and went to his tent. The doctors were prepared, and they took the whole arrow out of his shoulder, examined the wound, and said that he would not have to worry if he took good care of it. However, the king, who was fearless, paid no attention to the wound or to the doctors, but drank and ate whatever he wanted, and lay with his wife. His wound began to get worse, and he became feverish; in a short while his side and arms were entirely infected.
When the king saw that he was burning up and about to die, he began to lament and to express sorrow, saying: "Ah, king Richard, will you die now? Ah, death, how brave you are to attack king Richard, the greatest and most courtly knight in the entire world. Ah, knighthood, how you are going to decline! Ah, poor ladies, poor knights, what will become of you? Ah, God, who now will uphold knighthood, generosity, courtliness?"
Thus the king lamented, and when he saw that he was about to die, he ordered that his heart be buried at Rouen, because he loved the city so much, and his body be carried to London, and buried in the mother church. Then he died and gave up his spirit, and his men began to make the greatest mourning every made by any people, and the army went from there to Rouen, where the heart of the king was buried. His body was carried to London, where the greatest mourning that had ever been made for any soul was made, and he was buried in the great church with great honor, and a tomb was constructed for him, that was beautiful and rich, as befitted a king.
At this point we shall leave king Richard, who died without bodily heir, and we shall speak of the king of Jerusalem, who was chosen by election, and reigned eight years. Both he and his wife, the queen, died, and they left a daughter. The kingdom was in the hands of the barons, and they took charge of the girl, and protected her until she reached marriageable age.
Now we shall tell you of John of Brienne, who was the son of count Walter the elder of Brienne, who had several children older than John. Count Walter wanted his son John to become a cleric, but he was unwilling, fleeing instead to Clairvaux, where he had an uncle, his mother's brother, who provided for him whatever he needed. He took what he was given gratefully, for he was very young, only 14 years old.
One day knights of his family were going to a tournament, and they passed before the gates of Clairvaux; they saw the child John, who was at the gates, and they saw that he was a good-looking, well-proportioned boy, who looked like an aristocrat. They stopped at the gates, asked who this child was, and were told that he was the child of Walter of Brienne, who had fled to his uncle at Clairvaux because he did not want to become a cleric.
The knights said that he had certainly done the right thing, and that his actions proceeded from a good and noble heart. They gave him a shield, put him on a pack-horse, and brought him with them to a tournament, where they gave him another horse. They brought him with them from place to place, and he grew and improved in his ability to aid his friends in the most difficult encounters in tournaments. When he was 28 years old the lord of Chateauvillain saw him and recognized his intelligence and strength, and made him his knight. He became a strong and able member of his retinue.
His friends decided to ask count Walter, his father, to give him land, for it seemed to them that he would use it well. The count swore to them that never, alive or dead, would he have any land from him, and from that moment he was called John Lackland. Nevertheless, he continued to go to tournaments and fights and everywhere that other knights went to acquire glory, for his friends, admiring his ability, gave him whatever was necessary.
Thus he traveled much, acquiring great praise for his knightly deeds, and his great fame spread through all lands, as far as Syria, where the barons assembled and agreed to send for him, as a husband for their princess, to make him king. They carried out their plan, and he was summoned by a letter from the barons. When he heard this news, he thanked Our Lord, and he informed the lord of Chateauvillain and the lord of Joinville, and his other friends, and they were all very happy. They gave him whatever he needed, money, clothing, horses, armor, and knights of their own lineage to accompany him and to do him honor.
John Lackland now departed from his friends and his country, taking leave of them all, and traveled by stages, reaching Marseilles in 14 days. There they found ships ready, and they put on board whatever was necessary, embarking upon the sea on a Tuesday morning. God gave them such favoring winds that they made the voyage in 20 days, and they disembarked in Acre on a Monday, in the afternoon. They were welcomed in Acre with great joy, and stayed there 15 days to recover from the sea-journey.
Then the barons came to him and said: "Sir, we have sent for you for your own good, and to do you honor, for we know very well that you are a noble man, an able and faithful knight, and we do not think that anyone can handle the kingdom of Jerusalem better than you. We grant you the queen and the land, and may God see to it that we have done the right thing!" "Indeed, may God grant that!" said John Lackland, and he accepted the lady, and married her in the church of the Holy Cross, which was the bishop's church. The marriage was celebrated elaborately and well, and lasted eight full days. On the eighth day they were brought to Beirut, and both were crowned there, for the see where kings of Jerusalem were crowned was there, now that Jerusalem was in the hands of the Saracens.
Exactly as I have told the story to you, John Lackland became the king of Jerusalem, and he lost the name of John Lackland, and thenceforth was called good king John. He ruled the kingdom justly and well, reigning as good king a long time. He and the queen had a daughter who later became the wife of the emperor Frederick; she had a son who married the daughter of the duke of Bavaria, and this son had a son who would become the king of Jerusalem.
The queen of Jerusalem, a fine and holy woman, died, and was buried in the church of the Holy Cross. A short time later the king took a wife who was the daughter of the king of Armenia, and they had a son was was baptized John, named after his father, and this child lived only seven years.
Now the story of king John stops, but we shall return to it at the proper time and place, and we shall tell you of the apostle Innocent, who heard that the land overseas was in the hands of the Saracens, who were treating it badly, for the services of Our Lord were never celebrated there. His pity was moved greatly, and he called a general assembly of all the orders under Roman law.
They assembled on that day in Rome, and many of the sacerdotal rules necessary for holy Church were established. There it was determined that a bell be carried with the body of Our Lord, for this was not being done. It was also established that priests whose copes had sleeves would wear them round; many other rules which had not been observed were established.
Then they spoke of the overseas territories in the hands of the Saracens, a condition that rightly infuriated holy Christianity. All the prelates agreed to preach a crusade. The French legate was named Robert of Courson, an Englishman, who was a fine man, a great drinker (as many fine men are), and he recruited many people for the Crusade.
They departed in two groups; the first group arrived in Acre on Saint Michael's Day, and it contained many great nobles. They consulted among themselves, and, together with king John, decided to lay siege to Damietta while their ranks continued to grow. All the highest ranking men agreed to this plan, and they prepared their ships, and embarked on the sea. Arriving at Damietta, they disembarked, pitched their tents and pavilions, and settled in as best they could.
When the Saracens saw them, they were very frightened, and they closed their gates and provisioned their towers, making remarkable preparations to defend themselves. They sent to Saphadin, the sultan of Babylon, who was the lord of Damietta, to come and help them, because king John and the Christians were besieging them. When Saphadin heard this news, he was not overjoyed. He had letters written and distributed through all the pagan lands, telling them to bring help, "For king John and all the Christians of France, Lombardy, Tuscany, and Germany were besieging Damietta, and they knew that this was the gateway to the pagan lands."
All the highest ranking men assembled at Baghdad to decide what to do. The sultan of Damascus, whose name was Coradin, was there; he was the blood brother of Saphadin, the sultan of Babylon. The sultan of Iconium was also there, as was the sultan of Chamelle, the sultan of Aleppo, whence come the finest pagan knights, and many other sultans and emirs were there. They all agreed that they would go there, and they sent a message to the sultan of Babylon that they would arrive on a certain day, and each of them returned to his own country.
They got together as many men as they could, and arrived at Babylon on the appointed day, and they proceeded to discuss what they should do. For a long time no one would yield the leadership to anyone else; however, the Christians built fortifications, dug ditches, and set up lists across the plain. They made a bridge of ships across the river, which was wide and deep, to cut off the port of Damietta, since all of its supplies were brought by river. They split their men into two armies, one on this side of the bridge and one on the other, and their strategy did great damage to the pagans.
At this point we shall turn, for a moment, from king John and his army, and we shall tell you of the other part of the Christians who remained. There was the elector, Milo of Beauvais, who was the brother of sir Walter of Nantueil, and sir Andrew his brother, and sir John of Arcis, and the count of Pingin, and the lord of Loupines, who was a fine man, and sir John Fuinons, and many other fine men, whom I shall not name here, because it would be too much to name so many people.
The elector collected the tithe for the apostle from the clerics, and they prepared to fight on Saint John's Day. They outfitted their ships, embarked on the sea, and sailed without trouble to Acre, where they asked the king's whereabouts. They were told that he was besieging Damietta, and had been there for a year. When the elector heard this, he got his ships ready, and, the next day, embarked on the sea, arriving six days later at Damietta, where he disembarked, and set up camp with the others, who were very glad that he had come, although only harm came of this, as you will hear shortly.
Now we shall tell you of Saphadin, the sultan of Babylon, who was encamped two leagues from the army. While the Christians were attacking Damietta, the Saracens were attacking the Christians to help out those besieged in Damietta, for they could not enter Damietta without going through the Christian army. They fought a long while, until the day that the legate, king John, the elector of Beauvais, and all the other barons held a meeting, and said that it would be a good idea to attack the Saracens, and, if it pleased God, they would be victorious. Some, however, said that it would be a good idea if they asked for help first.
"By God," said king John, "we do not need help from so far away, for we shall have them in the lists every day if we wish." "Indeed, king," said the elector of Beauvais, you now want us to remain in this country forever." "That's certainly not what I want," said the king, "for I believe that your going is worth more than your staying. I want to do what the others want to do, and let the future bring what it will."
They all agreed to challenge the sultan of Babylon to battle, and the sultan agreed to fight on St. John the Baptist's day. You may be certain that Christians who fight Saracens on this day have never won. The Christians prepared as well as they could, and the Saracens did also, and they lined up their squadrons, and met head-on. The Christians, who were over-confident, did not think far enough ahead, but they moved two leagues through the hot, burning sand, driving their horses into the sand up to their knees, with the foot-soldiers accompanying them.
As they got closer to the Saracens, the foot-soldiers were exhausted and out of breath; their courage wilted, and, conceding defeat, they turned in flight towards the lists. When the Saracens saw what the Christians were doing, they pursued them and killed as many as they pleased. They would all have been killed had not the cavalry, which had been in the rear, protected them. They suffered terribly from the assault of the Saracens, and they could scarcely endure the heat of the day, for they were heavily armed, and had traveled far. The Saracens were fresh, and lightly armed, and they and their horses were able to endure the heat, and they did with the Christians what they wished.
The elector of Beauvais was captured there, and his brother, sir Andrew of Nanteuil, and sir John of Arcies, and the lord of Loupines, and sir John Fuinon, and many other fine men, who were brought to Cahaire, a castle near Babylon, which belonged to the sultan, and there they were placed in harsh, foul confinement. When king John and the legates and the other barons heard of this, they were very sorry, and they showed more fear of the Saracens, and were much more careful. Treating their enemies now with more respect, they assailed Damietta so that no one could get in or out.
For a long time Saphadin and the other sultans did not move, and those inside Damietta were in great trouble, and they suffered an illness of the mouth which prevented them from drinking and eating, and they died swift deaths. The stench of the corpses in Damietta was unbearable, and as many died of the stench as of the disease, and they were so hardpressed that they could bear no more.
They took a carrier-pigeon that had been raised in Babylon, and they wrote a letter describing the suffering and death that was going on, and asked for help in the name of Mahomet, for they were greatly in need. They said that they had no leader, for he had died of the disease of which everyone was dying, and they asked that a noble leader, able and wise, who understood the city and could govern it, be sent to them. They tied the letter to the pigeon, under his right wing, and they released it.
Once released, the pigeon flew aloft, set his path directly towards Babylon, and flew until he reached the pigeon-loft where he had been raised. When the man in charge of the pigeon-loft saw him, he went to the sultan and told him: "Sir, a message has just arrived." The sultan said to bring it to him, and this was done. He took the pigeon, removed the letter from his right wing, and had the message read; then he knew what was going on in Damietta. When he understood the situation, he grew sad, and that was understandable, since Damietta was the key to the land.
He took counsel about what to do, and he was advised to send a noble, wise, energetic man to Damietta to be their leader. This was done, and he had a bull's hide folded over four times, like an egg, and the man was placed in it, together with the sultan's letter. The vessel was then carefully sewn and weighted, and placed in cork, so that it would not turn over or sink. Placed in the river, only about a foot of it could be seen, and it had a hole on top, through which one could breath. It was put in the river at night, and floated as far as the bridge that the Christians had constructed across the river.
The Christians had stretched a net the length of the bridge, as an additional safeguard, and when the vessel reached the bridge in the middle of the night, it was caught in the net, and remained there until day, when someone saw its top sticking out of the water. They went to the boats and took the vessel out with hooks, and brought it to the king's tent, where it was taken apart; out fell the Saracen and the message.
The king had the message read, and he saw in the letter that this was the sultan's nephew, sent to Damietta to become its leader, and the king saw that the situation inside the city was desperate. The king had the Saracen put in chains and guarded carefully, until one night, when the guards fell into such a deep, drunken sleep that their prisoner escaped, and fled behind the tents.
When his guards awoke, they cried out "hahai!" and went looking for him among the troops. The prisoner had gone a considerable distance, however, and was beyond the rear tents. He would have escaped entirely, had not some bakers, who had gotten up early to knead bread, heard the chains ringing, and cried out: "Catch the prisoner, catch the prisoner!" One of them held a baker's rolling-pin, with which he hit him on the head so hard that he killed him. The king was very sorry when he learned about this, for he could have obtained a very large ransom for him, or exchanged him for a nobleman.
Now we shall tell you about Saphadin, the king of Babylon, who was most distressed, because he thought that he had lost Damietta. He assembled the highest ranking princes of his army, and said to them: "Gentlemen, if we lose Damietta, we have lost everything, for it is the key to our land, and all of our wealth, our grain and other things, come from it. We should take great pains, risking our lives, to recover it, because, by Mahomet, if it is lost, I fear that it will never be recovered.
I have a plan, if you support it: we shall release all the prisoners that we hold, the old and the young, and give up all the land that king Amalric holds, except for Gras and Montreal which are held by people over whom we have no power, and we shall pay yearly what the two castles are worth. In this way we shall have a truce for twenty years, in return for which they will lift the siege of Damietta."
They all agreed to this plan, and they had the prisoners brought before them, and told them what had been decided upon, and they were very glad. They chose two of the prisoners to carry the message; one of them was named sir Andrew of Nanteuil, and the other sir John of Arcies. The others gave their lives as pledges. The two arrived at the king's tent, and all the legates and barons were summoned, and sir Andrew said to them:
"Gentlemen, we have been sent here by the pagan nobles, who offer to you the most agreeable peace that has ever been offered to Christians. They will give you all the prisoners that they hold, both the old and the young, and all the land that king Amalric holds, except for Gras and Montreal, for those two castle they cannot turn over, because they are in the hands of men over whom they have no power. But they will give you every year what they are worth. You will then have a truce for twenty years, if only you lift the siege of Damietta, and return to your own country."
The king, the legates, and the barons said that they would discuss the matter, and they were in conference for a long time; much was said on both side of the issue. Some wanted to accept the offer, to free their friends, the prisoners, while others said that this would not be a good thing to do, because they had been there nearly two years, suffering cold and heat and great discomforts, spending their wealth, and they were on the point of capturing the city. They could not agree.
In fact, the second group was overcome by pride, and particularly by the pride of the elector of Beauvais, who had more pride than Nebuchdonosor, who had more than enough. The majority agreed to their plan, and the emissaries returned in tears, delivering the decision of the king and the legates and the barons to the prisoners, who were very unhappy at this news. Then they told their message to the sultan, who was most disturbed, because he had more at stake than all the others.
Here we shall turn from the prisoners who were suffering terribly in their prison in Cahaire, sharing their misery, without hope of ever being delivered, to tell you about the king who was laying siege to Damietta. One night it happened that the scouts of the army approached the walls of the city, and listened; they heard nothing anywhere, neither on the walls, nor at the gates, nor on the towers. they returned to the king and said: "Sir, it seems to us that there is no one in Damietta. Either they are dead, or they have fled." "Indeed," said the king, "now we need only mount an attack. To the ladders! A thousand besants to the first man who enters the city."
The ladders then were drawn up and attached to the walls, and the best climbers mounted them, and entered the city. There was no one to put up resistance, for they were nearly all dead or sick. They reached the gates, and cut the bolts, and the entire army entered the city. They found so many dead Saracens that the stench was scarcely bearable, but the king ordered that the bodies be carried out to the fields and burned. The king's orders were carried out, and the city was cleansed, and the king and the legates and all the others entered the city, and they found it well provided with grain, with wine, with arms, with gold and silver, and with whatever a fine city needed.
They stayed in Damietta until one day, when the barons and the other high-ranking men held a meeting, and they said: "What's going to happen? Are we always to be shut up in this city, and do nothing else? Let's go, let us conquer the pagans. The Saracens are scattered, and will never be able to get themselves together. A castle named Tenis is near here, about four leagues, which we shall capture at the first assault, and once we have taken it, we should take Babylon easily."
They all agreed to this plan, and they went to the king and to the legate, and told them what had been said. The legate said that it was a good thing to do, while the king replied that the legate might say what he wished, but he did not understand what was involved. "The Saracens are very wise, and they are in their own land, and they know very well what time and place are best for them. Now they are very angry that they have lost Damietta: my advice is to remain here until the river has finished rising.
"It certainly seems to me," said the legate, that it would be better to go than to stay. "I certainly believe," said the king, "that it would turn out badly, but do not stay on my behalf, for I don't want anyone to place the blame on me." "By God, then," said the legate, "let's get going to Tenis, for as soon as we get there, we may be sure that we shall take it."
But things turned out otherwise. They moved the army, and reached Tenis, which was well-situated, with a fine location, where a river divided into left and right branches. Between the two arms of the river there was an arable field, and there the Christians had their boats carry their tents across the river. Then they pitched their tents, and laid siege to the castle.
However, they did not stay there long. When Saphadin, who was a very wise Saracen, learned that they had come, he had the river damned, and it overflowed its channel, flowing back across the island on which the legate and king John, and the Christians were bivouacking. Had this happened during the night, they would have found themselves floating in the water, and they all would have drowned, had the sultan wished. But he was very wise, and he well knew that by means of these men he would regain Damietta. Had he drowned them, he would have gained nothing, for Damietta was well defended by good men. Therefore he trapped them in this narrow place, and let them know that, unless they surrendered Damietta to him, he would have them drowned.
When the king and the legate and the other barons saw what their position was, they felt foolish, and they said that it would have been better had they followed the king's advice, but it was too late. They made as best a truce as they could, entirely according to the sultan's wishes, and the sultan turned over to them the prisoners that he had taken, both the old and the young, nor did he demand of them any more than Damietta, in its present state. The king and the Christians agreed to his conditions, but the sultan would accept no Templars nor Hospitaliers as hostages, nor any living man, except for the king himself. Thus the king was compelled to remain as a hostage until Damietta had surrendered. As the saying goes, "some things are done because there is no choice."
Thus the city was surrendered, and the king and the barons set free. They embarked upon the sea, arrived at Acre, disembarked and remained for a while. The elector, Milo of Beauvais, who was their leader, wanted to return to France, as did all those who had come with him. They set sail on the sea, and arrived at Saint Nicholas of Bari. From there they went overland to Rome, where they visited the apostle, and the elector asked the apostle to consecrate him.
The apostle replied that he would gladly do this, and he consecrated him and anointed him as a bishop. He had him put on a type of shoe that clerics call sandals, which symbolize the necessity of taking no step in vain. Then he put on the surplice, which is white, and is a symbol of chastity. Then he put the mantle over his head, which is a symbol for humility, and then the aube, which is pure white, and is a symbol for virginity.
Then he put the fanon (fetlock, wattle) on his left arm, which is a symbol for abstinence, for the left arm, which is tied, must hold back, and the right arm, which is untied, must give. Then he took the stole, which is a symbol for obedience, and put it on his neck. Then he put on the tunic, in which one reads the epistle; it is green, which is a symbol for suffering, and then the dalmatic, in which one reads the gospel; it is white, and is a symbol for justice. Above all the other garments, he put on the chasuble, which must be vermillion, to symbolize holy love.
Then the crozier was placed in his left hand; it is curved at the top, and sharp at the bottom, symbolizing pity and vengeance, for prelates must draw sinners by preaching and by good example, and they must not offer too sharp a penance. For sinners may be so frightened by their sinning that they may fall into despair, which is one the the sins that God most hates. That is the reason why the crozier is curved at the top.
Do you know why it is sharp at the bottom? because prelates should give to sinners penance that is as sharp as the point of the crozier, and one should never pardon the sinner from doing penance for his sin, for if he is completely pardoned, he will more easily return to it. Then he put on the ring, which symbolizes marriage, for he was married to holy church. Then he put on his head the mitre, which must be white, with two peaks, one of which stands for confession, and the other satisfaction [Contrition, perhaps. Ms D offers the Old and New Testaments instead].
Now we have told you how the elector of Beauvais was consecrated; the apostle gave him the Vaus d'Alise, and he held them a long time, and never did anything but evil. He had to return through Chanteleu, because he had stayed too long. Cardinal Romanus was there, and he preached the crusade. The bishop preached otherwise, for he tried with all his might to prevent any of the archbishops or bishops of the kingdom from replying in the presence of the king. They often met at Saint Quentin, and it was in the time of the archbishop Henry of Brainne, who, together with many of the other bishops, agreed with bishop Milo. The queen learned of this from one of the bishops who did not approve of the agreement.
Milo did even worse things, slanderously accusing the queen of being pregnant by cardinal Romanus. The queen showed no signs of how she felt, but kept her feelings hidden, intending to take action at the right time and place. She suffered until one day, when people from Beauvais came to complain to her that their bishop had wrongly and unreasonably excommunicated them, and they said to her: "Lady, our bishop has wrongly and unreasonably excommunicated us. Lady, see to it that we are absolved, for we are ready to perform justice, no matter where justice leads us."
When the queen heard this, she was very glad, for now she knew she could take action in response to what he had said about her. She ordered him to absolve the citizens, and to treat them justly. He replied that he would not obey her in matters of Christian faith. When the queen heard his reply, she ordered him to appear before her. When he failed to appear, neither coming in person nor sending an emissary, the queen summoned all of the barons who were her vassals, all the prelates, and the bishop of Beauvais also, and they all came to the meeting.
The good, thoughtful queen had not forgotten the wretched thing that the bishop of Beauvais had said about her, but she dressed herself in a pure chemise, covered herself with a cloak, and came out of her bedroom. She entered the hall where the princes and prelates were, directed the ushers to call for quiet, and when the noise abated, she stood up, both feet on top of a sleeping-table, and said, in the presence of the bishop of Beauvais: "Lords, look at me, all of you; someone has said that I am big with child." She let her cloak fall on the table, turned to the front, and then to the back, so that everyone could see her, and she clearly had no child in her belly.
When the barons saw their lady naked, they ran forward and covered her with her cloak, and brought her to her room, and had her dressed. Then she returned to the meeting, and there was much discussion of one thing and another. Finally, the citizens of Beauvais were sent for, and they complained about their bishop, who had excommunicated them. The queen had the bishop called, and she asked him why he had excommunicated the king's citizens. The bishop replied that he was not compelled to reply. "Are you not," said the queen, "the king's man, and don't you perform justice for us, who guard the kingdom of France?"
"By saint Peter," said the bishop, "I want all those present here to understand that I have no lord over me in the world, except the apostle, who is my protector. I need answer to any other lord." She then replied: "Lords, you have heard clearly what the bishop said. May the time and the place be recorded, and I shall take counsel according to what is said." The meeting then broke up, and each one went back to his own land.
The queen called a meeting of her advisers, and asked what was to be done about the bishop of Beauvais, who had conspired against the crown of France. Her council said, since he had harmed the king's rights, she could legally seize the fief that he held from the king. The queen had a letter written, and sent it to the bailly of Beauvais. When the bishop heard of it, he was very frightened, but did not wish to humble himself, or to ask mercy of the queen, for the great pride that he had in his heart would not permit him. His heart was blinded by pride, so that he could hardly see at all; so the vices of the world destroy reason and justice in a man.
When the bishop saw that how things really stood, he had preparations made to travel, arranging for money and horses. He left Beauvais with a large entourage, never to return. He went by stages until he reached Turin, a city in Lombardy, and he stayed there overnight, in comfortable lodgings. The next morning he arose and heard mass, and went on his way. He had not traveled far when he came upon a man digging in a vineyard, with a large crown, and a gold ring on his finger. He stopped and greeted him, and said to him:
"Good sir, who are you, digging in the vineyard?" "Indeed, sir," said the good man, "I am the bishop of Turin, who earns his bread here." The bishop of Beauvais said: "But it is not proper for a bishop to dig in a vineyard." "In the name of God," said the bishop of Turin, "my bishopric is too poor to provide me with a living; I've got to do the best I can."
Then the bishop of Beauvais said: "Sir, for God's sake, pray for me, for I am greatly in need of it." The bishop replied that he would gladly do so, and if he wished, he might pray for him too, and would he tell him his name. He said that his name was Milo, and he was the bishop of Beauvais. He then left, followed by his entourage, with eighteen pack-horses. The bishop who was digging in the vineyard asked to whom they belonged, and they told him that they belonged to the bishop of Beauvais, and he cried out: "Sir, hear me, hear me!" The bishop stopped and asked him what he wanted, and the good man said to him: "Sir, you agreed to pray for me; dear, good sir, I release you from the promise." "My God," said the bishop of Beauvais, "what do you mean to say?" "In the name of God, sir," said the bishop of Turin, "I shall tell you. It seems to me that you are already too busy, and have too many things to take care of, to be able to pay any attention to my problems."
They parted from each other, and the bishop continued his journey, until he arrived at Assisi, where saint Francis was born, and where his body lies. There he was struck by a terrible disease; an impostume grew inside his body, on his spine, and became so large that it broke his spine from the rump to the shoulders, and it opened as though he had been decapitated. For four days in lived in great pain, and then he died, and was buried, as a bishop, in the mother church, and his entourage did what they wanted with his possessions. That is the way things turn out with clerics who do not do look after their proper affairs. The bishop's entourage returned to their own land.
Here we shall turn from bishop Milo of Beauvais, who died as you have heard, and his death gave pleasure to his neighbors; now we shall tell you of king John of Acre, who remained in the land of Syria, and behaved like a fine man. A truce between Christians and Saracens was granted for 20 years. One day the king was in Acre, and he was told that a noble Saracen was in prison. The king ordered that he be brought before him quickly, and the Saracen was brought before the king. When the king saw him he was very pleased, and he asked who he was. Through interpreters he explained that he was the uncle of Saladin, and an important man.
The king looked at him for a long time, and admired his manner. He saw that he was tall, well-proportioned, and erect. He was very old, with a vermilion face, a long, white beard, which reached down to his feet, and the beard was braided in a long, thick braid, which reached below his hips, and he seemed a very fine man. After the king had looked at him carefully, he told him to sit down, and then he asked, through an interpreter, about Saladin. He replied that he would tell him much, and it would be true.
He said to him: "I saw my nephew Saladin, the king of Babylon, with thirty kings under his jurisdiction, send a fine, well-dressed servant on a horse, traveling through all the good towns, carrying three ells of cloth tied to a lance. At every crossroad he cried out: 'Saladin values his kingdom and his treasury no more than he does these three ells of cloth for his shroud.'
Later on, he did a remarkable thing. He heard of the great charity of the hospital of Saint John of Acre; he was told that no sick person was turned away there, and whatever anyone asked for was given to him, if it was possible. Saladin thought that he would test to see if this were true; he took a staff, wallet, and cape, and disguised himself as best he could, and went directly to Acre. He pretended to be sick and wretched, and went to the hospital of Saint John, and asked for shelter, for he was in great need.
When the man who welcomed the sick saw him, he took him in, because he seemed to be in great need. He gave him a place to sleep, and made him as comfortable as he could, then asked him if he would like to eat. 'For God's sake, let me sleep, for I need it very much; I have wanted for a long time to die among the poor people here.'
They left him in peace, and he went to sleep, sleeping the entire day and the entire night. The next day the man in charge of the poor asked if he would like to eat, and he said that he did not care to eat. The man said: 'My God, if you don't eat, you won't be able to live long.' Saladin fasted for three days and three days, without drinking or eating anything. The man returned to him and said to him: 'Good friend, you should take something to eat to keep yourself alive, for we shall be blamed if you die here because of our failure to take care of you.'
'Sir, please understand,' said Saladin, 'that I shall never again in my life eat, if I do not get something for which I have a mortal desire, and I know very well that I shall never get it, for it is insane to think of it and to wish for for it.' 'Ah, dear friend, do not hesitate to ask for anything, for the hospitaliers here have such great charity that no sick person has ever failed to get what he wants here, if it could be had for gold or silver. If you ask for it honestly, you will get it.'
Having received this assurance from the master, Saladin told him what he wanted. 'I want,' he said, 'the right foot of Morel, the fine horse of the grand master of this place. I want to see it cut off before my eyes, or I shall never eat again. Now you have heard my madness,' said Saladin, 'but for God's sake I beg you not to do what I want; it would be better that I, who am a poor man, die, than that such a valuable animal should die. For they say that the great master would not take a thousand besants for him.'
The man left him and went to the grand master, and told him what the sick man had asked for. When the grand master heard this, he thought for a moment, and, remarkably, a desire to comply with the wish came to him, and he said to the master of the sick: 'Go, take the horse, and satisfy his desire. It is better that my horse should die than that a man should die. Moreover, we would be blamed for ever after.'
The horse was brought before Saladin, and was tied up and pushed to the ground; a servant was ready, with a large axe in one hand and a truncheon in the other, and he said: 'Which foot does the sick man want?" He was told, "the right front foot.' He took the truncheon and placed it under the foot, lifted the axe in his two hands, and was about to strike as hard a blow as he could, when Saladin cried out: 'Hold still! My desire has cooled, and I would prefer to eat something else; I'd like some mutton.' The horse was then untied and led back to the stable.
When the grand-master heard about this, he was very glad, as were the other brothers. The sick man was given what he asked for, and he ate and drank well, for he had fasted for three days. He remained there four more days, and they gave him everything he wanted. Then he asked for his robe, his staff and his cape, and he took leave of the master, and thanked him for the things he had given him, and for the honor he had paid him. He went back to his own land, but did not forget what had been done for him in the hospital, and he had a manuscript made, and sealed with his own seal, and had written in it:
'May everyone who is and will be know that I, Saladin, king of Babylon, grant in perpetuity to the hospital of Saint John of Acre 1000 besants of gold for shrouds and blankets to cover the sick who are sheltered there, to be taken every year, on the the day of saint John the Baptist, from my income of Babylon, in such a way that payments will not cease, even if there is a war between us and the Christians.
Let the master of the hospital know that I am doing this because of his house's great charity, and because I was given shelter there. They did not flinch when I tested them by asking for the right front foot of the grand-master's horse, and he was willing to cut it off in my presence, but I would not permit it.' The charter was sent to the hospital of Saint John and delivered to the grand-master and to the brothers, and they were very pleased, for they knew that Saladin would keep his word. From that time on they were paid 1000 besants every year on saint John's day, and the money is still paid today.
Saladin did something else as well," the Saracen said. "The marquis of Casearea (Palestine), who held the city for the king of Jerusalem, and was well provided with knights, ordinary soldiers, and crossbowmen, nevertheless, because of his great greed, every fifteen days impoverished those within the city, filling his coffers with gold and silver. He thought that Saladin was unaware of what he was doing, and he was told that to place the supplies in his own coffer was a very bad idea, because the city could be lost by so doing, for they were very far from the other Christians, and, if they needed help, it would arrive too late. Furthermore, he was told, Saladin was wise and a good soldier, and he knew his worst and the best. 'Be quiet,' said the marquis, 'When I want them, I shall make a thousand knights leap from my coffers.'
These words were reported to Saladin by a spy, who told him of the marquis' greed, and about those inside the city. He said that the garrison was so depleted that there were few, if any men left. When Saladin heard this, he was delighted, and he summoned his men secretly to assemble three leagues from Caesaria, and they all assembled on a Saturday evening. Before daybreak they had marched three leagues, reaching Caesarea at daybreak. They attacked the city on all sides, placing ladders against the walls. Those inside the city heard the sounds of the Saracens, and they ran to the wall to defend the city, but to no avail, for they were too few, and had too little equipment, and were taken by surprise.
The Saracens forced their way into the city, capturing the marquis and his wife. The marquis was led, with his hands tied behind his back, before Saladin, who was very eager to see him. When he saw him, he said to him: 'Marquis, marquis, where are the thousand knights you were going to pull out of your coffers? By Mahomet, your greed fooled you. You never had enough gold or silver, but you will have enough now.' With these remarks, Saladin took some gold and silver, placed it in an iron stove, and made him swallow the burning gold and silver. He died immediately. Saladin, out of courtliness, had the marquis' wife sent back, with ten Christian men and women, to Acre, where she was given sanctuary.
"I could tell you many stories about Saladin," said the Saracen, "but he did one thing at his death that bothered us very much. When he learned that he was going to die, he asked for a basin of water. A servant ran quickly to bring him a silver basin, and he put it in his left hand. Saladin had himself propped up, made the sign of the cross over the basin with his right hand, touched the four corners of the basin, and he said: 'There is as much from here to here, as from here to here.' He said this because no one was observing him. Then he poured the water over his head and over his body, and said, under his breath, three words in French that we didn't understand. As well as I could make it out, he seemed to be baptizing himself.
Thus Saladin, the best pagan prince who ever lived, passed away, and he was buried in the cemetery of saint Nicholas of Acre, near his mother, who had been buried there very grandly. Above them a beautiful, tall tower was built, in which a lamp full of olive oil burns day and night; it is paid for and kept burning by the men of St. John of the Hospital at Acre, who receive a large income from a bequest left to them by Saladin and his mother.
From this point on we shall tell you about the child from Apulia, who was baptized Frederick. He had inherited three kingdoms: the kingdoms of Apulia, of Sicily, and of Calabria. He was also chosen by the German barons as the king of Germany, by the grace of the Pope, who had dismissed emperor Otto for his foul behavior. Frederick was anointed king at Aix-la-Chapelle by the hand of the archbishop of Treves, and then was presented by the German barons to the Pope, to be anointed emperor. For a long time things went well between him and the Pope, and he was very obedient to the church of Rome, and he dispensed justice well. He became greatly feared throughout the world, and a man could carry his sack full of coins on his staff on his shoulder and not worry.
The emperor did so well for such a long time that everyone spoke well of him, until one day, when the people of Milan had a disagreement with their bishop, who promptly proceeded to excommunicate them. The citizens ask him for absolution, and they begged that he deal with them justly. The bishop replied that he would never absolve them unless they submitted entirely to his will.
When the citizens saw that the bishop would do nothing for them, they drove him out of the town, and he was deprived of his goods. The bishop went directly to the Pope, and complained as much as he could about the people of Milan, who had driven him out of Milan, and stripped him of all of his goods. The Pope was much disturbed by this, and he sent a cardinal to investigate the matter. He arrived at Milan, and ordered the civic leaders of Milan to appear before him. He asked them why they had driven out their bishop, and taken all of his goods, showing such contempt for God, and the Pope, and the bishop.
The citizens replied that they were ready to make amends for any contempt they may have shown, but for God's sake he must absolve them, then they were ready to follow his advice. "By saint Peter," said the cardinal, "you will not be absolved until you have made amends for your crime, and done everything in accordance with the bishop's wishes." "Indeed, sir," said the citizens, "we have no intentions of taking this advice; if you do not wish to behave justly towards us, we shall take the law into our own hands, here and now. But, for God's sake, sir, see to it that things do not get worse."
"I certainly do not know what will happen," said the cardinal, "but you will never get justice until you submit entirely to our will." "By God," said the citizens, "these are not the words of a good man, nor of the kind of man you ought to be." The citizens then left the cardinal, who promised to do them much harm; he increased the bishop's sentence as much as he could, ordered all the clergy out of the town, and issued threats against the citizens as he left the town.
The civic leaders and nobility conferred, and were much disturbed by what the cardinal had said to them. They decided to send to the Pope for advice. However, things quickly took another turn, when members of the lower classes and some fools held a meeting; they decided that it would be a good thing to pursue the cardinal and bring him back by force, holding him until he and the bishop absolved them, and gave them in writing a promise never to excommunicate them.
They chose 100 men for the task, and they quickly went after the cardinal, catching up to him at a spot above the city, where they stopped him and said to him: "By God, sir cardinal, you've got to come back with us to the city, and absolve us, whether you want to or not." When the cardinal heard them speak like this, he said to them: "I certainly shall not return, you stinking rabble; instead, I shall have you all excommunicated, and I shall have Milan wiped out, so that no stone will remain on top of another."
At that point a fool seized the reins of his horse and tried to turn him around; the cardinal cried out to his entourage: "Attack these wretches!" One of the servants drew a sword and struck the man who was holding the cardinal, and the man fell dead at his feet. When the people from Milan saw their companion dead, they were enraged, and cried out: "Kill, kill!"
The cardinal would willingly have fled, but he was unable, for he was immediately surrounded on all sides. They would have captured him and taken him to Milan, but a butcher stepped forward, struck him with an axe, and killed him. They captured the man who had killed their companion, tied him to the tail of his horse, and dragged him back to Milan, where they led him through all the streets of the city. When the civic leaders heard of this, they were very sorry, for they knew very well what this meant. They decided that they would send someone to the Pope to beg for mercy, but there was no one who would dare go, out of fear for his life.
That is how things remained until the Pope heard of the affair. He was so angry that no one could appease his wrath. He was advised by the brothers to send for the emperor; the emperor was summoned, and he arrived quickly. The Pope told him what the people of Milan had done, and the emperor said: "This certainly troubles me." "In the name of God," said the Pope,"I want the city destroyed and everyone in it put to the sword." "Indeed," said the emperor, "this cannot be done without great trouble and expense, for I know that the people of Milan are very rich and powerful, and they have many good knights, and they know much about making war."
"In the name of God," said the Pope, "I shall give you aid, and give you whatever they own." The emperor said: "You must understand that I cannot go there without your written order, for I know you well enough to understand that, if the people of Milan make peace with you, I would lose whatever effort I would have put in there." "By saint Peter," said the Pope, "I shall gladly give it to you, and I swear on the saints, on saint Peter and on saint Paul, that no peace will be made, except by you."
The matter was settled and sealed, with the accord of all the brothers, and the emperor went back to his land, assembled a large army, and lead them before the gates of Milan, where he began the siege. Both sides went at each other vigorously, and the besiegers gained little headway, since the besieged were well supplied, and did not take their enemies very seriously. The emperor Frederick held the siege for a year and a half, with few results, except that no one could get out or in, and those inside the city were suffering.
One day the governor and the count of Milan were conferring, and one of them said: "Dear sir, we are in a difficult position; we have been excommunicated, and are at war with the Pope and with the emperor, the two most powerful men in the land. I urge you in good faith to make peace with them; otherwise we shall all be destroyed. We have already lost our income and our goods, and food grows more expensive every day. If the war lasts any longer, we shall be totally lost. Should it last 20 years, we would still have to make peace, and it would have cost us far too much. We would be far better off to make peace than to continue the war."
"Indeed," said the other, "you speak the truth. Let us consider what is the best way to go about this, for the problem is urgent." "In the name of God," said the wise man, "it would be a good thing to negotiate with the emperor for peace." They chose two wise men from among them to send to him, and they told the emperor that the governor and the count wanted to talk to him, with safe-conduct guaranteed to them both coming and going. The emperor granted them their request willingly, and they rode to the emperor's tents, got down from their horses, and spoke with him for some time. However, they were not able to conclude a peace with him that was not disastrous and dishonorable for them. They returned to the city and told their companions what they had found in their parley with the emperor.
"By God," said the wise man, "since we are unable to obtain peace from the emperor without destroying ourselves, I think that we should approach the Pope, offering as much wealth as we can amass for him. I understand the nature of the Lombards well enough to know that they are so greedy by nature that we shall obtain peace for ourselves with such an offer." They all agreed to this plan. and they sent to the Pope a citizen of Piacenza to obtain a safe-conduct to speak to him about peace. The Pope granted his request, giving him letters of safe-conduct for them, and the citizen returned to Milan, where he delivered the Pope's letter to them.
Now they selected two of the wisest men, and entrusted them with an eloquent, open letter from the city, which said that the people of Milan would carry out whatever agreement these two would forge. The next day, at the break of day, they made a surprise attack on the besiegers, striking out against them, embarrassing and damaging them. They captured ten of them, and brought them into the city. While they were harassing the besiegers, the two emissaries made their way out of the city, and traveled a long distance without being observed by the enemy.
At this point, the story says that the two emissaries made their way to Rome, where they were given a very poor reception by the Curia. They spent eight days there without being able to obtain a hearing. Finally they were summoned, and asked what they wanted. "By God," they said to the Pope, "we have come to ask for your grace; for God's sake have mercy on us." "Ah, evil men, faithless heretics," said the Pope, "you have deserved to lose your lives and your wealth." "Ah, sir," said the citizens, "for God's sake have mercy, you don't understand the truth of the situation. You have been told the opposite of the truth. For God's sake, sir, recognize what is true, and benefit by it; the Milanese will give you 30,000 silver marks."
When the Pope and the brothers heard the amount named, they changed their attitude towards them, becoming more respectful, and they asked how this amount could be guaranteed. The wise men replied well: "We shall stay here with you, sending to Milan for the children of the twenty richest men, whom you will keep here as hostages until you have what you want." The pope and the brothers agreed to this, and the children were sent for and brought before the Pope, and he saw to it that they were well guarded.
Thus the people of Milan achieved peace with the Pope, and he absolved them and declared them good Christians, and he recalled the emperor, having learned that the bishop had been in the wrong, and the cardinal had been killed because of his insulting behavior. When the emperor heard this news, he was startled, for he had spent considerable amounts of money in besieging Milan. He sent a message back to the Pope, declaring that he would not lift the siege until he had at least been reimbursed for his expenses; he also declared that the man who did not keep his word did great harm. The Pope sent a message back to him, declaring that if he did not lift the siege, he would excommunicate him and all those who aided him. When the emperor saw what the situation was, he raised the siege and went to Apulia, where he remained for a while.
His men came to him and said to him: "Sir, you should get married, for your own good. King John of Acre has a daughter who, through her mother, is the heir to the kingdom of Jerusalem. We urge you to send for her and marry her, for we do not see how you could do better." The emperor agreed, and sent ten knights, with a contract, to ask for her hand. King John willingly sent her, and the emperor married her, and had a son with her named Conrad, who married the daughter of the duke of Bavaria, who had a son who is still alive, who should inherit the kingdom of Jerusalem.
Emperor Frederick decided to go to the Pope, to ask for the ransom that he had taken from the people of Milan, since the Pope had granted him in writing whatever possessions the Milanese had, and moreover, had sworn by saint Peter and saint Paul that he would not make a peace without the emperor's assent. The Pope had extracted 30,000 marks of silver as ransom for releasing the children of the Milanese. Therefore the emperor went to Rome, and confronted the Pope and the brothers, and he made the request which you just heard. The Pope said that his behavior was not proper for a Christian, and the emperor said whatever he got was not as a result of his Christianity, but as a result of his own strength, and he would never have raised the siege until he had taken the city by force.
As a result of this exchange between the emperor and the Pope, the emperor got nothing whatsoever, not even his expenses, and he left angry and defiant. He invaded the Pope's land, taking everything he could get his hands on, and the discord which you have heard about between the emperor and the Pope grew greater. When the Pope heard that the emperor was making war on him, and taking his property, he excommunicated him throughout all of Christendom. The war lasted a long time, and no cleric journeyed to Rome without being robbed.
The Pope, who was very old, died, and one of the cardinals, whose name was Senebaud, was chosen to replace him, and he changed his name to Innocent the Fourth. He confirmed the sentence pronounced on the emperor by his predecessor, and the war continued, until one day a council was held at Rome, and many prelates from France were summoned. Among them was the archbishop of Rome, whose name was Pierre de Colemede. He had four fine galleys constructed to make the trip by sea, since he dared not go by land, and he embarked upon the sea as secretly as he could.
However, his precautions were of no avail, because the emperor had all routes, both on land and on the sea, closely watched, and one fourth of the bishops were captured, together with all their wealth. He held them prisoner for very high ransom, and the galleys remained in the port of Naples, useless. When the Pope learned what had happened, he was furious, and he saw that his court was destroyed, for no one could pass the mountains.
He and the brothers agreed to go to Lyons on the Rhone, and, strongly guarded, they reached it in the year of the incarnation of Our Lord 1243. They were there for a long time, until the apostle called a great council to condemn the emperor. Many prelates attended, and the emperor sent Pierre de la Vigne, who was a very great cleric, and he asked the Pope to behave justly towards the emperor, who was ready to submit to arbitration by the king of France, a very fine nobleman, and he would carry out whatever judgement the king made.
The Pope replied that the first thing he would do was to deprive the emperor of land, and of the title of emperor, insisting that he be called merely "Frederick." That is what he then did, and Pierre de la Vigne left Lyon and told the emperor how he had been unequivocally sentenced to lose his land, and that nothing he said had any effect, and he could not get a just judgement. The emperor was more disturbed than he had ever been, and he was very much afraid that he had been betrayed. He became profoundly distrustful, believing no one, and he did great harm to those around him, whether rightly or wrongly, I do not know.
He was told that sir Pierre de la Vigne had betrayed him to the Pope, and this charge was substantiated by letters found in his baggage. The emperor had his eyes torn out, and Pierre was led on a donkey through all the leading towns, and placed on a scaffold in the squares. The servant who led him would then read aloud: "Here is sir Pierre de la Vigne, the chief adviser of the emperor, who was willing to betray his lord and master for favors from the Pope. See what he has gained; he might well say: 'I have fallen from such heights to such depths.'"
This is the way the emperor conducted himself. He also gave the Saracens a city named Nocera, and placed more trust in Saracens than in Christians, doing much harm to all clerics and men in religious orders, exchanging them for ransom, month after month. He held 60 women, or more, as concubines, and let animals sleep in cathedrals and churches, and refused to behave like a decent Christian. He also impoverished his land, by spending his income foolishly.
Let us now return to the Pope, who was at Lyons, where he remained a long time. Staying there troubled him, and, after consultation with the brothers, they decided that they would go to Rome, traveling under the protection of the count of Savoy. After a short while at Rome, the Pope died, and Innocent IV was chosen to succeed him as apostle, and they reconfirmed the sentence against Frederick.
Emperor Frederick informed King John of Acre, his lord, that he wanted the income from the kingdom of Jerusalem, and king John gladly granted his wish. The emperor held it and its income until his death. It was not long before he died, excommunicated, and one of his illegitimate sons seized the land and held it. King John went to Constantinople, to his daughter, who was in great trouble, and he became the guardian of Constantinople for the rest of his life, because his son-in-law was too young, merely a child, and he had difficulties with the Greeks.
Now we shall leave good king John of Acre, and speak of the king John who was the brother of Richard of England, who inherited the land after the death of his brother, king Richard. He was anointed king, and was the worst king who ever lived, even worse than king Herod, who had children decapitated, for this king John of whom I speak was a wretched knight, perverse, and faithless, as I shall tell you.
He had a nephew, the son of his uncle, the count of Britanny, whose name was Arthur, who was the heir to the county of Britanny, for his father had no other children. The king, who was mean and cruel, had a boat made ready to travel to one of his castles, and he and his entourage got into it, together with his nephew Arthur. When they had traveled for some time on the sea, he threw him to the fishes, to obtain his land, and the county of Britanny which belonged to Arthur. Having done this, he returned to London.
Here we shall leave king John for a while, and return to king Philip, to whom news was brought that king Richard was dead. This pleased him very much, for he had greatly feared his courage and his generosity, for by his generosity he made friends of his enemies, and he made secret friends out of those who opposed him. King Philip, who was very wise, then thought that it was the right time and season to conquer Normandy. He planned to have king John summoned before his peers, because he had not taken back the land overseas that he held in fief from him, and for which he should pay him homage.
The king quickly sent the bishop of Beauvais and the bishop of Laon, who were among the twelve peers, to carry the king's letter of intent, and they embarked on the sea at Calais, arrived at Dover, and asked to see king John. They were directed to Lincoln, one of his cities, twelve leagues from Canterbury, where the holy martyr Thomas rests. Arriving one morning, they found the king, and said to him: "Sir, we have been sent here by king Philip. Here is his letter; have someone read it."
The king took the letter, broke the seal, and read it. In the letter that king Philip sent him, he found what the two bishops would say clearly stated. "Now say what you please," said king John. "Indeed, sir," said the bishop of Beauvais, "my lord the king summons you to Paris, his city, forty days from today, to fulfil your obligations before your peers as his loyal retainer. We who are the peers of France summon and adjure you to come there."
When king John heard these words, he was disturbed, and he said: "My lord bishops, I understand your words very clearly, and I shall carry out my obligations towards your lord." The two bishops then left, crossed the sea, and arrived at Pontoise, where they found the king. They told him what they had find out, and said that they had carried out his orders. King Philip waited the forty days, together with the peers and their advisers.
Now a knight sent by king John arrived, came before the king, and said: "Sir, king John sent me here on the day on which you summoned him to appear, and here are his letters of intent." The letter was read, and the king said: "Now say what you wish." "Sir," said the knight, "my lord asks that you grant a delay." "Certainly," said the king, "that is entirely appropriate. He may have another forty days." The knight then left, and told his lord; on the expected day, he asked for another forty days, and on that day he failed to appear.
When the king of France saw that he had failed to appear, he asked the peers of France to make a legal judgement. They consulted among themselves, deciding that the king of England should again be summoned to appear and be sentenced as one who had defaulted. The king again sent two of them to England, and king John was again summoned to appear in forty days. He did not come, nor did he send anyone. The king asked the peers for a decision. In their wisdom and probity they decided that king Philip might legally take the land that king John held in fief from him.
The advisers then left, and king Philip had his letter written, and sent to all his fiefs, commanding them to appear within forty days, fully armed, at Gisors. The barons and knights appeared at Gisors, equipped with horses and armor, with tents and pavilions, and with whatever else was necessary, on the day that the king had appointed.
When the king saw so many good men assemble to support him, he was very happy. He appointed sir Alain de Roucy, who had recently been released from prison in exchange for another knight, to lead the vanguard, and he appointed sir William of Barres as leader of the rear-guard. They invaded Normandy, and ravaged the countryside, setting fires everywhere, taking booty and peasants. No one stood in their way, but the fortresses resisted, since they had been well stocked by the peasants who fled to them with bulls, cows, sheep, and whatever they owned.
The king then decided that he would go to Mantes, to besiege it, and his war-machines went to work. When the besieged saw the king's power, they decided to surrender the castle, and it was surrendered, and the king garrisoned it with his own men. He then sent messengers to Pacy, which was nearby, demanding that they surrender the castle, threatening to hang everyone if the castle was not surrendered within three days. Knowing that Mantes had surrendered, when the people of Pacy heard the messengers, they said that they would willingly surrender. They gave them the keys to the castle, and the king garrisoned it with his own men.
When the people of Vernon, and Pont l'Arche, and Val de Rueil, and Gournai, and Louviers, and Gaillon, and Rouen, and the entire country, saw that king Philip had conquered Normandy, they decided to send to their lord, king John in England, to ask, in God's name, for help, or Normandy would be lost.
Having made this decision, they sent messengers to king John. When he heard what they had to say, he was deeply troubled, and he told the messengers that he would send help by saint John's day (it was then September). He had a letter written, and gave it to the messengers. They returned to Rouen, whose people were waiting for them, and the letter was read. When the leaders of the castle heard it, they were troubled, and decided that they would do nothing until the day set by the king. The leaders then departed, each to his own place, and they arranged things as best they could.
King Philip had his army led directly to Vernon, a very fine, strong, well situated castle, and he had them pitch their tents and pavilions in the meadow on the Seine, together with all the other barons. The king had his siege-engines put to work forcefully, but to little avail, since those inside the castle were well trained, and the castle was too strong. When the king saw what the situation was, he had the assault stopped, and swore to maintain the siege for seven years, while the people of Vernon watched and worried, because they knew very well that the king would not move from there until he captured the town by force. The king stayed there the entire winter, right up to saint John's day, when king John was supposed to come to help, but he did not come, nor did he send anyone.
When the leader of Vernon saw that they would get no help from their lord, and he saw that king John was worthless, and he also saw the power, intelligence, and wealth of king Philip, he asked him for safe-conduct to speak with him, and his request was granted. The leader came forth out of Vernon, with nine knights, and went directly to the tent of the king, greeting him, and saying: "Sir, I come here to speak to you. You have besieged Vernon, whose leader I am, and I am its protector for king John.
I want you to know that we have sent for help from him, and we have found neither help nor aid from him. Here are the keys to the castle, which I deliver to you, to do what you wish. Take it; I surrender it to you." The king was happy to accept them, and he entered the city, supplying it with his own men and whatever was necessary. He then traveled on to Rouen, intending to besiege the city, but the citizens of Rouen came to him and gave him the keys to the city.
Thus the king held all of Normandy, as far as Gaillard, which was too strong, located in a gorge at the intersection of three mountains. Only a small part was open to a siege, and it was entirely surrounded by the Seine. Catapults and siege engines could not be drawn up against it. When the king saw the castle and its location, which was very strong and easily defensible, he said: "By the lance of saint James, I have never seen a castle as strong and well located as this one; I see very clearly that I would spend all my resources before I could take it by force. However, I shall use something other than force. The earth and the land up to this castle have been conquered. I shall encircle it with my troops, and guard it so closely that no one will be able to get in or out, and the castle will be driven by hunger to surrender."
The king did as he said, surrounding the castle with many fine soldiers, guarding the entrances and exits of the castle for a year and three months. Those inside the city had so little food that they had only 12 beans as a daily ration. When the besieged saw that they could hold out no longer, and they were about to die of hunger, they went to the chatelain of Gaillard and said to him:
"Sir, we have almost nothing left to eat, we shall have no help from our wretched king John, the troops of king Philip do not dwindle, but rather they grow and increase daily, and he strengthens and reinforces them. It seems to us that from this point on we have no alternative but to surrender Gaillard." "Indeed," said the chatelain, "you speak in vain. As long as I am alive, I shall not surrender Gaillard, nor leave my post, unless dragged out feet first."
They went off into a room to consult with each other, and one of them said: "This chatelain is crazy; if we go along with his ideas, he'll get us all killed. Let us do this correctly; send a message to their troops that we shall surrender Gaillard, in return for a guarantee of our own safety." In the name of God," said the others, "you are right." Two of them were then chosen to carry the message.
That night, when everyone had gone to sleep, they left the castle and came to the place where the troops were encamped. They spoke to the leader, and told him what the situation was. They said that they wanted to surrender the castle, but the chatelain swore that as long as he lived he would refuse to surrender Gaillard, nor would he leave, unless he was thrown out feet first. "When we heard his words, we decided among ourselves to surrender Gaillard to you. Have your men arm themselves; we shall surrender immediately."
When the leader heard them, he said to them: "See to it that you are telling the truth, for, by the faith that I owe to king Philip, if I find that you are lying, you will pay dearly for it." "Sir," they said, "have no fear." The leader then ordered his men to arm themselves, and they moved stealthily and quietly towards Gaillard. The two messengers re-entered the castle, and told those who had sent them that the troops were at the gates. They went quickly to the gates, broke the locks, without the knowledge of the chatelain, and opened the gates; the king's troops poured in.
When the watchman saw them, he began to shout: "Betrayed, betrayed!" Hearing the shout, the chatelain of Gaillard was frightened, and feared that he had been betrayed. He quickly armed himself and his entourage, and went directly to where the shouts were coming from. When he saw the king's men, he drew out his sword and rushed at them, striking to the left and to the right, doing remarkable deeds of arms. When the king's men saw him, they attacked him in great force, and he received more than 30 wounds in his body. Still he fought as best he could, but his best efforts were unavailing, since he was outnumbered twenty to one by the king's troops, and his own had abandoned him.
The chatelain was struck down, and his horse was killed; he was captured and bound, and the castle was taken, and the troops, with all their equipment, left. But the chatelain refused to leave, no matter what anyone said to him, and it was necessary to drag him out by his feet. In this way, as you have heard, Gaillard was captured, and when king Philip heard the news, he was overjoyed. When he heard about the chatelain's behavior, he gave him back his post, and doubled his wages, as a reward for his loyalty. From this point on, the king held Normandy and the entire country, nor did anyone resist him.
After a while, king Philip held a meeting at Laon, and many barons attended it. Count Walter of Saint Paul and count Renaud of Boulogne, who detested each other, started an argument in the king's presence, and the count of Saint Paul punched count Renaud in the face, drawing blood. Count Renaud struck back at him vigorously, but noblemen stepped between them, and, unable to take vengeance, he departed from the court without taking leave.
When the king heard that count Renaud had left, he was troubled, and he said that the count of Saint Paul had been wrong, and he blamed him. He sent brother Garin, the bishop of Senlis, to Dom Martin, one of count Renaud's castles, where the count was staying, and when brother Garin arrived, he said to him: "Sir, the king sent me here because of the discord between you and the count of Saint Paul, which bothers him, and he promises to make honorable amends for it to you."
"Brother Garin, I clearly understand what the king is offering me through you, and I think that you are a trustworthy messenger. However, I would like you to understand, and to tell the king, that if the blood which fell from my face to the earth does not spontaneously return whence it fell, and the blow is not annulled, as though it had never been, no peace or harmony will ever be established.
"Indeed," said brother Garin, your request is excessive and imnpossible. For God's sake, take the offer that the king is making to you." "Sir bishop," said the count, "be quiet, for, if you say anymore, I shall never love you." "Certainly I shall be quiet, "brother Garin said, "and do you know what will happen to you? You will lose the love of the king and your honor in the world."
Brother Garin then departed from count Renaud, came back to king Philip, and told him of the count's response. When the king heard it, he swore on the lance of saint James that this discord would have terrible results. For a long time things remained this way, with nothing more coming of it. Count Renaud continued to look for some way to do harm and shame to the count of Saint Paul, but he could not find the occassion.
When he saw that the king supported him entirely, he decided to perform a treacherous act, and he went to count Ferrand of Flanders, who was the son of the king of Portugal, and held his title through his wife, countess Jean, the daughter of king Baldwin. He led him to believe that the king was going to take from him Arras, Peronne, Saint Omer, Aire, Hesdin, and Bapaumes (Pas de Calais). He also led him to believe that count Baldwin, who had given him this land as a gift for marrying his sister, was powerless, and could not disinherit his blood heir.
When count Ferrand heard him say this, he believed him, like the fool that he was; he coveted the land, and had an excessively high opinion of himself. The two of them discussed making an alliance with king John of England, and with the emperor Otto, who contended that king Philip had promised to give him Oreans, Estampes, and Chartres on the day that he became emperor. Hugh of Bouves joined the alliance, and they assembled so many men that the earth seemed to tremble under them. Count Ferrand sent a message to king Philip, asking him to surrender to him the good towns named above, or else he would challenge him. He knew very well that the king would attack his land in a few days.
When he heard this challenge, the king had his men summoned, and asked their advice in this matter. The barons replied that the count had offered a great insult, since the count was the king's vassal. "Do not hesitate to carry out justice against him. We know very well that count Renaud has done this foolish thing because of his battle with the count of Saint Paul. Therefore we urge you to go to Flanders, and entrench yourself in your city of Tournai, with as many of your men as you can assemble."
The king then summoned all of his vassals and all of his common people, and they gathered on a Saturday outside of Tournai, in tents and pavilions. When Ferrand and his supporters knew that the king was at Tournai, he was very happy, for he thought that he had caught him in his net. He offered to fight on the next day. When the king heard this, he was bothered by the idea of fighting on a Sunday, and he sent brother Garin to ask for a delay until Monday. The count said that he would do nothing of the sort, for the king wanted to flee. Brother Garin departed, and count Renaud accompanied him part of the way.
When count Renaud returned, sir Hugh of Boves spoke to him in the presence of the emperor Otto and the count of Flanders. "Ah! count of Boulogne," he said, "what kind of treachery have you and brother Garin made up between you?" The count replied: "You have certainly lied, like the false traitor that you are, and you may certainly be expected to speak like that, since you are descended from Ganelon. You know very well that if the battle takes place, I shall either die or be captured, but you, you will flee, like a weakling and a coward."
The argument continued, and brother Garin returned to the king and said to him: "Sir, may God help you now! You will have a battle tomorrow without fail. Draw up your batallions, for you need them." The king then drew up his troops, putting the ten bravest men he had in charge of them. The emperor Otto, count Ferrand, and count Renaud, count William Longsword (who was the brother of the king of England, who had sent men there in his place, because he could not come himself, having gone to Poitou a la Roche, to fight sir Louis, who was giving him much trouble), these great lords whom I have named for you here cut France up among themselves, like a boiled roast.
Count Ferrand wanted Paris, count Renaud wanted Normandy, the emperor wanted Orleans, Chartres, and Estampes, and Hugh of Boves wanted Amiens. Each chose his piece. But God works quickly; the man who laughs in the morning cries in the evening. From Saturday until Sunday morning the king organized his people, and brought them out of Tournai, armed, with their banners flying, trumpets sounding, and their formations all in order.
They marched until they came to a small bridge, called the bridge at Bouvine, where the king stopped to hear mass at a chapel, for it was still morning. The king had the bishop of Tournai sing mass, and the king listened to the mass wearing full armor. When the mass was over, the king had bread and wine brought in, and he sopped up some wine with a piece of bread and ate it, and he said to those around him: "I beg my loyal friends to eat with me, in memory of the twelve apostles who ate and drank with Our Lord Jesus Christ. If anyone has any evil or treachery in mind, let him not approach this spot."
Sir Enguerrand de Couci came forward and took the first sop. Count Walter of Saint Paul took the second, and said to the king: "Sir, today we shall see who will betray you." He said this because he knew very well that the king suspected him because of evil rumors he had heard. The count of Sancerre took the third, and then all the other barons took theirs. There was such a great crowd that it was hard to get to the goblet.
When the king saw this, he was very happy, and he said: "Gentlemen, you are all my men, and I am your lord, such as I am. I have loved you much, and honored you much, and given generously to you from my treasury. I have never done you any wrong, but have always behaved justly towards you. For God's sake, I beg you to guard my life and my honor and your own. If you think that the crown would prosper better with one of you rather me as king, I would willingly grant it to that man, with all my heart, and with all my will."
When the barons heard him speak like this, they began to weep with pity, and they said: "Sir, for God's mercy, we want no other king than you. Ride bravely against your enemies, for we are ready to die with you." The king then mounted a strong, reliable horse, and all the barons mounted their horses, their banners flying, each one in order.
The Flemish moved along, confused and in disorder, one in front of the other, carrying ropes with which to tie up the French. The king himself moved along towards the side of the hill, because the sun was in his eyes, and when the Flemish saw him turn towards the hill, they decided among themselves to flee. They attacked the French as best they could, and the French stood their ground energetically, and, in a short while, the first Flemish troops were defeated.
The count of Saint Paul attacked the army, and took them from behind, falling upon them like a hungry lion, doing remarkable feats of arms single-handedly. All the other nobles also performed blamelessly. The seneschal of Champagne, Oudart of Reson, who carried the standard of Champagne, and was rightfully entitled to lead the first attack, moved so far in front that he fought with count Renaud, and had a remarkable battle with him.
Now the count of Saint Paul, who had surprised them, recognized the banner of count Renaud. These were the two men who most hated each other in the entire land, on whose account this discord had originated.
When count Renaud saw him, he was so happy that he would not have wanted to hold God by the feet. They fought fiercely against each other, and would have done great harm to each other had they fought for any length of time.
Now the king's forces grew stronger, and the Flemish weaker, for they were in the wrong, and were in disarray. The armies came together from all directions, and the commotion was very great. However, the count of Saint Paul pressed on until he captured count Renaud by brute force; when he was captured the Flemish lost heart. The French rejoiced, and attacked Ferrand's battalion; he was captured, along with the count of Poitou, sir William Longsword, and many important noblemen who are not mentioned in the tale.
When emperor Otto saw that everyone had been trapped, he turned his horse and fled, together with Hugh of Boves. The emperor returned to Germany, and died after a time, poor and unfortunate, in a house of God. Hugh of Boves embarked on the sea, to go to England to see the king. God, however, who rewards those who do good, and not those who do evil, prevented him from carrying out his purpose, by raising a great storm at sea. Hugh was drowned, and the rest of his army was defeated and captured.
When the king heard that Ferrand, count Renaud, the count of Poitou and William Longsword had been captured, together with many other high-ranking men, he said: "Why don't we have the emperor?" Although he had never been officially named emperor, he said this in the interest of a greater victory, for there is more honor in conquering an emperor than in conquering a vavasour.
The battle over, the king returned to Tournai, very pleased, together with all of his prisoners; the Flemish were very distressed. This defeat took place in the year of Our Lord 1214, in the month of June, the second Sunday, and on that day sir Louis defeated king John at Roche aus Moines in Poitou.
The next day the king ordered Lille to be burned, and all the good towns of Flanders to be occupied and garrisoned with French troops. The king returned to France with all of his prisoners, placing Ferrand in the Louvre in Paris, to keep him firmly locked up. He had count Renaud imprisoned in Goulet, because he wanted Normandy, and the others he had imprisoned wherever he pleased. From that point on king Philip ruled in peace, and was feared and respected everywhere.
Now we shall speak of the evil king John of England, who dishonored his nobles, raping their wives and daughters, depriving them of their lands, and generally behaving in ways that made him detestable to God, and to men everywhere. The barons of England met and decided to send emissaries to king Philip, offering the kingdom of England to him; they promised to give their own children as hostages, and to help him conquer the kingdom. Choosing from among themselves the two wisest and bravest men, they sent them to king Philip, and they told him what the barons of England had in mind.
The king told them that he would take the matter under advisement. After due consideration, he said that he had enough land, and that he would not involve himself in the matter. When my lord Louis saw that his father would not involve himself, he said to him: "Sir, if you please, I would take up this task." "By the lance of saint James," said the king, "do what you please, but I don't believe that you will succeed, for the English are treacherous criminals, and never keep their word." "Sir," said my lord Louis, "may God's will be done."
Louis then said to the two emissaries: "Gentlemen, if you would like, I shall take up this task, and accomplish it, with God's aid, and with yours." "By God," said the emissaries, "we could not ask for anyone better." Each then gave pledges to the other, and they sent letters to all the English nobility that they would bring and deliver to them my lord Louis. They also gave their word that they would send their children as hostages, within a month after they had returned to England.
The emissaries departed, crossed the sea, and arrived at London. The barons assembled, and they told them what they had accomplished, and the barons said that they had done well. In accordance with the agreement, the children of the barons were sent as hostages, and my lord Louis saw to it that they were looked after well and honorably. He then had a large fleet prepared, and gathered whatever was necessary for making war. He assembled many men, some of whom fought out of love for him, some for pay, and some because of kinship. He was joined by the count of Perche, the count of Montfort, the count of Chartres, the count of Monbleart, my lord Enguerrand of Couci, and by many other high-ranking nobles whom I will not mention.
They embarked upon the sea on a Monday morning, and arrived in the evening at Dover, moving so quickly that no one perceived them. They pitched tents and pavilions on the shore. When those in the castle saw them, they wondered who they might be, and they took up arms, went to the battlements on the sturdy walls, and took up positions, like men ready to defend their lives and the castle. The next day, my lord Louis attacked the castle with siege-engines, but to no avail. They were there ten days, with no results.
When my lord Louis and his advisers saw what was happening, they decided to lift the siege and travel directly to London, to lay siege to it. He ordered them to pack their tents and gear, had them brought to London, and there they laid siege to the city from three sides. The besieged vigorously prepared a defense, guarding the gates and walls, and they quickly sent to their lord for help. He replied that he could not help them, because the barons had abandoned him for my lord Louis.
When the people of London heard this news, they immediately surrendered the city, and the entire army entered and took up lodgings in the city. However, my lord Louis issued a warning that no one should take a thing, and they stayed there eight days; on the ninth day the army went to Lincoln. The count of Perche took charge of the vanguard, and charged at all the gates; the troops within came out and attacked them, and many knights were struck and pierced by lances, and they were killed, and fell, along with foot-soldiers who were also killed. The count of Perche was killed by a peasant, who lifted the visor of his helmet, and killed him with a knife. The vanguard was defeated by the death of the count. When my lord Louis heard of this, he had greater grief than he had ever had, for the count was his dearest friend.
After a siege of thirteen days, Lincoln was captured, and garrisoned with good men. For two and one half years he went through England, capturing seven cities, and many, many towns and villages. During this time king John sent great amounts of treasure to Rome, and he offered to give to the Pope, in perpetuity, four sterling pennies of rent for every household, for God's help in their affairs.
When the Pope and the brothers saw the great treasure that the king had sent, and the offer of of great perpetual income, which easily amounted to 1000 marks sterling a year, the apostle and the brothers were overjoyed. He sent a message to my lord Louis, ordering him to return to France, or he and his supporters would be excommunicated. My lord Louis did not consider the apostle's order worth a pea, but continued to conquer the land. The apostle had him, as well as all those who supported him in any way, thoroughly excommunicated throughout all of Christendom.
When my lord Louis had spent all that he had, and had no more money, he sent to his father, asking him, for God's sake, to help him by sending him some money. The king replied that, by the lance of saint James, to avoid being excommunicated, he would do nothing for him. When my lady Blanche heard this, she went to the king and said to him: "Will you permit my lord your son to die in a foreign country? Sir, for God's sake! he should rule after you, send him what he needs, at least the rents on his patrimony." "Blanche, I certainly shall have nothing to do with this," said the king. "No, sir?" "No indeed," said the king. "In the name of God," said my lady Blanche, I know very well what I shall do." "What shall you do?" said the king. "By the blessed mother of God, I have fine children by my lord; I shall pawn them, and shall easily find someone to lend me money in exchange for them."
The queen went out, like a madwoman, and when the king saw her go, he knew that she had spoken the truth. He had her called back, and he said to her: "Blanche, I shall give you from my treasury whatever you want, and do with it what you wish and what you think best. But understand, that I shall send nothing directly to him." "Sir," said my lady Blanche, you speak well." The great treasure was then given to my lady Blanche, and she sent it to her lord.
When king John saw that he had lost his entire land, he sent for the barons and asked for their mercy, telling them that he would improve things for them, doing what they wished, putting the entire kingdom, with all the fortresses, in their hands, if they would, for God's sake, have mercy on him. When the barons saw him humble himself so before them, they took pity on him; it is an old saying that a true heart cannot lie, and a lawful lord is preferred to a foreign one. Therefore they accepted his oath to improve his behavior, in accordance with their wishes, and to place his entire kingdom in their hands, including the fortresses.
They went to my lord Louis, and they said to him: "Sir, you must understand that we can no longer permit harm to be done to our lord, for he wishes to change his behavior towards us. You must understand that we shall no longer help you, but we shall oppose you." When my lord Louis heard them, he became enraged, and said to them: "What is this, fine lords, have you betrayed me?" They replied: "It is better that we break our contract than that we permit our lord to lose his heritage and be destroyed. For God's sake, leave, do the wise thing; for you to remain in this country is not the right thing for you."
When my lord Louis saw that there was no alternative, he had his boats prepared, and returned to France. A short time later he went to Toulouse, together with a large contingent of his nobility, including count Thibault of Champagne, the count of Saint Paul, the count of Sancerre, the count of Nevers, and many other high-ranking nobles. They remained before Toulouse for a long time, but the gates remained shut against all of them. Having gotten nothing accomplished, they returned, with less wealth, and more shame.
At this time the king of France held a meeting at Mantes, around the holiday of the Madeleine; many great nobles attended, as well as 48 bishops and archbishops. Death, who spares no one, neither the great men or the little ones, came to show his power to the king. On his death bed he confessed and repented his evil deeds. He made his will, leaving one third of his fortune, which was very large, to the overseas territories. Another third he left to the poor, and the last third he left to govern and protect the crown of France. He surrendered his worthy soul to Our Lord, for He was made manifest to any fine man to whom the Holy Spirit had granted grace.
The body of the king was buried and prepared as the body of a great king should be, and it was carried by high-ranking men and knights to Saint-Denis in France. At each resting place a cross with his image was drawn. Archbishop William of Joinville sang mass, and buried him with his own hand. His tomb was made of pure gold and silver, and his body was carried to it royally. 48 bishops were engraved in high relief on the four sides of the tomb, dressed to sing mass, mitres on their heads and croziers in their hands.
Here we shall turn from king Philip, may God help his soul, who died three days after the Madeline, in the year 1223, having reigned 47 years. He was 16 when he was crowned. From this point on we shall speak of my lord Louis, and of my lady Blanche, his wife, who was the daughter of the king of Spain, who had four children, of whom the eldest was named Philip, the second Louis, the third Robert, and the fourth Aufort. Philip the elder died at the age of 15. The lady was pregnant with a daughter named Isabel, who did not want to get married, preferring to remain a virgin and to do good works.
Now let us return to our subject matter. My lord Louis made preparations for himself and his wife to be crowned at Rheims. He had his vassals summoned to appear at his coronation on the octave in the middle of August. The greatest nobles and the greatest crowd of people that had ever been at a coronation came to Rheims. My lord Louis and my lady Blanche his wife were consecrated and anointed by the holy vial that God sent from the heavens to my lord saint Remigius to anoint Clovis, who was the first Christian king of the kingdom of France. They were anointed by the hand of archbishop William of Joinville, who was archbishop of Rheims at that time.
Then they were brought into the palace while eight trumpets sounded, and the most beautiful, most elaborate meal was served that had ever been prepared for a royal coronation. The nobility was dressed in clothing more beautiful than anyone had ever seen. The next day the court departed, and the king and queen went to France, to be welcomed in Paris with great solemnity.
Archbishop William of Joinville, who had to pay the expenses of the coronation, asked and demanded them of the bishopric of Rheims, and said that they should pay them. For this purpose he called on John the Cleric of Bourc, the archdeacon of Sarcu, the dean, Peter of Lageri, and the chanter of Rheims, to bear false witness, and they testified with their seals. However, the bishopric of Rheims, that is, Voisins li Cos, Jacques li Borgnes, Cochons de Monlorent, Walter the King, Corbiaus Piches, Gerald li Coutres, Witiers li Cras, Wedes de Verselai, Cauchons Voisins, and their other companions, would not permit this. Instead, they went to the king, and told him how the archbishop wanted to involve them in wrongdoing.
The king said that he did not want the burghers of Rheims to pay for the coronation if they were not supposed to do so, and he sent my lord Renaud of Beronne, who was one of his advisers, to found out who had paid for the coronation of king Philip, whether it had been the archbishop or the burghers. He went to Rheims, and appeared at the Temple, where the archbishop and the burghers had assembled.
My lord Renaud of Beronne asked the old men of Rheims, and found out, by diligent inquiry, that the archbishop had paid for the coronation. Then the letters of false attestations, which the archdeacon, the dean, and the chanter had given to the archbishop, on the advice of the chapter, were given to the members of the bishopric, who tore them up, in full view of everyone present, and the archbishop proceeded to pay the expenses of the coronation without any further resistance.
Now let us return to king Louis, a brave and fine man, who suffered much in his life. After he became king, he had a son whose name was Charles, who became count of Anjou. In the year that he was born, the king went to La Rochelle in Poitou, and captured it by force, and the king still holds it.
A remarkable thing then happened in Flanders; several great lords planned treachery, out of envy of countess Jeanne of Flanders. They took an old man and placed him in seclusion in the forest of Mormail, where he remained a long time, and they led him to believe that they would make him count of Flanders.
He asked them how that would come about, and they replied that they would convince the people that he was count Baldwin, the countess' father, who had gone to Constantinople a long time ago, "and you escaped from the prison of Vatage, and came to this forest to do your penance." They taught him how to reply to those who asked him about his experiences. However, trickery cannot be concealed forever. Like a fool, the old man placed his faith in them, for he could only come out of this badly, as you will hear.
The traitors about whom I have told you spread the news throughout the country that this was count Baldwin, and, in a short time, the whole country knew about him, and a remarkably large number of people came to take him out of his hermitage, and they brought him to Valencienne. There they made a scarlet, furred robe for him, mounted him on a fine horse, and led him through all the good towns of Flanders, paying all of his expenses. All of Flanders honored him as their lord, and they were very pleased with him.
After he had exercised his lordship for a long time, he heard that the countess was at Haimmon [ Cainoi. Mysterious location in Flanders. ] When he knew that she was seated at dinner, the false count had his men mount up to go after her and capture her, but one of her friends warned her. She had so little time to escape that she had to ride on a pack-horse, to flee to Mons in Hainault, where she received refuge.
When the countess saw what the situation was, she sent to the king, who was her cousin by blood, asking that he help her, for God's sake, for otherwise she would lose her land. When the king heard this, he decided to summon the man who called himself count Baldwin of Flanders to meet with him at Peronne, with a safe-conduct for going and coming; he said that if he was his uncle, he would be very happy, and he would permit him to receive the income from his land. He sent a messenger with the invitation, which was accepted; the count said that he would come.
He did come, with many men, and he rode on a dark palfrey, and he was dressed in a scarlet cape, lined with fur and green silk, with a fine hat on his head, and he held a white branch in his hand. He seemed like a remarkably fine man as he entered the court, accompanied by a great crowd of people. He dismounted and entered the hall, his ushers before him, like a great man, and his arrival was announced to the king.
When the king heard the announcement, he came out of his room to meet him, and he said to him: "Sir, if you are my uncle Baldwin, who should be emperor of Constantinople, king of Thessalonica, and count of Flanders and Hainault, you are welcome." "Fine nephew," he replied, "you have had good fortune of God and from your dear mother, and truly it is I, who should be all of these things if justice be done. However, my daughter wants to take my land from me, nor does she want to recognize me a her father. Therefore, dear nephew, I beg you to help me keep what is rightly mine."
"Certainly," said the king, "I have not come here to take her side, but it is only right to know the truth about you, since it has been, as I understand it, easily 50 years since my uncle, count Baldwin went to Constantinople and was captured, and very few are alive today who were alive then." "I am certainly willing," he said, "to tell the truth." "In the name of God," said the king, "you speak well."
Brother Garin, the bishop of Senlis, said: "We ask you in what town did you marry your wife?" When he heard this question, he had to think, because he had not been instructed on this point, and he did not know how to answer. He said that he wished to go to sleep. He thought that he would ask those who had taught him his part, but things did not turn out that way, because he was given a separate room in which to sleep alone, and the doors were guarded carefully, so that no one could enter.
In the morning he was asked if he wished to respond to the question that had been asked, and he became angry, and said that he wished to leave. The king graciously granted his wish, and the fool departed from the king and returned to Valencienne, from which he had set out, to the abbey of saint John. That night, at the third hour, he fled to Rheims in Burgundy, where he had been born. The king returned to France, convinced that the man was an imposter.
For a year and a half nothing was heard of the man. Then a squire of the lord of Chasenai saw him on market-day at Chasenai; he pointed him out to his lord, and said: "Sir, there is the man who made himself count Baldwin of Flanders." "Quiet, what the devil! you're lying, it cannot be." "Sir," said the squire, "hang me by the neck if it's not true." "Indeed," my lord Erard said, "then take him. By saint James, this is going to give me pleasure." The squires seized him and put him in prison, and they saw that it really was him.
My lord Erard had a letter written, telling the countess of Flanders that he had captured the impostor. When the countess heard this, she was very glad, and she had a letter written in which she promised to give to my lord Erard of Chasenai 1000 marks of silver, to be placed entirely at his own disposal, if he sent him to her. My lord Erard sent him immediately, and kept the letters which he later needed very much, for the countess did not keep her word, and it cost him as much as he received in payment.
When the countess had in her grip her father who did not know the name of the city in which he married her mother, she asked him where he came from, and whose plan he had been carrying out. He said that his name was Bertrand of Rheims, and he had done it on the advice of knights, ladies, and clerics, who had taken him from the hermitage where he had gone to save his soul. "Indeed," said the countess, "you behaved like a fool; you wanted to be a count for no good reason."
She had him stripped then, and dressed in a jacket of coarse material, without stripes. Then she had his belt and shoes removed, and everyone could see that he had no toes on his feet. He was mounted on a nag and led through the city, on the holiday of Lille, which was going on at that time, and he said, in front of each home: "Hear this wretch. I am Bertrand of Rheims in Burgundy, a poor man, who should not be king, count, or emperor; what I did I did as part of a plan devised by the knights, ladies, and citizens of this country."
Then he was placed on a pillory, especially constructed in the middle of the market-place of Lille, and two large dogs were placed on either side of him, one to his right, and the other on his left. He was then hanged on a brand-new chain, made out of iron so that it would not break, and he hanged there for a year or more. Now we shall leave this fool who performed so stupidly; they say that whoever made him do this foolishness had very little brain.
Now we shall tell you of king Louis, who hardly ever rested. News came to him that the people of Avignon had revolted against him, and they had captured and killed his troops from the surrounding garrisons. The king ordered them to come to him and make amends, and they told him that they would do nothing for him, nor would they obey him in any way.
When the king heard the prideful response of the people of Avignon, he became very angry, and he summoned his vassals and those who owed him friendship and homage, and he assembled a remarkably large army. Archbishop William of Joinville eagerly joined him, as did count Guy of Saint Paul, who was a fine, brave, loyal knight, and many other important nobles. The king then went to Avignon and besieged the city; those in the city were well supplied and had no fear of him. After more than a year and a half, the king had done them little harm, and he decided to mount an assault on the city. The siege engines were drawn up, and they fired large stones into the city.
That night count Guy of Saint Paul stood watch, and the besieged began to fire their engines at the besiegers. Unfortunately, count Guy of Saint Paul had gone to observe the bombardement, and one of the stones launched by those within the city struck him on the head and decapitated him. His body was brought to the king's tent, and when the king saw that he was dead, he became insanely angry. No living man might calm him down, for he had loved the count deeply, and with good reason, for the count had been a highly accomplished, virtuous man.
The body of the count of Saint Paul was stripped of its armor, cleaned, embalmed, placed in a large coffin, and carried to Longue Eau, to a priory of nuns which he had founded, and there he was given an honorable burial. The assault began again, and both sides agreed to a truce, to last 15 days. The king then swore, in the presence of all, that if the city did not surrender before the truce expired, and he captured the city by force, they would all be put to death by the sword.
When the people of Avignon saw the king take this oath, because of his rage at the death of the count, they decided to surrender the city to the king, on condition that their lives be spared, for they understood that they could not defend it very much longer. When they surrendered it, the king had the walls razed, and he installed his troops, who were to be maintained at the expense of the people of Avignon. He then left as quickly as he could, for the place was entirely infected with disease, and many people died there. The count of Namur, and that was a pity, and many other powerful men died there.
The king and the archbishop of Rheims returned, gravely ill; they were carried in litters as far as Montpellier, one of the king's strong castles, and they were unable to travel any further. There the king died, may God aid his soul! and the prophesy of Merlin was accomplished, which said that the sweet lion of France would die at Montpellier. He was truly the sweet lion, and he was exceedingly brave, and he performed feats worthy of a king. The body of the king was embalmed with balsam, and carried to Saint-Denis, where it was buried with great ceremony next to his father. The archbishop survived the king by only three days, and he was brought to Clairvaux, where he was buried in the common cemetery.
Here we shall stop speaking of the dead, and speak of the living instead; queen Blanche grieved deeply for the king's death, and that was not strange, since she had lost so very much. Her children were small, and she was a woman alone in a foreign country. On her borders she had count Philip Hurupel of Boulogne, count Robert of Dreves, his brother, count of Macon, lord of Courtnai, my lord Enguerrand of Coucy, and all of the great nobility of the time; she feared them all very much.
She summoned the princes of the realm in whom she had the greatest trust, and who were the worthiest men, and she said to them: "Good gentlemen, my lord is dead, which is bad for you and bad for me. Therefore I ask you what I should do, for I am in great need." "Lady," said the barons, have your son Louis crowned at Rheims; we shall all go there, fully armed, and he will be crowned, no matter who objects." The decision was made to crown the child, who was 14 years old, on saint Andrew's day, in the year of the incarnation of Our Lord 1226.
They came to Rheims on that day, and the child was crowned by bishop James of Soissons, for the see was empty at that time. They paid homage to the king, and to the queen, since she had the guardianship, and the barons were greatly envious that she had the power. At this time also, Henry of Brienne was elected archbishop of Rheims, and he did much harm to the citizens of Rheims; while he was alive they had no peace. He was archbishop fourteen years, and he died around saint John's day, 1240.
Now let us return to the barons, who were plotting evil against the queen of France. They often held meetings, at which they said that no one in France could harm them, since the king and his brothers were young, and they thought little of the mother. They got together and led the count of Boulogne to believe that they would make him king; he was not very smart, so he believed them.
They decided among themselves to attack count Thibault of Champagne, accusing him of the death of king Louis, whom, they would charge, he had abandoned treacherously at Avignon. If they could kill or capture him, they would have no resistance to overcome in the kingdom. They proceeded with their plan, and the count of Boulogne sent two knights with a message of defiance to count Thibault, demanding immediate satisfaction for the death of his brother.
Shocked by this, the count had his men summoned, and he asked them what he should do. His men replied badly, for they had been suborned by the other barons. When the count saw and heard their unresponsive faces and their weak replies, he lost all heart, but he covered up his true feelings.
He ordered them to destroy an arch of the bridge of Bainson, and to build barbicans and defenses on the bridge, and he ordered count Huon of Retest to guard the crossing, but he did not do his job well. Count Thibault supplied troops for Fimes, and put Simon of Trelou in charge of them. He also put his troops in Monwimer (Mont Aime, pres Vertu, Marne), and this group was most loyal to him. He set out toward Provins (Seine-et-Marne), where he had the gates locked firmly and quickly, and he remained there, because he did not know whom to trust.
Here we shall turn for a while from count Thibault, and tell you about the barons, who assembled a remarkably large army. They came directly to Fimes, and laid siege to it, remaining there a long time. Finally it surrendered, and they had it mined, and burned, but the tower was so strong that it would not fall, but remained standing. Then they set out for the bridge at Bainson, but they could not cross because it was too well fortified.
When count Hugh of Saint Paul saw that they could not cross the bridge, he went up the Marne a bit to Rueil, and he and his men first crossed there. However, they had to fight perhaps ten knights of the entourage of the count of Retest, who defended the crossing as best they could. Their resistance was useless, for the count of Saint Paul crossed the river. When the count of Retest saw them cross, he turned his back and fled. Li Moignes de Mongon was destroyed and captured there.
Finally they all crossed over, for the Marne was shallow at that time. They went on to Epernay, broke into it, and took great booty, much of which came to Rheims, which profited greatly by it. They then went to Dammeri, which was occupied. From there they went to Sesanne, and they found it entirely empty, for count Thibault had set fire to it. The men of Monwimer put up great resistance to them.
Then they set out for Provins, but their supply of food was running out, and the people of Monwimer intercepted whatever was sent to them from Rheims, which offered them their strongest support, for archbishop Henry was helping them with all his strength. Thus they burned the country of Champagne, and no one could resist them.
When queen Blanche clearly understood that they were doing this to take over the kingdom of France, and she also knew that my lord Enguerrand de Coucy had had a crown made with which he intended to be crowned, even though they had led the count of Boulogne to believe that they would make him king (but they say that evil men may not harm the man whom God wishes to aid), she decided to defend the land of Champagne and of Brie, for the count of Champagne was her kin, and was the king's man.
She assembled a large army four leagues from Troyes, and she and the king joined it there. She ordered the count of Boulogne and the other barons not to be foolhardy enough to betray the faith they owed to the king, and she told them that she was ready to do justice to the count of Champagne if they knew what they wanted from him. They replied that they would not argue about it, saying that a woman who had murdered her husband usually married the murderer more willingly than any other man.
Perceiving their treason, the count of Boulogne said: "Indeed, you speak badly; what you are asking of the count is not clear. On the other hand, we would be perjuring ourselves towards the king if we did anything in defiance of the prohibition which has been issued to us. Moreover, the king is my nephew, my brother's son, and my liege lord, and I am his man. Therefore let me make it perfectly clear that I am not on your side, and I am not part of your plot, but I shall always serve my king with all my loyal ability."
When the barons heard the count speak this way, they looked at one another, and were shocked. They said to the count, who was their leader: "Sir, you have treated us badly, for you will have peace with the queen, and we shall have lost our land." "In the name of God," said the count, "it is better to stop behaving foolishly than to continue such behavior." He had a letter written and sent to the queen, telling her that he would not violate the king's command, and he was ready to do what they ordered.
When the queen was informed of this, she was very happy. The count of Boulogne left the barons, and the barons departed, each returning unhappily to his own land, since they had not accomplished their will, but had instead acquired the queen's ill will. She knew very well how to hate and how to love men according to what they deserved, rewarding them accordingly for what they did.
Thus the plot failed, and the count of Champagne lived in peace. A short time later, his mother, countess Blanche died; a year later, king Sancho of Navarre, his uncle, died. The count was summoned by the barons of Navarre, and they made him king at Pampeluna, according to the custom of the country.
He had as wife the countess of Aubourc, before he became king, and he sent her away, taking in her place the daughter of my lord Ymbert of Biaugeu; she was the niece of the king of Navarre. She died, but she had a daughter who was married to count Perron le Clerc, who is now count of Britanny. Thibault then married the daughter of Archambault of Bourbon, and with this lady he had six children, the eldest of whom was named Thibault, the second Peter, the third Henry, the fourth William, the eldest daughter Alice, and the second daughter Cecilia. .ce XXXIV
Here we shall turn from the king of Navarre, to tell you about the king of France, who was now 20 years old. The queen decided that he should marry, and he took as his wife the eldest of the four daughters of the count of Provence. King Henry of England married the second daughter, his brother, count Richard, who is now king of Germany, married the third, and the count of Anjou, the brother of the king of France, married the youngest daughter, taking with her the county of Provence, for it was the custom of the country for the youngest child to inherit everything if there was no male heir.
The lady whom the king of France took as his wife was named Margaret, and she was a very fine, wise woman. With her the king had eight children, five sons and three daughters. The eldest son's name was Louis, the second Philip, the third Peter, the fourth John, and the fifth Robert. The eldest of the ladies was named Isabelle, and she was married to the king of Navarre; the second daughter's name was Marguerite, and she was given to the son of the duke of Brabant; the third daughter's name was Blanche.
Now we shall turn from the children (may God protect them!) and return to the king of Navarre, who had married his daughter to the son of [DeWailly has added fil le to the MS] count Mauclerc of Britanny. They were together much of the time, and the king of Navarre relied entirely on his advice. He led him to believe that the king of France was going to take four fiefs at Blois from him, and he allied himself with him, telling him that he would get them back if he was willing to trust him, for between the two of them, together with their allies, they would have power over the king. The king of Navarre foolishly believed him, for he would had been in trouble if queen Blanche had not reconciled him to her son. Now you will hear how the king of Navarre behaved foolishly. He shut up Meaux, garrisoned his castles, and asked the king to give him back his fiefs at Blois, in which matter he had wronged him, as he said. The king replied that he had done nothing wrong, and if he wished to lodge a complaint, he would have the peers render a decision. The king of Navarre did not want to do this, but said that he would take care of this when he could, and he took possession of his fiefs. When the king heard about this, he had his vassals summoned, and he directed them to bring catapults and battering rams, and the great siege-engine d'Aubermarle, that the count of Boulogne had had constructed, to Mousterel, at the crossing of the Yonne, and he had his entire army brought there directly.
When the queen knew of this, and she saw that the king was willing to listen to her advice, she told the king of Navarre to come to her, and she would arrange a peace for him. He came without delay, and as he entered the hall at Paris, a man came forward and struck him in the face with a cheese that he took from a basket; he was operating under the orders of the count of Artois, who hated the king of Navarre. The king of Navarre, smeared with cheese, came before the queen, and said to her that this was the way he had been welcomed.
When the queen saw him, she was much troubled, and she ordered that the man who had done this be caught and put in the Chatelet, and she would take under advisement what should be done with him. As soon as the count of Artois heard about this, he had him freed. However, the queen established a peace, on condition that he pay all the king's expenses on this occasion, and that he would willingly give up the fiefs. The king held Mousterel and three castles, until he had made up all of his expenses.
The next year count Peter Mauclerc revolted against the court, spoke badly of the queen, and left the court in disgrace. When the king heard this, he was very unhappy, and he told the count to come to court in 40 days, to tell the king what his complaint was. The count replied that he would not go, and would send no one there, and he sent a note of defiance to the king by means of a priest.
When the 40 days had passed, the king assembled his army, and rode against the count, laying siege to Bellesme, and taking it by force. After that time it was never again captured. When the count saw what he had lost, he came to ask the king's mercy, offering to pay the king's expenses for the lost castle, and he threw himself at the king's feet, begging for mercy.
A short time later the count of la Marche, who received money from the king (he received 3000 pounds in the coinage of Tours yearly) to guard the borders facing Bordeaux, and because the king wanted to maintain friendly relations with him, declined to continue accepting the king's money. As they say, "the goat who lies in an uncomfortable position scratches." He sent for the king of England, who came to Bordeaux, and they prepared to invade Poitou, thinking that the king could not oppose them. They invaded Poitou, committing a crime against the king.
When the king heard of this, he was not surprised, but he went to face them, after assembling an army at Poitiers. From Poitiers he set out fully armed, more elaborately than any king of France who had ever set out from a fine city to go to war. The count of la Marche thought that the king was going to go to Lezinnon, one of his castles, which was very well protected. But the king decided to take the weakest castles and garrison them, and afterwards he would raid the countryside and prevent food from getting into Lezinnon, and thus he would capture it, for he knew that it had many troops and was very strong.
When the count of La Marche saw what the king was doing, he was very frightened, for he saw how shrewd the king was. He went towards Saintes, and provided it with knights and ordinary soldiers; then he went off to Pons, where the English king was. There they discussed the king, who was pressing them very hard, and they saw that they could not stand up to him.
Now we turn to the king's supporters, who had taken La Crosanne, one of the count's castles. They came to Saintes, and the count of Artois went forward, his banners flying. Those inside the city came forth against them, supported by many knights. There was a great struggle, in which there were losses and gains, and knights were captured on both sides. The defenders of the city, however, had the worse of it, for the count of Artois attacked with many knights, and the city was captured. When the king of England learned of this, he went off to Burgundy, where he set a strong guard over the ships, for he was afraid that the king of France might get past him. As quickly as he could, he returned to England, considering himself a coward for having returned.
When the count of La Marche saw that he had lost Saintes and four castles, and that the English king had failed him, as had my lord Renaud de Pons, as well as the lords of Taillebourc and of Mirabel, he thought that he had undertaken a misguided task, and he made peace with the king as quickly as he could. He came to ask for his mercy, offering to pay the king's expenses, for it is the custom of the king of France, when he fights any of his barons, to take by force, for himself, the rental income forever, and the baron must give the king all of his expenses before receiving peace from him. The king did this with all those who had revolted against him, and he had Saintes and the four castles well garrisoned, and returned to France. Not a baron in France or anywhere in the kingdom dared to resist him.
A short time later it happened that the king fell seriously sick, and he almost died. At that point he took the cross to go on a crusade; when he recovered, he prepared for the voyage, and had a crusade preached. Many powerful men took the cross: the count of Artois, the count of Poitiers, the count of Anjou, the count of Flanders, the count of Britanny, the count of Dreves, the count of Saint Pol, the count of Mountfort, the count of Vendome, the count of La Marche, my lord Gauchiers of Chatillon, Oliver of Termes, my lord Raoul of Couci, my lord Roger of Rosoi, my lord Raoul of Soissons, and so many other great lords that France was emptied of its nobility, and still has not recovered.
One thing the king did from which no good came: he agreed to a respite of three years which the knights requested of the legate, to postpone paying the debts they owed to the citizens, except for what the legate took for their faith. With this settled, they left to go overseas. Geoffrey of Boulogne, however, did not do this, but sold his duchy forever, and went overseas entirely at his own expense, without caring what the others were doing. This is what he did, and Scripture says that God never wants to be served by theft of any kind. [Perhaps a topos of generosity; see Langtoft's similar claim about Richard the Lion-Hearted. ]
When the king had prepared for his journey, he took his wallet and his staff at Notre Dame of Paris, and the bishop sang mass for him. The king, the queen, his brothers and their wives, with bare heads and bare feet, went out from Notre Dame, and the entire congregation and all the people of Paris accompanied them as far as Saint-Denis, weeping and in tears. There the king took leave of them, and sent them back to Paris, and he wept much when they left him.
But the queen his mother stayed with him, and traveled with him for three days, in spite of his resistance. Then he said to her: "Lovely, sweet mother, by the faith that you owe to me, go back now. I am leaving my three children for you to protect, Louis and Philip and Isabel, and I am leaving you in charge of the kingdom of France, and I am sure that you will guard the children and govern the kingdom well." Then the queen replied, weeping: "Lovely, sweet son, how will my heart be able to endure your leaving me? Surely it will be harder than stone if it does not break in two, for you have been the best son that any mother has ever had." With these words she fainted and fell to the ground, and the king lifted her up, kissed her, and tearfully took his leave of the queen. The queen fainted again, and was unconscious a long time. When she recovered, she said: "Lovely son, I shall never see you again; my heart tells me so." And she spoke the truth, for she died before he returned.
Now we shall tell you of the king, who traveled by short stages until he came to Aigues Mort, one of his ports near Marseilles. His boat was prepared, and he entered it, together with his entourage and no more. His brothers and their wives got into their boats, as did the other barons. They left port on a Tuesday morning, with 38 ships filled with fine, high-ranking men, without counting the boats with common people, and the boats with horses and food. They traveled until, by the grace of God, they arrived in Cyprus, and they disembarked at Limeson, a city in Cyprus, and they remained there for a year.
Then the king ordered everyone to get into the ships, and his orders were carried out. He sent sealed letters to the lord of each ship, and he ordered them not to read the letters until they were at sea. When they had moved out of the port, each opened his letter from the king. They saw that he had ordered them to go to Damietta, and each gave his sailors orders to sail there.
The sailors said that they would do this willingly, and they sailed directly to Damietta, arriving at the port in ten days. All of the boats arrived within a day and a half of each other, and entered the port. The port, however, was not easy to capture, for the boats could not approach the shore any closer than a lance-throw. When the inhabitants of Damietta saw them, they ran to take up arms, sounded a trumpet, and reached the shore. With their Turkish bows they began to fire arrows that fell like rain from the sky, and they held up the Christians for a while.
When the king saw the Christians stalled, he became totally enraged. With his feet together, completely armed, he jumped into the sea, his shield hanging around his neck, and his sword in his fist. Up to his waist in the water, he reached the shore, as pleased God. He attacked the Saracens, doing marvelous deeds of arms, and he seemed to perform miracles. When the Christians saw how the king was conducting himself, they piled into the water, reached the land, cried out "Monjoie," and attacked. They killed more Saracens than could be counted, as they quickly moved out from the ships.
When the Saracens saw that they could not stand up to them, they turned their backs and fled, entering Damietta and closing the gates. The Christians pitched their tents and set up their camp, and laid siege to the city for some time. The king ordered the siege-engines brought up, and his orders were carried out. For three days and three nights they fired upon the city without stopping, and the besieged showed no signs of putting up resistance.
The scouts of the king's army looked, and they said to the king: "Sir, we believe that there is no one in the city, for no one has appeared at the battlements or at the gates either by day or at night. If it please you, we shall climb ladders and enter the city, and then we shall know what the situation is." The king replied that this was a good thing to do, and he had the announcement made that everyone should be prepared to launch the assault the next day. The ladders were set up and they climbed the walls and entered the city without resistance, for the inhabitants had fled during the night, except for those who were old and sick.
When they entered the city they searched it through, and they found it well supplied with wines and food. When they reached the gates, they opened them, and the army outside entered. The women were housed in the principal homes, while the king and the princes remained outside. The queen went into labor and gave birth to a son. His baptismal name was Peter, and he is still called Peter Tristan, for Damietta was soon lost, because of something that happened to the count of Artois, as you shall hear.
When Damietta was conquered, the Christians were overjoyed. The count of Artois came to the king and said to him: "If you follow my advice, we shall ride, together with the Templars and the Hospitaliers, for the land belongs to us, and we shall find no one to oppose us." "Certainly, dear brother," said the king, "if you want my opinion, we shall suffer much more, if you invade the land and the country, which is very hard to conquer, for the Turks are wise, strong fighters."
"Sir," said the count of Artois, "we must cross the river Jordan [An error for the Nile.] When we have passed the river Jordan, we shall decide what we should do." "By my own name, dear brother, I fear your rashness and courage, and I fear that once you have crossed the river, you will not wait for me a moment. "Ah, sir," said the count, "I swear that I shall wait until you too have crossed the river." The king accepted his oath on this, granting him leave to cross the river, but had he known what would happen, he would not have granted him permission for all the gold in the world.
That night the count of Artois had his men arm themselves, together with the Templars and the Hospitaliers, and the crossed the river. In the morning they were guided across by a lapsed Christian, who knew the fords, as well as the country and the land, and he said to the count of Artois: "Sir, if you have faith in me, I shall see to it that you gain the greatest treasure in the world today, which is in a city named Mansourah, to which all the people of this land have fled."
"Let us go there," said the count. "Ah," said the leader of the Templars, "what are you saying? For God's sake, you do not know what this means. Where you will think that the Saracens have been defeated, you will not watch the hour, and you will be entirely surrounded. For God's sake, sir, wait for the king, who must cross there, and you, sir, have an agreement with him that you will not move until he has crossed the river.'
"Ah," said the count, "it is a true saying that Templars have the skins of wolves." The leader of the Templars said: "You who are rash and brave, ride wherever you wish, and we shall follow you; you will never be able, if it please God, to disparage a Templar. My heart tells me that, because of this decision, Christianity will never lose as much as it will lose here today."
They spurred on their horses and went to Mansourah; when they entered, no one seemed to be there. But they certainly were there; all the terraces were filled with Saracens, well equipped with large stones and sharp weights, and the gates of the city were covered with sliding bars. As soon as they entered, the bars were slid down and shut, and those on the terraces began to hurl large rocks and sharp weights, and to pour boiling water down upon the Christians to scald them. The weather was hot, and the Christians were hard-pressed and in great distress, for there was no way they could get help.
When the Saracens saw them in such great trouble they attacked even more strongly, killing almost all of them. The king, who knew nothing of this, crossed the river, expecting to find his brother; when he found no one, he said: "Ah, brother, I believe your pride will bring us great harm and pain!"
One of those trapped in the city escaped, and came to the king and cried: "Ah sir, things have gone badly; your brother the count of Artois is dead, and all the knights who went with him, the leader of the Templars, and of the Hospitalers. You may be sure that I am telling the truth, sir, for I saw him die with my own eyes." When the king heard what he had to say, he thought for a moment, sighed with grief, and said: "If he is dead, may God pardon him his sins, both his and those of the others!" The king then ordered the tents and pavilions pitched, and they rested, because crossing the deep, swift river had been hard for the army.
As soon as the Saracens knew that the king had crossed the river, they closed the locks on the river [The Minstrel makes the annual rising of the Nile into an accomplishment of Saracen engineering.] In a short while the water rose so high that no one could cross without drowning. The legate said to the king: "Sir, go off to Damietta in this galley and save yourself." The king said: "Ah, God, how could I leave the people whom I have brought here, and go off to save myself? Sir legate, I certainly shall do nothing of the sort, but shall await God's mercy, together with the others."
When the legate saw that the king would not move, he left him, got into the galley, and went off to Damietta. The king remained behind. The Saracens guarded the shore of the river carefully, so that no vessel, pagan or Christian, could pass without being burned by Greek fire. They were hard-pressed on all sides, unable to move, and with very little food. From All Saints' Day until Lent they were in this predicament, and they had no food at all. All the while my lord John of Beaumont strove to defend the crossing where they were so hard-pressed.
When the Sultan of Babylon saw that the king was in such trouble, he sent a messenger to him, asking him to surrender. The king said to him: "It would not please God for me to surrender to any pagan or Saracen." The count of Poitiers and the count of Anjou said to him: "Ah, sir, do it, for you can see that we have nothing to eat, and shall die of starvation and disease; later we may be freed by ransom."
They continued to plead with him until the king surrendered his sword to the sultan, as did the count of Poitiers, the count of Anjou, and all the other barons. The king was a prisoner of the sultan of Babylon for ten days, never leaving his tent, and guarded closely by Saracens. The sultan ransomed him for 800,000 besants, with the Templars and Hospitalers offering surety.
When the sultan of la Chamelle, the sultan of Damascus, and the sultan of Aleppo heard that the sultan of Babylon had ransomed the king without consulting them, they went, fully armed, to his tent, and said that they wanted a share of the king's ransom. Defiantly, the sultan replied that they would receive no share.
When the three sultans saw his pride, they killed him on the spot. Inflamed with rage, they went to the king's tent, their eyes red as burning coals. Through a translator they told the king that they had killed the sultan of Babylon because he was unwilling to give them a share of the ransom. "We wish to share the ransom, and we want you to transfer to us the agreement you made with him." The king quickly replied that he would do so, seeing signs of rage in their faces and in their gestures.
An agreement was made that the three sultans would surrender all the prisoners without ransom, and the king would, within 15 days, go to Damietta, which he would empty of Christians, and give over to the Saracens. The prisoners were freed as soon as the king decided to set out, except for Walter of Chatillon, who could not be found.
The king left the sultans and embarked in a ship, together with his brothers, while the others embarked in other ships. The arrived at Damietta, and were received both with joy and with grief; they were glad to see the king and his brothers again, but sorry that the count of Artois was dead, and that the Christians had endured so much painful loss.
The king then ordered everyone to leave the city, and they went off to Acre. He had the queen, who was pregnant, taken to a ship and brought to Acre. Thus Damietta was abandoned and surrendered to the Saracens. The sultan did not delay razing the city, because the Saracens had foreseen that the Christians would capture it again.
The king was at Acre, and when the Christians arrived from their imprisonment, he had new clothes made for them, since they returned stark naked. Thus the king remained in the land of Syria, and he had Caesarea and Saiette shut up, and Mount Musart, a street in Acre which did much good for all men. Now the king had been overseas for six years.
The queen his mother sent for him to come back, for the love of God, for she was very sick, and she said that, leaving aside any consideration for her, the kingdom would be in great trouble, for the princes of the kingdom were fighting with each other, and she did not know how soon she might die. When the king heard the words his mother sent him, he was moved to great pity, and he sent back home the count of Poitiers, and the count of Anjou, both of whom had been very sick.
Now an event occurred in France as a result of a judgement rendered in the court of the king concerning the children of the countess of Flanders [DeWailly points out that the following story is deleted from mss. D, E, and F, for political reasons, i.e., to wipe out all traces of blame directed at John d'Avesnes.] She had two sons with Bouchard d'Avesnes: John and Baldwin. With my lord William of Danpierre she had William, Guy, and John.
According to the judgement, William would have the county of Flanders, after the death of his mother. John and Baldwin were excluded because their mother's marriage to their father was a poor one, since he was only a subdeacon. She, who was his liege-lady, was placed in his charge for safe-keeping by the peers of Hainault, but evil can result from good intentions.
Now we shall tell you what happened as a result. John and Baldwin left the court as quickly as they could, and came to a castle of their mother's which is located on the border of Flanders and Hainault. They entered and drove out the countess' garrison, fortifying it with many of their own troops. When the countess learned of this, she was very troubled; she assembled her army, brought them to the castle, and laid siege to it. However, support for her in her own army was very weak, for they preferred John and Baldwin to her.
When the countess saw how things stood, she left the army, placing her son, my lord Guy of Danpierre in charge, for her elder son, my lord William was dead. She went to see the queen at court, fell at her feet, and said to her: "Lady, for God's sake, my sons John and Baldwin have taken Ripemond, one of my castles, from me, and they wish to take my heritage from me. Lady, for God's sake, tell me what to do, for I am your liege lady and cousin germane to the king. I am ready and willing to take your advice, and to place all of my land in your hands." The queen said: "Lady, you will speak to the count of Poitiers and to the count of Anjou, and meanwhile I shall send a message to them telling them to advise you."
The countess then left the queen, and she found the counts at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, where the count of Poitiers was sick. She spoke to them about her difficulties, and they gave her an agreeable reply. When the countess saw that they were sympathetic to her, she drew the count of Anjou aside and said to him: "Dear nephew, help me in good faith, for I want to reward your efforts well; I shall give you the county of Hainault, which is worth 20,000 pounds a year. I want you to take possession of it immediately, and I shall give you accompanying letters of support."
When the count heard these words, he opened his heart to her, saying: "Lady, if you carry out this agreement, I shall give you the castle, and I shall see to it that you rule your land in peace forever." The countess then turned over the county of Hainault to him, in the presence of the count of Anjou, and she gave him a charter with her own seal. The countess then left the counts and went directly to Ripemund, where she found things as she had left them; thus she had lost and gained little.
Now I shall tell you an exemplum to illustrate the kind of aid the countess got from the count of Poitiers and the count of Anjou.
Once there was a wolf who had two days of arable land; he came to a goat who had two kids, and he said to her: "Goat, I have two days of good arable land to be cleared of vines. I think you should work one half of them; you should know that the land is so rich that it bears wheat without using any dung, and you should also know that I would prefer to work the land rather than share one half of it, but I have an important case to plea in the court of my lord Noble the lion, against Belin the sheep, concerning two lambs of his that he says I have eaten. I must go every week to court, and take great trouble to argue my case."
"I certainly would not dare," said the goat. "Why not?" said the wolf. "Indeed," said the goat, "because you are a powerful, high-ranking gentleman, of noble extraction, and I am nobody, and have nothing. I could never make a case against you." "Ah," said the wolf, "goat, dear friend, have no fear of me. I swear to you, by the faith that I owe to my wife, lady Hersant, and by the twelve living children I have had with her, that I shall be a good partner, and shall never in my life do you any wrong." "Indeed," said the goat, I shall do it, but I am still afraid that you will do me some harm."
The wolf then departed from the goat, who proceeded to work the land, growing wheat. When it grew, and she was about to harvest it, she went to the wolf and said to him: "Wolf, our wheat is about to be harvested; come yourself, or send someone to help." The wolf said: "Indeed, I cannot come and I cannot send anyone, but carry out the harvesting, putting the wheat on one side and the chaff on the other, and when I return from court, we shall make an equitable distribution." The goat could do no more with the wolf, and so she returned, harvested the wheat, had it threshed, and put the grain on one side and the chaff on the other.
Now the wolf suddenly arrived, approached the goat, and said: "Now madam, shall we share our spoils?" "Yes, indeed," said the goat, "Dear sir, if you wish. Here is the grain on one side and the chaff on the other, as you ordered me to do. Take half of each." "Go to the devil," said the wolf, "you stupid beast, you don't know what you are saying. This is not the way things are going to be." The goat said, "How then?"
"In the name of God," said the wolf, "I shall tell you. I am a great man, with a large following, and I should get more than you, for you are a low creature. You will have little enough; you will take the chaff and I will take the grain." "Ah me!, sir," said the goat, "you are not speaking reasonably to me; for God's sake take your share and leave me mine." "By God's tongue," said the wolf, "I shall do nothing of the sort. Think it over; when I return here tomorrow morning tell me whether you will do what I say or not."
The wolf then left, and the goat remained, stunned. She remembered two dogs that she had nourished with her own milk at her own breast; they lived at an abbey of Citeaux, close by, and their names were Taburiaus and Roeniaus. She went off and found them at the gate. When they saw their mother coming, they ran to meet her, and they welcomed her, asking her what errand had brought her to them. She told them what the wolf wanted to do.
"Truly," each of the dogs said, "By our boots, this would not be right. Go back now, and we promise to come very early in the morning, to the sharing which will take place between you and Isengrim. If it please God, he will do you no harm while we are there." The goat returned and went into her home, where she found her two kids weeping; she comforted them and lay down to sleep, but got very little rest. She got up early in the morning and prayed for God's help.
The two brothers Taburel and Roenel arrived, and asked if Isengrim had come. The goat said: "Not yet." "Now we shall tell you, dear mother," said the dogs, "what we are going to do. We shall get into this pile of thatch, and remain there quietly, seeing and hearing what Isengrim wants to do. If he knew we were here, he might not come, but wait, instead, until we left." "Indeed," said the goat, "my children, you speak wisely." The dogs then went off and got into the pile of thatch.
Isengrim the wolf arrived, bringing along as his adviser his peer Renard, who had performed many remarkable things for him. He said to the goat: "Now, madam, what is your decision?" "What decision," said the goat, "do you think I should make? Take your share and leave me mine." The wolf replied: "Indeed, did you growl about this? It certainly will be no other way than the way I said it would be." While the wolf and the goat were arguing, Renard cast a glance at the pile of thatch, and saw the tails of the dogs, and said to Isengrim:
"Dear friend, pay close attention to your business, for I see something in this transaction that you do not see." "By God's heart," said the wolf, "sir Renard, it will not be otherwise; I shall have the grain, and she the chaff." "In the name of God," said Renard, "my fine friend, I did not say that you were wrong. May you do well in this affair." Renard then parted from Isengrim, and went up on a knoll to watch how things turned out. Isengrim and the driver of his cart took his sacks and filled them with wheat. "By the Mother of God," said the goat, "this is outrageous," and she called to Roenel and Taburel: "My children, you see what is going on." The dogs leaped out of the pile, and asked no questions.
They ran at the wolf's body and chest, knocking him flat on his back, and attacking his throat. They gave him more than a hundred wounds all over his body, making pieces of his skin fly towards the sky. When they had finished with him, he seemed to have no pulse or breath, and they thought that they had killed him. They took the wheat, and carried it to the granary for the goat; while they were carrying the wheat, the carter took Isengrim and put him, as quickly as possible, and with great difficulty, into the cart, departing as swiftly as possible, and carrying him back to his home.
On the way, Renard, who had seen everything, came up to them, and he was very happy, because it was his nature to take delight when anyone was harmed. He came up to his friend, and hid his true feelings as he spoke: "Dear friend, your misfortune gives me pain; had you believed my words, things would have turned out differently, for I told you that you should pay close attention to your business, because I saw something in it that you did not see." "Renard, Renard," said Isengrim, "he who has no greater friend than you has none. They treated me shamefully, and I shall get even when I can." Isengrim then parted from Renard, who stuck his tongue out at him.
Isengrim went back home, where his wife, lady Hersant, and his children were waiting for him. When they saw him coming, lying in the cart on top of some straw, they began to make fun of him, and they said to him: "There's more to this. Is this the wheat that you were to bring, out of which Lenten cakes were to be made?" That is the way Isengrim's family spoke to him; as the saying goes, "Everyone kicks the man who is down." Badly wounded, Isengrim got down from the cart, lowered his head, and went to bed. Five months later he had still not fully recovered.
Now let us return to Roenel, Taburel and the goat, who had taken the wheat to the granary. They said to her: "Dear mother, we shall now go to our home, which is very close by, and if you need us, we shall quickly be ready to help you. Here is a horn which you can blow if you are in need; as soon as we hear its sound, we shall come running." "Many thanks," said the goat, "dear children. Blessed be the hour that I first gave suck to you." The dogs then took their leave, and went back to their abbey.
Now we shall tell you why I told you this exemplum. The wolf represents John of Avesnes, and the goat his mother. The counts of Anjou and Poitiers were Roeniaus and Taburiaus. John of Avesnes wanted the grain, and wanted to leave his mother the chaff, that is, he wanted to take the land to which he had no right, and to take her heritage from her. His mother, however, whom I compare to the goat, would not permit this to happen, but she went to the count of Anjou and to the count of Poitiers, whom I represent as Roeniaus and Taburiaus, and she persuaded them to help her retain her rights against her son, who is compared to the wolf. Thus his vintage was so tread upon that he had neither the power nor the will to resist, as you will hear now, if I have the place and the time to speak.
Now let us return to the count of Anjou, who gathered a large army and went to Ripemund. As soon as he arrived there, John of Avesnes went off to Germany to ask his brother-in-law the king for help. The king replied that he would give him no help against his mother. The castle then had to be surrendered to the count of Anjou, and the count provided it with his own men, and he and the countess came to Valenciennes.
They found the gates shut, and the countess sent for the municipal officials, and she asked them why they had shut the gates. They replied: "For safety; for we see that the country is disturbed, and you and your children are at odds." "You have done well," said the countess; "open the gates, and I swear to you upon the saints that neither I nor the count of Anjou will do any harm to the citizens of this town."
The gates were opened, and the count of Anjou and the countess, together with all of their people, entered. The provost, the mayor, and the officials of the city were summoned, as well as almost one hundred of the leading citizens of the town, and the countess ordered them to swear fealty to the count of Anjou. When they heard this, they were shocked, and realized that they had no power. Willing or not, they swore fealty to the count, and he took over Valencienne and the citadel.
By means of a letter from the countess and from himself, he then ordered those in Mons in Hainault to come swear fealty to him. The people of Mons replied that they would do nothing either for him or for the countess. The next day the count had his army move to Mons and lay siege to the city. The inhabitants were well fortified, and did not take him seriously. He bombarded them night and day with stones and mangonels, finally overcoming them by force. He brought under his control the county of Hainault, with the exception of Bins, where the wife of John lay with child (for this reason he spared the town), and Enghien, a castle that belonged to my lord Sohier, who was a cousin of my lord John of Avesnes. He would not yield to the count, or offer fealty.
After the count had taken Hainault and left a leader to watch over the land, he returned to France, where he found his mother very sick, on her death-bed, as it were. She made her will, leaving great treasure for God, and died in the faith of holy church, like the fine, wise woman that she was. Her body was brought to Maubuisson, her abbey, where she was given an honorable burial.
Now we shall tell you of John of Avesnes, who was staying with his brother-in-law, the king of Germany, to whom he often said: "Sir, for God's sake, will you allow your sister and your nephews to take from me my maternal heritage, to which I am entitled after the decease of my mother? You can see that she has placed the land of Hainault in the hands of the count of Anjou, and he has taken possession of it, and has obtained perpetual fealty for himself from them. For God's sake, sir, how can you permit this? It is your own fief, and he has entered it without your permission, in a deliberate affront to you."
Provoked by these remarks and others, he assembled men from all over Germany, and came, with his army, into Hainault, six leagues from Valencienne. When the count of Anjou heard that the king of Germany was in Hainault, six leagues from Valencienne, he summoned a large army, and came to Douai, where he stayed while waiting for his army. When they arrived, he consulted with them about what he should do. He was advised to remain still until they might see what the king was going to do, and they gave him good reasons, saying:
"Sir, you are in possession of the land, and he has not yet done anything against you; however, he has an alliance with the king of France, your brother, and the king of Germany. It would not be wise for you to begin a battle and break the alliance." They all agreed on this plan, and they remained at Douai for a while. Unnoticed, the king of Germany broke camp and returned as he had come, with less wealth and with more shame. The count of Anjou returned to France.
Now we shall tell you about the king of Germany, who had returned to his own country. Hearing that the Danes were without a ruler, he eagerly assembled his army. He went off to Denmark, a watery country, wanting to capture it by force, but he did not know the area. One day he happened to be riding, fully armed, on a large, strong, fresh, well-fed horse, and he looked across a ditch and saw a large group of armed peasants, dressed in the costume of the country.
He spurred his horse on, thinking to cross, but he could not, because the ditch was too large, and he was too heavily armed. He leaped at least four feet into the ditch, and got stuck in the mud so hard that it seemed to the onlookers that he was firmly stuck. His own people could not help him. When the peasants saw that he was at their mercy, they went over, pulled him out with hooks, and killed him. That is what he earns who is careless about what he brews.
Here we shall leave the king of Germany, and tell you of the king of France, who was overseas. News of his mother's death reached him from court, and he quickly understood that it was necessary for him to return to France. He had his boats prepared, and he embarked. By the grace of God he returned without any trouble, together with the three children whom he had taken to Syria. After arriving at Aigues Morte, he made his way by stages back to France, where he was received as lord with great honor.
At this point we shall leave the king, and tell you of the count of Anjou, who summoned the lord of Enghien, ordering him to come pay homage to him. The count assembled what men he could, those who owed him homage, and those who accepted his money, and he had with him archbishop Thomas of Rheims, who served him energetically, foolishly hoping to do himself some good: it is sometimes said: "A good appearance makes a fool happy."
He went off and laid siege to Enghien, able and willing to take it, but the lord of Enghien, through one of his friends, arranged to hand Enghien over to the king, who immediately ordered the count of Anjou to return without delay. Compelled by the king's will to obey, he returned unhappily.
Now we shall tell you a bit about John of Avesnes, who was fit to burst when his plan had failed, because the king of Germany, his brother-in-law, had died, as you have heard, because his mother's love had done him no good, and because it seemed to him that he and his heirs had lost the county of Hainault forever. This last thing bothered him the most. Poor and downtrodden, he had no land, and no hope of ever recovering it. He fell sick and languished for a long time, finally dying at Bins in Hainault, in great poverty. This was just, for he who brings no honor to his father or mother loses his own; as God says in the Gospel: "Honor your father and your mother, and you will be honored, and you will attain the kingdom of heaven."
When Baldwin of Avesnes saw that his brother was dead, and that he had lost all his goods, he thought he would place his trust in his mother; he came to her, threw himself at her feet, and asked for her mercy. The countess replied to him: "Baldwin, Baldwin, were you born at an evil hour? In the name of God, you have cost too much, and you have come to recognize your folly very late." "Ah, lovely mother, for God's mercy, I did not do that, but my brother, who is dead, did it, out of overweening. And dear, sweet mother, I wish from this moment on to obey all of your commands." When his mother saw him so obedient, she was moved by pity, for she was his mother. All the knights and ladies who were there fell to their knees at the countess' feet, and begged for mercy for her son. The countess pardoned him, and he became the head of the court.
Now let us return to the count of Anjou, who held the county of Hainault. It seemed to the king his brother that his right to hold the land was not just, for he had entered it without the permission of the sovereign lord from whom he held it, and without offering him homage. Furthermore, the king wanted to put it into the hands of the countess, and he would get back his expenses by collecting taxes. The countess was summoned, expenses were taxed at 100,000 pounds in currency, to be paid over five years, from the land's income, and the countess regained possession of her territory.
Here we shall leave the countess of Flanders, who had enough pain and trouble in her life, and we shall tell you of the emperor Baldwin of Constantinople, who was the son of count Perron of Auxerre, who was sent to Constantinople and was consecrated and anointed emperor. He was married to the daughter of king John of Acre, who was given to him by the sister of the king of Spain, and she was the niece of queen Blanche. King John brought her to Constantinople, where he was her guardian as long as he lived. He lived a long time, and died nobly, like a good Christian, and was buried before the main altar of Saint Sophia.
The emperor Baldwin was young and immature; he spent money easily, and paid no attention to his own affairs. He became poor and fell into debt, and when he had no money to give to his knights and servants, many of them left and went back to their own country. When the emperor understood the situation, he decided to go to France, to the apostle, who was at Lyons, and to the queen, who was his wife's aunt, to ask help from the apostle and from the queen.
As quietly as he could he embarked on the sea, because Vatage[Jean Ducas.] who watched him closely, was after the territory of Constantinople and the empire, and would start a war. Baldwin arrived at Marseilles, disembarked at La Roche, and went as quickly as possible to Lyons, where he found the Pope, to whom he described what he needed. The apostle was much concerned, and granted him the tithe for three years. Then he went to the queen, who willingly saw him, and he told her his problem. She said that she would advise him, and kept him with her a long time, finding his words childish. This displeased her very much, for to rule an empire it takes a wise, vigorous man.
"Lady," said the emperor, I need money, for I cannot run the empire without spending great sums. I must sell the county of Namur, which is mine by hereditary right." "In the name of God," said the queen, "I don't want you to sell it." "Lady, what shall I do then?" The queen said: "I shall lend you 20,000 pounds, in return for promissory notes, and thus you and your heirs will be saved. You must promise on the saints that within a month after you return to Constantinople you will send the empress to me, because I very much want to see her."
"Certainly and gladly," said he who did not know how to take care of himself, and he gave her his oath, and the queen gave him 20,000 pounds. Taking leave of her, he returned as quickly as possible to Constantinople, unable to afford any delay. When he returned, he said to the empress: "Lady, the queen has lent me 20,000 pounds for the county of Namur, compelling me to swear that I would send you to her within a month after my return." "Sir," said the lady, who wanted to go, "you will keep your agreement, and keep your oath, if it please God."
The emperor then prepared four armed ships, and provided them with whatever was necessary, and he put the empress aboard, together with knights and crossbowmen, commending her to God, never to see her again. They traveled along the coast until they came to a safe port. There they were provided with fine, beautiful horses, on which they traveled by stages until they arrived at Pontoise. When the queen saw her she was overjoyed, and she remained with the queen as long as she lived.
When she died, she gave her the county of Namur, and she took possession of it, together with the homage of the free men and the fealty of the citizens. She held it until the day that an evil rumor circulated about the sons of the high-born citizens of Namur. A complaint against them was lodged by the middle-class people of the city, and she ordered the fathers of the accused to appear before her. She ordered them to punish their children severely enough so that she would hear no further complaints; if they did not, she said that she would have to take steps. The citizens replied: "Lady, you speak well, and we shall tell our children to behave peaceably; if they are unwilling to obey, do whatever you think right, and your solution will be carried out."
The citizens departed, and they ordered their children to reform themselves, and to stop their foolishness. They did not obey, but behaved even worse than before. Now we shall tell you what they did. Ten or twelve of them went into a tavern, spent twenty or thirty sous more or less, and told a fine young citizen of relatively low birth, but rich, to pay their bill. He paid for some of them out of fear, but he did not want to pay for some of the others. They beat him and did terrible things to him, and took his money by force [In one MS, F (BM Add. 7103), they also carry out rape regularly.]
When the empress heard these complaints, she was very angry, and she told her bailiff, who was a knight, to seize them and place them where they could do no harm. The bailiff had them watched, and he knew where they were. Without preparing carefully enough, he went to seize them, but they defended themselves vigorously, and killed the bailiff. Then they fled and took refuge. When the empress heard of this, she almost went mad, and she said: "Am I truly without friends in this foreign country?"
The next day she had the community of Namur brought before her; they arrived, and she asked them about the death of her bailiff and the murderers who had killed him. The citizens replied that the death of the bailiff troubled them, but they were not responsible for it. They wanted those who had committed the deed to be punished for it. "In the name of God," said the empress, "that will not be enough. You will turn them over to me, and each of you will be at my service, body and substance." "Ah, lady, how can those who did not do the deed be guilty? Certainly, lady, that is not justice, nor, if it please God, will this be tolerated."
The citizens then left the empress' court, except for those who submitted to her law, and the empress replied that there would be no other law than her will. Things remained this way for a while, with the empress taking their goods and mistreating them. When the citizens saw how things stood, they decided to address the king, to see if he would offer a plan, and they chose four of the wisest men among them, and sent them to the king. They explained to him the unreasonable behavior of their lady: "For God's sake, sir, give us advice."
"Certainly," said Peter of Fontaine, "I shall tell you what you should do. Go back and let every citizen of Namur place a rope around his neck; all of you should then go before the empress and say: 'Lady, see here your murderers; do what you think is right.'" When the citizens heard this, they were shocked; the king watched them and saw that they were angry, and he said: "My dear Peter, what you say shows little sense; the citizens will go back and come to an agreement with their lady. They will do the right thing." "Sir," said the citizens, who only wanted to leave, "you speak well."
They left the court with no wish ever to return. When they arrived at Namur, the told the people what they had accomplished: "Indeed," they said, "there was no help there. We must look for a defender." "In the name of God," said one of them, "I have heard from the old citizens of this city that the county of Namur should belong to Henry of Luxembourg, and that he has been wrongly deprived of it. I advise you in good faith to send for him, and to pledge mutual fealty with him. You may be certain that he will be glad to comply, for it is the things that he wants most in the world."
They all agreed to this plan, and Henry was sent for; he came without delay, and they pledged mutual fealty. He then returned to his own country, borrowed money, and assembled many people. The empress learned that the citizens had pledged fealty to my lord Henry, and she had the castle fortified, and placed a fine, wise man in charge. My lord Henry came to Namur with his army, and the citizens welcomed him eagerly, placing their bodies, possessions and city in his power. He laid siege, blockading the city, guarding the entrance so closely that no one could get in or out, and he maintained the siege a long time.
The empress importuned her friends, and the countess of Flanders, from whom she held the county of Namur, so insistently that she assembled a large army, with many knights and important nobles. Among them were the count of Eu, the count of Montfort and the count of Joigni, and my lord Erarz de Valeri for the people of Champagne, and the countess of Flanders for her own faction. She made her son, Baldwin of Avesnes, leader of the army, and no good came of that. They approached within four leagues of Namur, and arrived at Namur the next day.
The countess ordered them to besiege the town. The Flemish and the Hanoverians attacked weakly, for my lord Baldwin of Avesnes favored my lord Henry whenever he could, and his men lost more than they gained. As a result, Baldwin of Avesnes asked for a 40-day truce, on condition that nothing be brought into or taken out of the castle during the truce.
When the men from Champagne saw the treachery and influence of Baldwin of Avesnes, they agreed to the truce, and were moving to the rear, when the Germans cried out "Help, help," [F adds "bi Gode," showing some linguistic sophistication, or perhaps recalling the pirate Rollo's response to the demands of feudal ceremony in a chronicle also compiled in the early thirteenth century:
Hic Carolus dedit Normanniam Rolloni cum filia sua Gisla. Hic non est dignatus pedem Caroli osculari, nisi ad os suum levaret. Cumque sui comites illum ammoneret ut pedem Regis in acceptionem tanti muneris oscularetur, lingua Anglica respondit, Ne se bi Goth, quod interpretatur, Non, per Deum. Rex vero et sui illum deridentes, et sermonem ejus corrupte referentes, illum vocaverunt Bigoth: unde Normanni adhuc Bigothi dicuntur. RHG VIII, Paris, 1752, p. 316, Anno 912: Ex Brevi Chronico S. Martinis Turonesis]
and attacked the equipment of the count of Joigni, in the rear-guard of the men from Champagne. They did great damage to the horses, armor, and gear, but nothing more. Thus the army from Champagne left in disarray, because of the wretched behavior of the Flemings.
My lord Henry continued the siege, refusing to move. The truce ran out, but no one returned. He pressed those in the castle closely for more than a year. When the captain of the castle saw that no help was likely, and his food was running low, and his troops were dying from sickness, he was greatly troubled, for he knew that my lord Henry hated him very much.
Now a knight came knocking at the gate, and they came to the battlements and asked what he wanted. He said that my lord Henry wanted to speak to the leader. They went to tell him, and he said that he was willing to speak to him. He came to the battlements, where my lord Henry looked at him and said: "Captain, you have caused me much harm and pain, and you know that no help will ever come for you. You may be sure that I shall never move from here, as long as I live, until I take the castle, and you may be sure that if I take it by force, I shall have no mercy on you. If you surrender the castle to me, I shall pardon your ill-will, and you may be sure that such an action will bring no shame upon you."
"Sir," said the captain, "I shall consider your offer, and within 15 days I shall let you know." My lord Henry granted him the 15 days, and the captain sent a message to the empress, telling how what the situation was, and she replied that she was unable to do any more. At the end of the 15 days, the captain surrendered the castle, on condition that his life be spared, and my lord Henry took possession of it, and he still holds it, no matter who thinks it right or wrong.
Here we shall turn from Namur, which is in bad shape, and we shall speak of king Louis, the fine man who now reigns. His conscience troubled him about the land of Normandy, which king Philip had conquered when the evil king John, father of the present king Henry, had been king of England, even though king Philip had taken the land with the approval of the peers of France, and king John had been summoned before his peers.
However, some of the people said: "Because he failed to appear at the court of the king his lord does not mean that he lost the right to his land, since he had performed no criminal act against the king." They said that the king of France could rightly take the land and its revenue because of king John's default, but if king John or his heirs wished to come before the king and ask for their land back, in accordance with the law, and if they made up for their faults, in the judgement of their peers, he should have it back.
Because of these doubts and for other reasons, he made a peaceful agreement with the king of England, and the king of England came to France, together with his wife and sons, and were in Paris around saint Martin's day, in the year of the Lord 1259. It was established by peaceful agreement that the king of England and his heirs would have and hold in perpetuity the county of Cahors, the count of Perigord, and the duchy of Aginois, which contains six cities. For this the king of England would pay homage to Paris, in his palace, in the sight of the people, and would renounce, in good faith, all claims that he had or might have throughout the rest of the conquest, and he signed a royal charter to this effect.
The French king gave him 250,000 pounds to bring and spend overseas, on the journey for which he had taken the cross. It was agreed that the English king would come to offer his service twice a year, at his own expense, for forty days, at the request of the king of France, and that the count of Poitiers would be free of homage for the land that he held in these three counties. Thus the two kings came to a peaceful agreement, and became good friends, and the conscience of the king of France was appeased. You may be sure that it is true that the man who is without a conscience lives like an animal; as they say: "A man without a conscience does harm more easily than good."
The king of England, together with the queen and his sons, took leave of the king of France, his brother-in-law, who had honored and feted them throughout his land, and they returned to England, their own country. But they left the king and king and queen grieving for Louis, their eldest son, a remarkably wise and gracious boy, who died at the age of 16. Their grief was so great that no one could comfort them, and the queen was pregnant and about to give birth.
The king continued to grieve for his child whom he had loved very much, and he was so sad that no one could get a word out of him. Archbishop Rigaud of Rouen came to see him and to comfort him, quoting many good words of Scripture to him, and he spoke of the patience of Job. He told him an exemplum of a titmouse who was caught in a trap in the garden of a peasant. When the peasant caught her, he said that he would eat her.
The titmouse replied to the peasant: "If you eat me, you will hardly be satisfied, since I am such a small thing. But if you let me go, I shall teach you three wise things which will be very useful for you if you are willing to put them to work." "Indeed," said the peasant, then I shall let you go." He released him, and the titmouse flew onto the branch of a tree, extremely happy to have escaped. "Now I shall teach you," the titmouse said to the peasant, "if you wish, my three wise things." "Yes, truly," he said.
"Now listen," said the titmouse, "I advise you (be sure to keep this in mind carefully) to keep in your hands what you do not throw at your feet, do not believe whatever you hear, and do not grieve too much for what you cannot have." "What is this," said the peasant, "do you have nothing else to say? By God's heart, if I had you in my hands, you would never escape." "For my part," said the titmouse, "you would be right, for I have in my head a precious stone, as big as a hen's egg, which is easily worth 100 pounds." When the peasant heard this, he beat his fists, tore his hair, and thrashed about with inordinate grief.
The titmouse began to laugh, and said to him: "Stupid peasant, you have badly misunderstood, and made poor use of the three wise things I told you; you should understand that you have entirely misunderstood all three. You held me in your hand; you threw me at your feet when you let me go. You believed me when I said that I had a precious stone as large as a hen's egg in my head, although I am myself not even as big as a hen's egg. And then you went wild with grief about something you could do nothing about, since I shall be more careful than ever about protecting myself." She then beat her wings and flew off, and left the peasant bewailing his loss.
"Sir," said the archbishop, "you can clearly see that you will never be able to recover your son, and you should certainly believe that he is in paradise, and therefore take comfort." The king understood that the archbishop was telling the truth, and he was comforted, and forgot his grief.
Now we shall tell you of the archbishop of Beaumetz, who coveted everything; as the proverb says: "Who covets everything loses everything." He and his ancestors had been in possession of the cure of Saint Remy for a long time, and he had robbed and mistreated the people. They say that he had at least four thousand pounds from the abbey Gilbert, and he wanted to pillage Saint Remy for whatever it was worth. But they say sometimes that even a donkey can take only so much.
It happened that the abbey and the convent were no longer able to survive, and they examined their charters of privilege to see if they could find anything that might help them. They found the charters of six kings of France, saying that the church of Saint Remy and the castle were founded by the charity of the kings, and each king, until king Philip, renewed the agreement by charter. King Philip, however, when he went overseas, commended the church to the care of his uncle, archbishop William Blanchemain. After him the archbishops of Rheims looked after it, with the consent of the abbot and the convent, and this has been the condition until archbishop Thomas, in our own day.
When the abbey and the convent saw what the situation was, they went to the king and begged him, for God's sake, to offer a solution to the problems of the church of Saint Remy, which his own ancestors had founded, and which had received privileges from six kings. The charters were shown to the king and read before the council, and the king said that he was willing to come up with a plan. Summoned to come before the king, in the case of the abbey and the convent of Saint Remy, the archbishop refused once, twice, and a third time, giving all kinds of excuses. Then, for more than a year he gave no reply at all.
Finally the king had him summoned on an assigned day. When the archbishop saw that he could no longer avoid the issue, he had to go. The abbot and the procurator of the convent were present, and the king said to the abbey and to the convent: "Under whose protection do you live, mine, or the archbishop's?" The abbot replied: "Sir, we are under your protection and we should be, for we have been privileged by your ancestors." Then the privileges were shown, and the king said to them: "Sir abbot, leave; this case does not involve you, but it is mine. If the archbishop wishes to say something in his own support, let him say it, and we shall willingly carry out justice in our court."
When the archbishop saw that he could not escape, he set a day to tell his reasons; on the appointed day he reneged, and received another day. When that day came he wanted another, but he could not get it. When he saw that he had to reply, he asked to be shown the documents involved, and a day was assigned for examining the documents. The provost of Laon came to Rheims, and the documents were displayed in the presence of the king. The archbishop showed to the people the church of Saint Remy and the castle, and the 24 towns that belonged to Saint Remy, and he told them that he would show them more if they wished, and he said that they would be satisfied at what they saw.
They were assigned a day to appear before the king, so that justice might be done with both parties presenting their arguments, and the archbishop was present with his advisors. Master Julien of Peronne then arose and said: "Sir archbishop, do you wish to hear the law on whether you or the king should have charge of Saint Remy?" The archbishop replied, "Yes."
My lord Julien then went through the proper legal procedure from beginning to end, declaring that by law and by the judgement of the masters, the king should have charge of Saint Remy and its appurtenances; he was entitled by right of the privilege of his ancestors, "and by your own acknowledgement, sir archbishop, since you once sent to the lady queen, a letter from yourself, which I have here, and this is what it says:
'Thomas, by the grace of God archbishop of Rheims, sends his greeting to all those who see these letters. May all men know that I, Thomas, archbishop of Rheims, acknowledge that I hold, by order of the king of France, the cure of Saint Remy of Rheims, and I agree that I hold it only by his pleasure.'"
When the archbishop had read the letter, his nose dropped, and he was more stunned than any man in the world, and so were his supporters. He arose, and consulted with his men, saying: "Gentlemen, what can I do? Indeed I have lost my home, and I have lost my city, and all my citizens will remain at Saint Remy." One of his advisers said: "In the name of God, you will say that this decision is not binding, because it was not made or rendered by your peers. You are a peer, and should be judged by them." All the other advisers agreed with this strategy.
The archbishop came before the king, and Peter Halos spoke for him, saying: "Indeed, sir, the archbishop is a peer of France, who should be judged by his peers. This judgement was not made by his peers, therefore he does not want to permit it to do him any harm." Peter of Fontaine replied: "The matter, if you wish, of whether this decision is right or wrong will be taken up." The archbishop said that he so wished, and he stepped back.
The master conferred, and said that the decision was right and just, because it did not concern the nobility, and therefore it would be upheld. The archbishop of Rheims quickly departed from court, without taking leave, and in tears. He went to his room and remained there for two days without coming out. Then he went back to Rheims, and asked the bishops of his province to help him against the king; the bishops replied that they were the king's men, and would never oppose him, nor did they think that the king had done wrong in this case.
Now we shall tell you of the abbot, who remained at court, and who asked the king to send someone to protect the church of Saint Remy, and the land as well. The king replied that he would take this under advisement until September at the meeting. Then the abbot returned to Rheims. When the archbishop heard of his return, he had him sounded out in many ways, trying to find out why he had given up what he had undertaken, but he failed. He then went off to the meeting, and asked the king for protection, and the king gave it to him. He returned to Saint Remy a very happy man. One of his good and loyal advisers told him:
"Sir, you have escaped from the hands of the archbishop in terms of civil justice, but not in terms of Christian authority. You must bring it about with the apostle and his brothers that you are absolved in your land, working for God, and performing many charitable works. You will be at a great advantage, having the king's support. You also have power to serve the court, and the court will accept your services willingly. Be generous in your giving, for no matter how much you give you will always have enough. Be assured that the two best advocates at court, by means of which you will most quickly achieve your ends, are gold and silver. If you make them your advisers, I swear that your goals will be achieved."
The abbot and his advisers agreed on this plan, provided what was necessary, and he went off to the king to get permission to leave. They say that the king gave him the letter of grant and faith which he needed. When the archbishop learned of this, he was troubled, and he asked each of those for whom he had done anything, and who should therefore be his friends, to go to Rome for his sake, against the abbot who wanted to take his heritage from him. But no one said a word for him, except for the arch-deacon William of Brai, who said: "Sir, I see very clearly how things stand; I am ready to do for you whatever I shall be able to do." The archbishop thanked him for this, and gave him whatever was necessary. He went to Rome and remained there a long time; then he returned, with less wealth, and more sinful.