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The celebrated philosopher Vegesus tells us, in his work on the valour and warlike skill displayed by the votaries of chivalry, that the empire which the ancient Romans were enabled to extend over the greater part of the world, may be attributed to their constant exercise of arms, and their continual warfare. This opinion appears to be well founded, since well-directed manoeuvres, perseverance, and skill in arms, do more to procure victory, than a great assembly or the multitude of combatants. And in truth, the Romans, whose forces were comparatively small, could have effected little against the nations by whom they were surrounded, had they not possessed superior skill in military affairs. But all their institutions were founded with that object in view, and they daily practised warlike exercises, whereby they acquired, during their supremacy, great renown and inestimable praises, which have been recorded in many books still extant, written by wise and eloquent clerks, philosophers, and poets, both in prose and verse, and which are often quoted, and are with pleasure seen and heard before princes and great lords, for the sake of the bold enterprises and courageous feats of arms therein written and recorded. But we should consider that the all-powerful God, maker of heaven and earth, has given to each of us a certain measure of understanding different from that of any other person, by which he is distinguished from his fellows, and that it is not uncommon for two persons to receive very different impressions from the same thing; as for instance, when we see many modern additions made to the works written by the wise ancients on the various sciences; yet we are not to imagine that the subject was unintelligible without these additions, but that the authors wrote only so much as in their opinion the subject appeared to require; and as to the additions made by those whose natural talents, reading, or experience, have enabled them to search for and discover them, they should, inasmuch as their intention is useful and reasonable, be favourably received without any reproach to the original author. And thus it is not surprising that men furnished with warlike engines, invent or imagine new things which appear necessary and applicable to their management. And although in their ardour they pay little attention to the names by which these improvements may be distinguished, they take all possible methods which appear to them advantageous for the annoyance of their enemies or their own defence, relying as much on art and laudable skill, as on prowess and valour of body; all men
* This Prologue, which is omitted in the Johnes's translation, is given from M. Buchon's cdition of the original.–Ed.
of noble courage who address themselves to warlike pursuits, either at the call of the laws, by constraint, or pressing necessity, ought to instruct themselves in the art to the extent of their power, and to occupy themselves valiantly and honourably for the public good, and in guarding and defending their own honour and persons, and by such conduct will acquire great reputation. Without desiring to derogate from the valour and prowess of the ancient warriors, or undervaluing their excellent and noble deeds, we may, in my opinion, discover as many high and excellent achievements of several kinds, which have been performed in the time of which this present history or chronicle makes mention, as in those which have been seen and heard and recorded heretofore ; for many various and cruel instruments of war have been invented and continue in use, of which no knowledge was formerly possessed; and by their means, with other subtleties, many diverse manners of conducting and carrying on war have come into practice.
To preserve these things in memory in a faithful record, I, Enguerrand de Monstrelet, residing in the city of Cambray, who have heretofore taken a laborious pleasure in putting into writing, in the manner of a chronicle, the marvellous adventures and valorous deeds of arms, worthy of praise and record, which have happened in the most Christian kingdom of France, the neighbouring countries, and distant parts, as well in Christendom as beyond it, to the best of my little skill, without embellishment, or going beyond the matter in hand, but narrating the simple facts, following the relations which have been made to me by many men of noble birth, and other distinguished persons, and also by kings-at-arms, heralds, and poursuivants, worthy of faith and credence, who have been present, have applied myself to the continuation and further pursuit of the work I have long ago begun, and have undertaken the labour of compiling this history; it comprises, as those who have an opportunity of reading or hearing it, may see, accounts of mortal battles, the desolation of many churches, cities, towns, and fortresses; the depopulation of a great extent of country, and other marvels, piteous to record; of valiant and prudent men, as well nobles as others, who long perilled body and goods, and suffered and endured pain and labour in peril of their life, and many of whom, in consequence of their valour, or by some unhappy misadventure, ended their days; such should be esteemed happy, and well recompensed by having their courage, their renowned actions, and noble deeds recorded, to the honour of themselves and of their successors, and should be held by the living in perpetual memory. When such things are recited, all noble persons of valour and daring courage should feel fresh incitements loyally to serve their prince and rightful lord, and to fight steadfastly in his quarrel and for his right.
For these reasons I have devoted my time to this pursuit; for as I have had frequent opportunity of beholding the pleasure which many princes and lords of great authority and of other conditions take in seeing and hearing such acts, so I well know the pains, anxiety, and labour, of arranging them in proper order. Nevertheless such labour is not ungrateful to the author who enters zealously upon his task.
I shall begin my second book with the month of October 1422, where my first volume, composed of the history of the preceding time, ends, and with the reign of Charles the wellinstructed, of most noble memory, by the grace of God, king of France, the seventh of that name, and will end with the month of May 1488, in which month and year the truces between the kingdoms of France and England were arranged and finally concluded, at the city of Tours in Touraine.
Chi APTER I. —INFORMATION OF THE DEATH OF KING CHARLES THE WELL-BELOWED IS CARRIED TO HIS ONLY SON CHARLES THE DAUPHIN.—OTHER MATTERS.
News of the death of king Charles the well-beloved was soon carried to his only son the dauphin, then residing at a small castle called Espally, near to Puy in Auvergne, and belonging to the bishop of that place. The dauphin was very much grieved on receiving this intelligence, and wept abundantly. By the advice of his ministers, he instantly dressed himself in mourning, and on the morrow when he heard mass was clothed in a vermilion coloured robe, attended by several officers-at-arms in their emblazoned coats. The banner of France was then displayed in the chapel, and all present shouted “Vive le Roi!" After this, the service of the church was performed without any other ceremony, but henceforth all that were attached to the party of the dauphin styled him king of France.
When the duke of Burgundy was returned to Artois, after the death of the king of England, he held a council of his captains in Arras, when it was determined that sir John de Luxembourg should assemble a body of men-at-arms to subdue the Dauphinois in the county of Guise and in the adjacent parts, for they were harassing greatly the Cambresis and the Vermandois. Sir John therefore fixed his place of rendezvous for his men at and about Peronne. At this time the lord de l'Isle-Adam obtained his liberty through the solicitations of the duke of Burgundy. He had been for a long time prisoner in the bastille of St. Anthony, by orders of the late king of England. He was restored to his possessions, and, in part, to the offices he had held.
Many knights and esquires of Picardy were now sent to St. Valery to summon sir James de Harcourt to surrender the place according to his promise. The gates of the town were thrown open to their summons, and sir John de Blondel was made governor thereof.
On Martinmas-night, by means that had been practised before, the town of Rue was given up to sir James de Harcourt, and the inhabitants swore allegiance to the dauphin, thus violating the peace that had been made. Sir James appointed the lord de Verduisant governor, and as his force was inadequate for its defence, he sent for a reinforcement from the county of Guise, which, on its arrival, oppressed the country much. About this same time the lord de Bosqueaux, who had long been most active to serve the Dauphin and Orleans party, was made prisoner in the castle of Thoisy-sur-Oise and carried to Paris, where he was beheaded and quartered, for having some time past maliciously murdered sir Guy de Harcourt, bailiff of the Vermandois.
chapTER Ii.—Cli ARLES THE DAUPHIN is crowNED KING OF FRANCE, IN CONSEQUENCE OF HIS FATHER's DEATH.
AFTER the death of the king of France, his only son Charles the dauphin, by the advice of the nobles of his party, was crowned king, in the town of Poitiers, and from that day was called king of France by his adherents, as his father had been before him. A short time prior to this he had narrowly escaped being killed ; for while he was holding a council in the town of la Rochelle, part of the chamber in which he was sitting fell in, when John de Bourbon, lord of Préaux, and some more were killed. The dauphin was slightly wounded; but his attendants hastily extricated him from his danger, and carried him to a place of security, where he soon recovered his health.
In this year, sir Mansart d'Esme was made prisoner in the castle of Vitry, of which he was governor, by la Hire, both of them being adherents to the dauphin, and notwithstanding they had long been intimate friends. Sir Mansart, however, was deprived of all his effects, of his castle, and a high price withal fixed for his ransom, while he was kept in close confinement for a length of time. It was commonly reported, that John Raoullet was a party concerned with la Hire in playing this trick. When sir John de Luxembourg had collected his men-at-arms at Peronne, he entered the country of Guise, and having soon subdued the forts of Buissy-sur-Fontaines, Proisy, and some others, and conquered that country, he returned homeward, and disbanded his troops, when they all retired to the places they had come from.
CHAPTER III.--THE PARISIANS SEND AN EMBASSY TO ENGLAND, TO YOUNG KING HENRY AND TO HIS MINISTERS. – OTHER MATTERS.
IN this year the Parisians sent a solemn embassy to king Henry, and to the queen of England, to request they would speedily order a sufficient force to France, to oppose the daily advances of the party of the new king of France, the late dauphin of Vienne. The ambassadors were, the bishop of Terouenne, master John de Mailly, sir Bourdin de Salignies, Michault Lallier, and other persons of note. They took their road through Lille, to have a conference with the duke of Burgundy, and thence to Calais, where they embarked for England. They were joyfully received by the king and queen, and promised effectual and speedy succours by their ministers. Having thus accomplished the object of their embassy, they returned to France.
On the 14th of January in this year, the fortress on the bridge of Meulan was surprised by the French under the command of sir John de Grasville. He had with him some able captains and a body of five hundred combatants who slew all the English they found there, and used great diligence to put the place in better repair, and to revictual it; for they intended to defend the town and castle against their enemies. At this time, the countess-dowager of Hainault was defied by a noted plunderer of the name of L'Escremont Castel, a native of Ligny, in the Cambresis, and then captain of the tower of Beaumont under sir John de Luxembourg. Having sent his defiance to the countess, he attacked many of her towns, and made war on her subjects and vassals for a considerable space of time.
About Christmas in this year, some of the burghers of Paris formed a conspiracy against king Henry, with the intent to deliver up Paris to the Dauphinois; but it was discovered, and many arrested, some of whom were beheaded. A woman that had been concerned therein was burned : the rest saved themselves by flight, (among the latter was Michault Lallier,) and their property was confiscated to king Henry. At this period, the town of La Ferté-Milon was won by the French, with the consent of the inhabitants; but the castle was well defended by the garrison, who sent in haste for succour to the lord de l'Isle-Adam, to the lord de Castillon, and to the bastard de Thian. The lord de l'Isle-Adam collected a force of five or six hundred men, and marched them secretly in the rear of the castle, whence, at an hour previously agreed on with the garrison, they made a joint attack on the town, which was soon gained without any great resistance being made; and the greater part of those found within it were put to death without mercy, and all their effects carried off.
Shortly after the capture of Meulan, the duke of Bedford, who styled himself regent of France, assembled a large body of combatants, English, Normans, Picards, and others, and led them to lay siege to the bridge of Meulan on each side of the river. He had bombards and other warlike engines erected against the gates and walls to destroy them, and continued this siege with great perseverance from the beginning of January until the following March, when the besieged offered to capitulate.
In the month of February, while this siege was carrying on, sir John de Luxembourg conquered the forts of Franquemez, Neufville, Endorans, Vironfosse, and Canaple. He had with him the lord de Saveuses, sir Daviod de Poix, and many expert and tried men-at-arms. After these conquests, he returned before the town of Guise, and had a grand skirmish with its garrison. Having thus succeeded, sir John returned to his castle of Beaurevoir, where he dismissed his captains and men-at-arms.
CHAPTER IV.--THE CAPTAINS OF KING CHARLES ASSEMBLE IN GREAT NUMBERS TO RAISE THE SIEGE OF MEULAN.—THE DUKE OF BEDFORD TREATS WITH THE GARRISON.
Toward the end of February, a large body of combatants, attached to king Charles, from the country of Berry, assembled under the command of the count d'Aumarle”, the earl of Buchan, a Scotsman, the viscounts de Narbonne, d'Annechyt, de Châtel Breton and others: they amounted to about six thousand men, and were marched to within six leagues of Meulan, where they formed themselves in battle-array; but a quarrel arose among their
leaders, so that they broke up in a very disorderly manner, and departed without advancing farther. They lost great numbers of men from the sallies made by the garrisons of Chartres, and other places in the hands of the English, while retreating in such disorder. The besieged in Meulan, hearing of what had happened, were exceedingly enraged that they had failed of having the promised succour. In their rage, they tore down the banner of king Charles that had been displayed over the gate, and flung it to the ground. Many gentlemen ascended the battlements, and in sight of the English tore to pieces the crosses they had worn as badges of king Charles, and loudly abused those who had been sent to their relief for perjured traitors. The garrison was not long before they held a parley with the duke's officers; and persons were chosen on each side to conclude a treaty. On the part of the English were deputed, the earl of Salisbury, sir John Fastolfe, sir Pierre de Fontenay, sir John de Pouligny lord
* I suspect that this ought to be Aumale. John, count + Q. Annebaut 2 of Aumale, son to the count of Harcourt. He was killed the following year at Werneuil.
John, lord of Annebaut, was attached to the person of the count of Aumale in 1421.