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judge of our combat, as I had written to you by Aly the pursuivant, in my letter bearing date the 11th day of last June, and which you ought to have received and seen in proper time. This is apparent from letters of that noble and potent man the lord de Gaucourt, chamberlain to the king of France, bearing date the 20th day of January, declaring that he had forwarded my letter to you, to hasten your journey hitherward. You will have learnt from it that the day appointed for the fulfilment of our engagement is fixed for the first Monday in the ensuing month of May; for so it has been ordained by the king, our lord, in consequence of my solicitations. I must therefore obey; and since it has pleased that monarch, for various other weighty considerations touching his royal excellence, to order my lord, his brother, into other parts on the appointed day, he has condescended, at the humble requests of myself, my kindred, and friends, to nominate for our judge his cousin, my much honoured lord Hugh Lutrellier", lieutenant to my aforesaid lord of Somerset, in the government of Calais. I am therefore ready prepared to fulfil our engagement in arms, under the good pleasure of God, St. George, and St. Anthony, expecting that you will not fail to meet me for the deliverance from your long penance; and, to accomplish this, I send you a passport for forty persons and as many horses. I have nothing more now to add, for you know how much your honour is concerned in this matter. I entreat therefore Cupid, the god of love, as you may desire the affections of your lady, to urge you to hasten your journey.—Written at Calais, and sealed with my arms, the 2d day of January, 1401.”
THE THIRD LETTER WRITTEN AND SENT BY THE ENGLISH KNIGHT TO THE ESQUIRE OF ARRAGON.
“To the honourable man Michel d'Orris, John Prendergast, knight, sends greeting.
“You will be pleased to remember that you sent, by Aly the pursuivant, a general challenge, addressed to all English knights, written at Paris on Friday the 27th day of May, 1400, sealed with the seal of your arms. You must likewise recollect the answer I sent to your challenge, as an English knight who had first seen your defiance; which answer, and all that has since passed between us, I have renewed in substance, in my letters sealed with my arms, and bearing date the last day but one of April just passed. I likewise sent you a good and sufficient passport to come hither, and perform the promises held out by your letter, addressed to you in a manner similar to that of this present letter. Know, therefore, that I am greatly astonished, considering the purport of my letters, that I have not received any answer, and that you have not kept your appointment by meeting me on the day fixed on, nor sent any sufficient excuse for this failure.
“I am ignorant if the god of love, who inspired you with the courage to write your challenge, have since been displeased, and changed his ancient pleasures, which formerly consisted in urging on deeds of arms, and in the delights of chivalry. He kept the nobles of his court under such good government t that, to add to their honour, after having undertaken any deeds of arms, they could not absent themselves from the country where such enterprise was to be performed until it was perfectly accomplished, and this caused their companions not to labour or exert themselves in vain. I would not, therefore, he should find me so great a defaulter in this respect as to banish me from his court; and consequently shall remain here until the eighth day of this present month of May, ready, with the aid of God, of St. George, and of St. Anthony, to deliver you, so that your lady and mine may know that, out of respect to them, I am willing to ease you of your penance, which, according to the tenor of your letter, you have suffered a long time, and have sufficient reason for wishing to be relieved from it. After the above-mentioned period, should you be unwilling to come, I intend, under God's pleasure, to return to England, to our ladies, where I hope to God that knights and esquires will bear witness that I have not misbehaved towards the god of love, to whom I recommend my lady and yours, hoping he will not be displeased with them for anything that may have happened.—Written at Calais, and sealed with my arms, the 2d day of May, 1401.”
* Q. Luttrel, or Latimer ? the ancient courts of love, the institution of which was cont The whole of this romantic passage secuns to refer to siderably prior to the fifteenth century.
THE ANSWERS THE ARRAGONIAN ESQUIRE SENT TO THE LETTERS OF THE ENGLISH Knight.
“To the most noble personage sir John Prendergast, knight—
“I, Michel d'Orris, esquire, native of the kingdom of Arragon, make known, that from the ardent and courageous desire I have had, and always shall have so long as it may please God to grant me life, to employ my time in arms, so suitable to every gentleman; knowing that in the kingdom of England there were very many knights of great prowess, who, in my opinion, had been too long asleep, to awaken them from their indolence, and to make acquaintance with some of them, I attached to my leg a part of a greave, vowing to wear it until I should be delivered by a knight of that country; and in consequence wrote my challenge at Paris, the 27th day of May, in the year 1400, and which was carried by the pursuivant Aly, as your letters, dated the 11th of December", from Calais, testify.
“I thank you for what is contained at the commencement of your said letter, since you seem willing to deliver me from the pain I am in, as your gracious expressions testify; and you declare you have long been desirous of making acquaintance with some valiant man of France. That you may not be ignorant who I am, I inform you that I am a native of the kingdom of Arragon, not that myself nor any greater person may claim a superior rank from having been born in France ; for although no one can reproach the French with any disgraceful act, or with anything unbecoming a gentleman, or that truth would wish to hide, yet no honest man should deny his country. I therefore assure you that I have had, and shall continue to have, the same desire for the fulfilment of my engagement, according to the proposals contained in my letter, until it be perfectly accomplished. It is true that I formed this enterprise while living in Arragon; but seeing I was too far distant from England for the speedy accomplishment of it, I set out for Paris, where I staid a very considerable time after I had sent off my challenge. Business t respecting my sovereign lord the king of Arragon forced me to leave France; and I returned very melancholy to my own country, and surprised at the dilatoriness of so many noble knights in the amusement I offered them, for I had not any answer during the space of two years that I was detained in Arragon from the quarrels of my friends. I then took leave of my lord, and returned to Paris to learn intelligence respecting my challenge. I there found, at the hotel of the lord de Gaucourt, in the hands of Jean d'Olmedo his esquire, your letters, which had been brought thither after my departure for Arragon. Why they were brought hither after I had set out I shall not say anything, but leave every one to judge of the circumstance as he may please. Your letter has much astonished me, as well as other knights and esquires who have seen it, considering your good reputation in chivalry and strict observance of the laws of arms. You now wish to make alterations in the treaty, without the advice of any one, yourself choosing the judge of the field, and fixing the place of combat according to your pleasure and advantage, which, as every one knows, is highly improper. In regard to the other letters that were found lying at the hotel de Gaucourt at Paris, underneath is the answer to them.”
CONCLUSION OF THE SECOND LETTER OF THE ARRAGONIAN ESQUIRE.
“IN answer to the first part of your letter, wherein you say you have sent me letters and a passport to fulfil my engagement in arms, at the place and on the day that you have been pleased to fixon, know for certain, and on my faith, that I have never received other letters than those given me at the hôtel de Gaucourt the 12th day of March, nor have I ever seen any passport. Doubtless, had I received your letters, you would very speedily have had my answers, for it is the object nearest my heart to have this deed of arms accomplished; and for this have I twice travelled from my own country, a distance of two hundred and fifty leagues, at much inconvenience and great expense, as is well known.
* The date of the first letter of Sir John Prendergast is ated two years previous to this, otherwise we should be at
11 June, not December. no loss to account for the business which forced Michel f The wars for the succession of Arragon had termin- d'Orris to return from France.
“In your letters, you inform me, that you have fixed on Calais as the place where our meeting should be held, in the presence of the noble and puissant prince the earl of Somerset; and afterward your letters say, that as he was otherwise occupied, your sovereign lord the king of England, at your request, had nominated sir Hugh Lutrellier, lieutenant to the earl of Somerset in his government of Calais, judge between us, without ever having had my consent, or asking for it, which has exceedingly, and with just cause, astonished me, for how could you, without my permission, take such advantages as to name the judge of the field and fix on the place of combat It seems to me, that you are very unwilling to lose sight of your own country; and yet our ancestors, those noble knights who have left us such examples to follow, never acquired any great honours in their own countries, nor were accustomed to make improper demands, which are but checks to gallant deeds. I am fully aware, that you cannot be so ignorant as not to know that the choice of the judge, and of the time and place of combat, must be made with the mutual assent of the two parties; and if I had received your letters, you should sooner have heard this from me. “With regard to what you say, that you are ignorant whether the god of love have banished me from his court, because I had absented myself from France, where my first letter was written, and whether he have caused me to change my mind,—I make known to you, that assuredly, without any dissembling, I shall never, in regard to this combat, change my mind so long as GoD may preserve my life; nor have there ever been any of my family who have not always acted in such wise as became honest men and gentlemen. When the appointed day shall come, which, through God's aid, it shall shortly, unless it be by your own fault, I believe you will need good courage to meet a man whom you have suspected of having retracted his word. I therefore beg such expressions may not be used, as they are unproductive of good, and unbecoming knights and gentlemen, but attend solely to the deeds of arms of which you have given me hopes. “I make known to you, that it has been told me that you entered the lists at Calais alone as if against me, who was ignorant of every circumstance, and three hundred leagues distant from you. If I had acted in a similar way to you in the country where I then was (which God forbid), I believe my armour would have been little the worse for it, and my lances have remained as sound as yours were. You would undoubtedly have won the prize. I must, in truth, suppose, that this your extraordinary enterprise was not undertaken with the mature deliberation of friends, nor will it ever be praised by any who may perchance hear of it. Not, however, that I conclude from this that you want to make a colourable show by such fictions, and avoid keeping the promise you made of delivering me;—and I earnestly entreat you will fulfil the engagement you have entered into by your letters to me, for on that I rest my delight and hope of deliverance. Should you not be desirous of accomplishing this, I have not a doubt but many English knights would have engaged so to do, had you not at first undertaken it. Make no longer any excuses on account of the letters you have sent me, for I have explained wherein the fault lay. I am ready to maintain and defend my honour; and as there is nothing I have written contrary to truth, I wish not to make any alteration in what I have said. “Because I would not be so presumptuous to make choice of a place without your assent, I offer the combat before that most excellent and sovereign prince my lord the king of Arragon, or before the kings of Spain”, Portugal, or Navarre; and should none of these princes be agreeable to you to select as our judge, to the end that I may not separate you far from your country, your lady and mine, to whose wishes I will conform to the utmost of my power, I am ready to go to Boulogne on your coming to Calais, and then the governors of these two places, in behalf of each of us, shall appoint the proper time and place for the fulfilment of our engagement according to the terms of my letter, which I am prepared to accomplish, with the aid of God, of our Lady, of my lord St. Michael, and my lord St. George. “Since I am so very far from my native country, I shall wait here for your answer until the end of the month of August next ensuing; and in the meantime, out of compliment to you, I shall no longer wear the stump of the greave fastened to my leg, although many have advised to the contrary. The month of August being passed without hearing satisfactorily from you, I shall replace the greave on my leg, and shall disperse my challenge throughout your kingdom, or wherever else I may please, until I shall have found a person to deliver me from my penance. That you may place greater confidence in what I have written, I have put to these letters the seal of my arms, and to the parts marked A, B, C, my sign manual, which parts were done and written at Paris the 4th day of September, 1401.”
* The kings of Castille were at this period styled kings of Spain, kar' toxify.
THE CHALLENGE OF THE ARRAGONIAN ESQUIRE.
“In the name of the holy Trinity, the blessed Virgin Mary, of my lord St. Michael the archangel, and of my lord St. George, LI, Michel d'Orris, esquire, a native of the kingdom of Arragon, make known to all the knights of England, that, to exalt my name and honour, I am seeking deeds of arms. I know full well, that a noble chivalry exists in England,and I am desirous of making acquaintance with the members of it, and learning from them feats of arms. I therefore require from you, in the name of knighthood, and by the thing you love most, that you will deliver me from my vow by such deeds of arms as I shall
p *..., to enter the lists on foot, and perform the deeds specified in my first letter; and I offer, in order to shorten the matter, to show my willingness and diligence to present myself before your governor of Calais within two months after I shall have received your answer sealed with the seal of your arms, if God should grant me life and health. And I will likewise send, within these two months, the two helmets, two saddles, and the measure of the staves to the battle-axes and spears. I beg of that knight, who, from good will, may incline to deliver me, to send me a speedy, honourable, and agreeable answer, such as I shall expect from such noble personages. Have forwarded to me a good and sufficient passport for myself and my companious, to the number of thirty-five horses, at the same time with your answer, by Longueville, the bearer of this letter; and that it may have the greater weight, I have signed it with my sign manual, and sealed it with my arms, dated Paris, the lst day of January, 1402.”
THE FOURTH LETTER OF THE ARRAGONIAN ESQUIRE.
“To the honour of God, Father of all things, and the blessed Virgin Mary, his mother, whose aid I implore, that she would, through her grace, comfort and assist me to the fulfilment of the enterprise I have formed against all English knights, I, Michel d'Orris, a native of the kingdom of Arragon, proclaim, as I have before done in the year 1400, like as one abstracted from all cares, having only the remembrance before me of the great glories our predecessors in former times acquired from the excellent prowess they displayed in numberless deeds of arms; and longing in my heart to gain some portion of their praise, I made dispositions to perform some deeds of arms with such English knight who by his prowess might deliver me from my vow. My challenge was accepted by a noble and honourable personage called sir John Prendergast, an English knight, as may be seen by the letters I have received from him. And that the conclusion I draw may be clearly seen, I have incorporated my letters with the last letters the said sir John Prendergast has lately sent me, as they include every circumstance relative to the fact. These letters, with my third letter, I sent back by Berry, king-at-arms, to Calais, to be delivered to sir John Prendergast.
#. herald, on his return, brought me for answer, that he had been told by the most potent prince the earl of Somerset, governor of Calais, that he had, within the month of August, sent answers to my former letters to Boulogne, although the enterprise had not been completed. In honour, therefore, to this excellent prince, the governor of Calais, who through humility had taken charge to send the letters to Boulogne (as reported to me by the king-at-arms), by Faulcon king-at-arms in England, and in honour of chivalry, and that on no future occasion it may be said I was importunately pressing in my pursuit, I have waited for the space of one month after the expiration of the above term, for the delivery of this answer; and that my willingness and patience may be notorious, and approved by every one, I have hereafter inserted copies of all my letters. If, therefore, you do not now deliver me, I shall no more write to England on this subject, for I hold your conduct as very discourteous and ungentlemanly, when you have so often received my request, as well by the pursuivant Aly, at present called Heugueville, in the letters delivered by him in England in the year 1401, as by other similar ones presented you by the pursuivant Graville, reciting my first general challenge, drawn up at the hotel of my lord de Gaucourt at Plessis, the 12th day of May, 1402, and by other letters sent by me to you by Berry, king-at-arms, and which were received by that most potent prince the earl of Somerset, governor of Calais, written at Paris the 22d day of July, 1402, which is apparent by these presents, and by my other letters written from Paris the 12th day of June, 1403, which are here copied, presented by the herald Heugueville, to the most potent prince the earl of Somerset, governor of Calais. To all which letters I have not found any one knight to send me his sealed answer and acceptance of my propositions.
“I may therefore freely say, that I have not met with any fellowship or friendship where so much chivalry abounds as in the kingdom of England, although I have come from so distant a country, and prosecuted my request for nearly two years; and that I must necessarily return to my own country without making any acquaintance with you, for which I have a great desire, as is clear from the tenor of all my letters. Should I thus depart from you without effecting my object, I shall have few thanks to give you, considering the pain I am suffering, and have suffered for so long a time. If I do not receive an answer from you within fifteen days after the date of this present letter, my intention is, under the good pleasure of God, of our Lady, of my lords St. Michael and St. George, to return to my muchredoubted and sovereign lord the king of Arragon. Should you, within fifteen days, have anything to write to me, I shall be found at the hotel of my lord the provost of Paris.
“I have nothing more to add, but to entreat you will have me in your remembrance, and recollect the pain I am suffering. To add confidence to this letter, I have signed it with my sign manual, and sealed it with the seal of my arms. I have also caused copies to be made of our correspondence, marked A, B, C, one of which I have retained. Written at Paris, the 10th day of May, 1403.”
In consequence of this letter, Perrin de Loharent, sergeant-at-arms to the king of England, calling himself a proxy in this business for the English knight, sent an answer to the esquire of Arragon, conceived in such terms as these:–
“To the most noble esquire, Michel d'Orris. I signify to you, on the part of my lord John Prendergast, that if you will promptly pay him all the costs and charges he has been at to deliver you by deeds of arms, according to the proposals in your letter, which deeds have not been acccomplished from your own fault, he will cheerfully comply with your request; otherwise know, that he will not take any further steps towards it, nor suffer any knight or esquire, on this side of the sea, to deliver you, or send you any answer to your letter. If, however, you send him five hundred marcs sterling for his expenses, which he declares they have amounted to, I certify that you shall not wait any length of time before you be delivered by the deeds of arms offered in your challenge. I therefore advise you as a gentleman, that should you not think proper to remit the amount of the expenses, you be careful not to speak slightingly of the English chivalry, nor repeat that you could not find an English knight to accept of your offer of combat, as you have said in your last letter; for should that expression be again used, I inform you, on the part of sir John Prendergast, that he will be always ready to maintain the contrary in the defence of his own honour, which you have handled somewhat too roughly, according to the opinion of our lords acquainted with the truth, who think sir John has acted like a prudent and honourable man. You will send your answer to this letter, and what may be your future intentions, by Châlons the herald, the bearer of these presents; and that you may have full confidence in their contents, I have signed and sealed them myself at Paris in the year 1404.”
This affair, notwithstanding the letters that have been reported, never came to any other conclusion.