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and all his army, it came to this at last, that Edward (buod
himself, on Saturday' the twenty -sixth of August, one thou-
sand three hundred and foi-ty-six, on a rising ground behind
the little French village of Crec}*, face to face with the
French King's force. And, although the French King had
an enormous army — in number more than eight times his—
he there resolved to beat him or be beaten.

The young Prince, assisted by the Earl of Oxford and the
Eari of Warwick, led tlie first division of the English army;
two other great Earls led the second ; and the King, the third.
When the morning dawned, the King received the sacrament,
and heard prayers, and then, mounted on horseback with i
white wand in his hand, rode fh>m company to companjs and
rank to rank, cheering and encouraging botli officers and men.
Then the whole army breakfasted, each man sitting on the
ground where he had stood ; and then they remained quietly
on the ground witli their weapons ready.

Up came the French King with all his great force. It was
dark and angry weather; tliere was an eclipse of the sun;
tliere was a thunder-storm, accompanied with tremendous
I'ain ; the frightened birds flew screaming above the soldiers'
heads* A certain captain in the F]*ench army advised the
French King, who was hy no means cheerAil, not to begia
the battle until the morrow. The King, taking thia advice,
gave the word to halt. Bat, those behind not anderstanding
it, or desiring to be foremost with the rest, came pressing on.
The roads for a great distance were covered with thia immense
army, and with the common people from the villages, who
wei*e flourishing their rude weapons, and making a great noise.
Owing to these circumstances, the French armj* advanced in
the greatest confusion ; every French lord doing what he liked
with hid own men, and putting out the men of eveiy other
French loixl.

Now, their King relied strongly upon a great body of cross-
bowmen from Genoa ; and these he ordered to the front to



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EDWARD THE THIRD. 185

begin the battle, on finding thdt he could not stop it. They
shouted once, they shouted twice, they shouted three times, to
aJai-m the English archers; but, the En^sh would have
heard them shout three thousand times and would have never
moved. At last the cross-bowmen went forward a little, and
I>egaQ to discbarge their bolts ; upon which, the English let fly
such a hail of arrows, Uiat the Genoese s[>ecdily made off — for
their cross-bows, besides being heavy to carry^ required to be
wound up with a handle, and consequently took time to re-
load ; the English, on the other hand, could discharge their
arrows almost as fast as the arrows coidd fly.

When the French King saw the Genoese turning, he cried
oat to his men to kill those scoundrels, who were doing harm
instead of service. This increased the conAision. Meanwhile
the English archers, continuing to shoot as fast as ever, shot
down great numbers of the Frendi soldiers and knights ;
whom certain sly Comishmen and Welshmen, from the Eng-
lish army, creeping along the ground, despatched with great
knives.

The Prince and his division were at this time so hard-
pressed, that the Earl of Warwick sent a message to the King,
who was overlooking the battle from a windmill, beseecliing
Mm to send more aid.

^* Is my son killed? *' said the King.

'^ No, sire, please Grod," returned the messenger.

^^ Is he wounded? " said the King.

" No, sire."

*' Is be thrown to the ground ?" said the King.

" No, sire, not so ; but, he is very hard-pressed."

^' Then," said the King, ^^ go ba<^ to those who sent yon,
and tell them I shall send no aid ; because I set my heart upon
my son proving himself this day a brave knight, and because
I am resolved, please G^d, that the honor of a great victory
shall be his ! "

These boki words, being reported to the Prince and his di-
vision, so raised their spires, that they fought bet&r than ever.



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186 A CHILD'S HISTORY OF BNGLAND.

The King of France charged gallantly with his men many
times ; but it was of no ase. Night dosing in, his horse was
killed under him by an English arrow, and the knights and
nobles wh had clustered thick about him early in the day,
were now completely scattered. At last some of his few
remaining followers led him off the field by force, since he
would not retire of himself, and they journeyed away to Ami-
ens. The victorious English, lighting their watch-fires, made
merry on the field, and the King, riding to meet his gallant
son, took him in his arms, kissed him, and told him that he
had acted nobly, and proved himself worthy of the day and of
the crown. While it was yet night. King Edward was hardly
aware of the great victory he had gained ; hot, next day, it was
discovered that eleven princes, twelve hundred knights, and
thirt}' thousand common men lay dead U|xm the French side.
Among these was the King of Bohemia, an old blind man ;
who, having been told that his son was wounded in the battle,
and that no force oould stand against the Black Prince, caUed
to him two knights, put himself on horseback between tbem,
f^tened the three bridles together, and dashed in among the
English, where he was presently slain. He bore as his crest
three white ostrich feathers, with the motto Ich dien^ signify-
ing in English '' I serve." This crest and motto were taken
by the Prince of Wales in remembrance of that famous daj',
and have been borne by the Prince of Wales ever since.

Five days after this great battle, the Kii^ laid siege to
Calais. This siege — ever afterwards memorable — lasted
nearly a year. In order to starve the inhabitants oat, King
Edwaixl built so many wooden houses for tlie lodgings of his
troops, that it is said their quarters looked like a second
Calais suddenly sprung up around the first. Early in the
siege, the governor of the town drove out what he caUed the
useless mouths, to the number of seventeen handred persons,
men and women, joung and old. King Edward allowed
them to pass through his lines, and even fed them, and dis-
missed them* with money ; but, later in the siege, he was not



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EDWARD THE THIRD. 187

80 merciful — five hundred more, who were afterwajrds driven
out, dying of starvation and misery. The garrison were so
bard-pressed at last, that they sent a letter to King Philip,
telling him that they had eaten aU the horses, aU the dc^,
and all the rats and mice that could be found in the place ;
and, that if he did not relieve them, they must either surren-
der to the English, or eat one another. Philip made one
effort to give them relief; but tliey were so hemmed in by the
English power, that be could not succeed, and was fain to
leave the pkce. Upon this they hoisted the English flag, and
surrendered to King Edward. ^^ TeU your general," said he
to the humble messengers who came out of the town, ^^ that
I require to have sent here, six of the most distinguished cit-
izens, bare-legged, and in their shirts, with ropes about their
necks ; and let those six men bring with them the keys of
the castle and the town."

When the Governor of Calais related this to the people in
the Market-place, there was great weeping and distress ; in
the midst of which, one worthy citizen, named Eustace de
Saint Pierre, rose up and said, that if the six men required
were not sacrificed, the whole population would be ; therefore
he oflered himself as the first. Encouraged by this bright
example, five other woithy citizens ix)se up one after another,
and oficred themselves to save the rest. The Governor, who
was too badl}' wounded to be able to walk, mounted a poor
old horse that had not been eaten, and conducted these good
men to the gate, wliile all the people cried and mourned.

Edward received them wrathfully, and ordered the heads
of the whole six to be struck off. However, the good Queen
fell upon her knees, and besought the King to give them up
to her. The King replied, *' I wish you had been somewhere
else ; but I cannot refuse 3*ou." So she had them properly
dressed, made a feast for them, and sent them back with a
liandsome present, to the great rejoicing of the whole camp.
1 liope the people of Calais loved the daughter to whom she
gave birtli soon afterwards, for her gentle raother*s sake.



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188 A CHILD»S HISTORY OF ENGLAND.

Now came that tenible disease, the Plagne, into Europe,
hiirrjing fVom the heart of China ; and killed the wretched
l>eople — especially the poor -r— in such enonnoas numbers,
that one-half of the inhabitants of England are related to have
died of it. It killed the cattle, in great numbers, too ; and
so few working men remained alive, that there were not
enough left to till the ground.

After eight years of differing and quarrelling, the Prince
of Wales again invaded France with an army of sixty thou-
sand men. He went through the south of the country, burn-
ing and plundering wheresoever he went; while his father,
who had still the Scottish war upon his hands, did the like in
Scotland, but was harassed and worried in his retreat fW>m
that country by the Scottish men, who repaid his cruelties
with interest.

The French King, Philip, was now dead, and was suc-
ceeded by his son John. The Black Prince, called by that
name from the color of the armor he wore to set off his tkit
complexion, continuing to burn and destroy in France, roused
John into determined op|x>sition ; and so cruel had the Black
Prince been in his campaign, and so severely had the French
peasants suffered, that he could not find one who, for love,
or mone}', or the fear of death, wouki tell him what the
Fi-ench King was doing, or where he was. Thus it hap])ened
tliat he came upon the French King's forces, all of a sud<ien,
near the town of Poitiers, and found that the whole neigh-
boring countrj' was occupied by a vast French army. ** God
help us ! ** said the Black Prince, " we must make tlie best
of it."

So, on a Sunday morning, the eighteenth of September,
the Prince — whose armj' was now reduced to ten thousand
men in all — prepai-ed to give battle to the French King,
who had sixty thousand horse alone. While he was so en-
gaged, there came riding from the French camp, a Cardinal,
who had pei*suaded John to let him offer terms, and try to
save the shedding of Christian blood. " Save my honor,**



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'THIS WAY, FATHEB."



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• ''I \h ■ VriiitH ♦o this ^(Mj^l priest, *' and siao thr h-Mict i.f

. rirmy, uvji I will mnko nnv n^n^onaMc tonus.** Uk- ni!- *■«• i

- _ \'- Tij al! Mu"* t<)Wnp, .-n-tli's, an-l prisoixT^, lit fi:i<i tukcti,

I \f >^\( :ir '•♦ ii'.i'vf- ;to wa.' in Fianct' fo^ scvi*n Vfars ; Hiii,

n> ,*<*uu wf-)i]fl Ii*':.r i>i iT'lhiiif^ ]mi: iiis surn^rHicr, with a l.un-

■ tt of Ips <."'i '. km; !k^, I'm: t^T'it} wa.s broken <>fl juui th.'

uMij.* <..i(1 (Hiii.-tlv - '*(;(j<i dvU **l t!,o ri'^ht : v** shall la*:.!

> iMu:n/\v.*

Ihoit /'tr,.^ <^ .1 th » ^fon'lfiy rt..>rnii^, at lu'ctl. of «i;i\ . the-
rw/nru'cs pv^par'^i r<'r bjiltlo. lli*- KiigliNli '\fro j-cstiMl in
\ -.tr«»'ig j^'fi.'t , wlii(:i <()\iM "lily bt apiH'oucluMl *y otio n 'r:'» v\*
•:•"•'. <ikiit(*d h\ hi^'s > *"j 'M>Th ^i'li'**. I'lie Fifi •'•» .i^tjuki'l
•In'M; f-y till liint*; bnl w<mv m. L^ftUcd nnd sini i ' •• rj ulish
.1' »ws fioM )>clund tiie I'mmcs, that they wvn- or ( d to
•'!'( at. Thon went '^»\ huudn-d Kii'j'i^h howiim louiid
il-^»'-t, anM, (nMuiiJif tipon tho roar of the Krone I- aiMiy, rained
;urf''Aj? oil thorn thick : i i in-t. I'ho Froi'<'*h knii:itt.s. thiovi
.tin ftji ;'nhk)ri, (^'litli'd their banf.oiv and iIi.-;>oi-"<! in nil
ii^H-tion^s. Said ^ir John Thand s t<,» the Pimko, *•' KMo
An ward, nob!t I'lino* , an<I thi* dny is you is. Tho Kinir of
France is so valiant a gontloman, that I !-.now ho wii' nf\tr
•*y. am! nvw bo *aken piiso'ior." S.-ii I the Piince to t'u-^,
•Advar.'o, Eni^li-'h banncr>. in th(; name oT (io*l aP"'i st.
•.'HiirjTf I *' and *Mi thoy pio^sod until thoy o:ini»- t > \Mlh tJio
' • uoh KhiiT, flghtinjj: tioreoly with \u< bnttlo-nM*, and, \^hv'n
hi[ Ills noblos had forsaken hmi, attorulrd faithrnUy lo thr
iii^l by Ills youniTt^t s<)?i Philii), only t^ixteon years i)f a^e.
Kn'fior tmi son foucht well, an«] tho King ha<i alroa(!y two
*>'vn>d'* in Ids f-icc, and l)ad boon boaton down, Mh«n
In* r.t last dtdivoi-^'d hirncr»lf to p b iiisheU F'-onch kniuln.
*»Mc^ tra\o him his rVJit-hand glove in token that he had

Th<^ V,lfl(k Pnnce waF ^one!*on«} as well a-^ brav< , and he
invitiil his vf^yal priscier t/) supper in hi^ tont, an 1 wai'ed
'il»'»H liim at t:il)le, and, when tiie\ afterwards kkI** into r«'it-
"l"'' in n goi;^* >us pro'-ession, moimtod tie Frencli Kin-i; on a



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EDWARD THE TIURD. 189

said the Prince to this good priest, *^ and save the honor of
ni}' anny, and I will make any reasonable terms." He offered
to give Qp ail the towns, castles, and prisoners, he had taken,
and to swear to make no war in France for seven ^•ears ; but,
as John woald hear of nothing but his surrender, with a hun-
dred of his chief knights, the treat}' was broken off, and tlic
Prince said quietly — '^ God defend the right ; we shall fight
to-morrow."

Therefore, on the Monday morning, at break of day, the
two armies prepared for battle. The English were posted in
a strong place, which could only be approached bj' one narrow
lane, skirted by hedges on both sides. The French attacked
them by this lane ; but were so galled and slain bj' English
arrows from behind the hedges, that they were forced to
retreat. Then went six hundred English bowmen round
about, and, coming upon the rear of the French army, rained
arrows on them thick and fast. The French knights, thrown
into confbsion, quitted their bannera and dispersed in all
directions. Said Sir John Chandos to the Piiuoe, " Ride
forward, noble Prince, and the day is yours. The King of
France is so valiant a gentleman, that I know he will never
fly, and ma}' be taken prisoner." 8aid Uie Prince to this,
** Advance, English banners, in the name of God and St.
Geoi^ ! ** and on they pressed until they came up with the
French King, fighting fiercely with his battle-axe, and, when
all his nobles had forsaken him, attended faithfully to the
last by his youngest son Philip, only sixteen j'cars of age.
Father and son fbught well, and the King had already two
wounds in his fSace, and had been beaten down, when
lie at last delivered himself to a banished French knight,
and gave him his right-hand glove in token that be had
done so.

Tlie Black Prince was generous as well as brave, and he
inrited his royal prisoner to supper in his tent, and waited
npon him at table, and, when they afterwards rotle into Lon-
don in a gorgeous procession, mounted the French King on a



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190 A CHILD'S HISTORY OF ENGLAND.

fine cream-colored horse, and rode at his side oa a little poD}*.
This was all ver^^ kind, but I think it was, perhaps, a little
theatrical too, and has been made more meritorious Uian it
deserved to be ; especially as I am inclined to think that the
greatest kindness to the King of France would have been not
to have shown him to the people at all. However, it must
be said, for these acts of politeness, that, in course of time,
the}' did much to soften the hoiTors of war and the imssioos
of conquerors. It was a long, long time before the common
soldiei*s b^an to have the benefit of such courtly deeds ; but
they did at last ; and thus it is possible that a poor soldier
who asked for quarter at the battle of Waterloo, or any other
such great fight, may have owed his life indirectly to Edward
tlie Black Pilnce.

At this time there stood in the Strand, in London, a palace
called the Savoy, which was given up to the captive King of
France and his son for their residence. As the King of Scot-
land had now been King Edward's captive for eleven j'ears
too, his success was, at this time, tolerably complete. The
Scottish business was settled by the piisoner being released
under the title of Sir David, King of Scotland, and by his
engaging to pay a large ransom. The state of France en-
couraged England to propose liaixler terms to that eountr}%
whei-e the people rose against the uHS[)eakable cruelty and
barbaiity of its nobles ; where the nobles vose in turn against
the people ; where the most fiightful outrages were committed
on all sides; and where the insurrection of the peasants,
called the insurrection of the Jacquerie, from Jacques, a com-
mon Christian name among the country people of France,
awakened terrors and hatreds that have scarcely yet passed
away. A treaty called the Great Peace, was at last signed,
under which King Edward agreed to give up the greater part
of Ills conquests, and King John to pa}', within six years, a
ransom of tliree million crowns of gold. He was so beset by
his own nobles and courtiers for having yielded to these con-
ditions — though they could help him to no better — that he



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EDWARD THE THIRD. 191

came back of his own will to his old palaoe-prison of the
Savoy, and there died.

There was a Sovereign of Castile at that time, called Pedro
THE Cruel, who deserved the name remarkably well : having
committed, among other ci'uelties, a variety of murders.
This amiable monarch being driven from his throne for his
crimes, went to the province of Bordeaux, where the Black
Prince — now marrieil to his t*ousin Joan, a pretty widow —
was residing, and besought his help. The Prince, who took
(o him much more kindly than a prince of such fame ought
to have taken to such a ruffian, readily listened to his fair
promises, and agi'eeing to help him, sent secret oixlers to
some troublesome disbanded soldiers of his and his father's,
who called themselves the Free Companions, and who had
been a pest to the French people, for some time, to aid this
Pedro. The Prince, himself, going into Spain to head the
army of relief, soon set Pedro on his throne again — where
he no sooner found himself, than, of course, he behaved like
the villain he was, broke his word without the least shame,
and al>andoned all the promises he had made to the Black
Prince.

Now, it had cost the Prince a good deal of money to pay
soMiers to support this murderous King ; and finding himself,
when he came back di^usted to Bordeaux, not only in bad
health, but deeply in debt, he began to tax his French sub-
jecto to pay his creditors. They appealed to the French King,
Charles ; war again broke out ; and the Frendi town of
UiiK^s, which the Prince had greatly benefited, went over
to the Frendi King. Upon this he ravaged the province of
which it was tlie capital ; burnt, and plundered, and killed in
the old sickening way ; and refused mercy to the prisonei-s,
men, women, and children taken in the offending town,
though he was so ill and so much in need of pitj- himself from
Heaven, that he was carried in a litter. He lived to come
home and make himself popular with the people and Pai'lia-
meat, and he died on Trinity Sunday, the eighth of June, one



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192 A CHILD'S HISTORY OF ENGLAND.

thousand three hondred and seventy-«ix, at ibrty-six yean
old.

The whole nation mourned for him as one of the most re-
nowned and beloved princes it had ever had; and he was
buried with great lamentations in Canterbury Cathedral.
Near to the tomb of EdwaixJ tiie Confessor, his monainent,
with his figure, carved in stone, and represented in the old
black armor, l>ing on its back, may be seen at this day, with
an ancient coat of mail, a helmet, and a pair of gauntlets
hanging from a beam above it, which most peoi>le like to
believe were once worn by the Black Prince.

King Edward did not outlive his renowned son, long. He
was old, and one Alice Ferrers, a beautiftil lAd}', had con-
trived to make him so fond of her in his old age, that he coakl
refuse her nothing, and made himself ridiculous. She liUle
deseiTed his love, or — what I dare say she valued a great
deal moi*e — the jewels of tlie late Queen, which he gave
her among other rich presents. She took the ver}' ring
from his finger on the morning of the day when he died,
and left him to be pillaged by his faithless servants. Only
one good x:>rie8t was true to him, and attended him to the
last.

Besides being famous for the great \ictories I have related,
the reign of King Edward the Third was rendered memorable
In better ways, by the growth of architecture and the erectioa
of Windsor Castle. In better ways still, by the rising up of
WicKLiFFK, originally a poor parish priest: who devoted
himself to exposing, with wonderful power and success, the
ambition and corruption of the Pope, and of the whole ohoreh
of which he was the head.

Some of those Flemings were induced to come to England in
this reign too, and to settle in Norfolk, where they made bet-
ter woollen cloths than the English had ever had before. The
Order of the Garter (a very fine thing in its way, but hardly
so impoitant as good clothes for the nation) also dates from
this period. The King is said to have picked up a lady's



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"EDWARD THE THI&D. 193

garter at a ball, and to have said Bant sait gut maly pense —
in English "Evil be to him who evil thinks of it." The
courtiers were usually glad to imitate what the King said or
did, and hence from a slight incident the Order of the Garter
was instituted, and became a great dignity. So the story
goes.

13



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194 A CHILD'S HISTORY OF ENGLAND.



CHAPTER XIX.

ENGLAND UNDER RICHARD THE SECOND.

BiCHARD, son of the Black Prince, a boy eleven yHn of
age, succeeded to the Crown under the title of King Richard
the Second. The whole English nation were read^y to admire
him for the sake of his brave father. As to the lords and
ladies about the Court, they declared him to be the most
beautiful, the wisest, and the best — even of princes — whom
the lords and ladies al>out the Court, generally declare to be
the most l>eautiful, the wisest, and the best of mankind. To
flatter a poor bo}* in this base manner was not a ver}* likely
way to develop whatever good was in him ; and it brought
him to anything but a good or happy end.

The Duke of Lancaster, the young King's uncle — com-
monly called John of Gaunt, from having lx;en bom at Ghent,
which tiie common people so pronounced -«- was supposed to
have some thoughts of the throne himself; but, as he was
not popular, and the memory of the Black Prince was, he
submitted to his nephew.

The war with France l>eing still unsettled, the Government
of England wanted money to provide for the expenses that
might arise out of it : accordingly a certain tax, called the
Poll-tax, which had originated in the last reign, was ordered
to l)e levied on the people. This was a tax on every person
in the kingdom, male and female, above the age of fourteen,
of three groats (or three fourpenny pieces) a year ; clergy-
men were charged more, and only beggars were exempt

I have no need to repeat that the common people of Eng-
land had long been suflTering under great oppression. They



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RIOHAKD THE SEOONa 195

were still the mere slaves of the lords of the land on which
thcj lived, and were on most occasions harshly and unjust]}'
treated. But, thej had begun by this time to think very
seriously of not bearing quite so much ; and, probably, were
emboldened by that French insurrection I mentioned in the
last ciiapter.

The people of Essex rose against the Poll-tax, and being
severely handled by the government officers, killed some of
them. At this very time one of the tax-collectors, going his
rounds from house to house, at Dartford in Kent came to the
cottage of one Wat, a tiler by trade, and claimed the tax
upon his daughter. Her mother, who was at home, declared
that she was under the age of fourteen ; upon that, the col-
lector (as other collectors had already done in different parts
of EngUnd) behaved in a savage way, and brutally insulted



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