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BLOSS C.A. Heroines of the Crusades


Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain and the Ajoining Countries from the latter part of the reign of Edward II to the coronation of Henry IV in 12 volumes 

Chronicles of Enguerrand De Monstrelet (Sir John Froissart's Chronicles continuation) in 13 volumes 

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Heroines of the Crusades
page 399

fence, in and around which, sat barbarians in various atti-tudes of attention or repose. The watch-fires gleamed luridly upon the wild figures that circled around them, with dark and frowning brows, while from the centre of the encampment echoed the sounds of hoarse voices, accompanied by the martial strains of music. The barbarous language made the song of the bards incomprehensible to the English, but they divined its spirit from the effect upon the rude auditors, who, at every pause in the agitating refrain, sprang to their feet, struck their spears upon their shields, and mingled their shrill voices in a responsive chorus of muttered vengeance. In the enthusiasm which the patriotic songs awakened, Edward read the secret of the protracted resistance, and saw that the destruction of these bards would insure his conquest. The trumpets were immediately ordered to sound, and his army, wearied as they were, summoned their fainting energies and rushed to the conflict. The Welsh, surprised in the midst of their fancied secu-rity, stood to their arms, and fought with the courage of desperation, the exhilarating strains of the bards rose to a shrill wail of agony, then sank in the voiceless silence of death. This final strain of the national poetry, was the requiem of Welsh liberty. King David made his escape through the defile of a mountain followed by a few of his nobles, and the Earl of Devon, in attempting to cut off his retreat, surprised and captured a company of frightened females who had been lodged in the rocky fastness for greater se-curity. With knightly courtesy he extended to his help-less captives every delicate attention that would soften the rigor of their fate. His sympathies were especially excited by the distress of a woman of an appearance somewhat superior to her companions, who exhibited the greatest solicitude for the safety of a child that, all unconscious of the tumult, lay quietly sleeping in its cradle of twisted reeds. De Courtenay approached, anxious to relieve her fears, ELEANORA. 415

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