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JOHN LORD DE JOINVILLE Memoirs of Louis IX, King of France

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JOHN LORD DE JOINVILLE
Memoirs of Louis IX, King of France
page 124



Poulain,* and I was told by my cousin Sir Peter d*A vallon, that I was called Poulain, because I had advised the king to remain with the Poulains. This information he gave me, that I might defend myself against those who should call me so, and tell them that 1 would rather be a Poulain than each recreant knights as themselves.t On the Sunday we all again assembled in the presence of the king, who began by signing himself with the cross, saying that it was from the instructions of his mother he did so, who * Poulain,—& child bora of an European mother by a Syrian father.— Glott, to Louvre edit. The author of the Life of Louis le Gros explains the force of this word in hia 24th chapter, aa follows : " Pullani dicontur, qui de patre Syriano et metre Francigena generantur." It is probable that Frenchmen gave this name to such aa bad sprung from these irregular connections, because they resembled young wild colts, that could not be caught. During the time the French possessed the empire of Constantinople, they called Gaemoules (Γασμονλκ) those born from a French man and Greek woman ; or more probably Gastemouieg, by way of derision ; as if Buch children by these irregular marriages, on account of the difference of nations, and even religions, had in some sort sullied and debased the womb of their mothers, which is the mould wherein children are formed. Thus in Antioco, the issue of Armenian or Greek inhabitants of that town by Turkish women were called Turcaii. f That is to say, one who owned himself conquered, for that is the meaning of the word recreu, which is taken from the usage of duelling. When one of the combatants was overpowered by bis adversary, and confessed himself unable to continue the fight longer, he owned that he was recreant or recrue; that is, that he was exhausted, and could do no more, and confessed himself vanquished. * * * In those parts of the MS . Assizes of the kingdom of Jerusalem which speak of " wager of battle," the appellant or defendant is introduced as saving these words before the judge of the field : " I am ready to prove it by my body against his body, and to fight until death, or till I own myself recreant any hour of the day, and here is my glove," &c. * * * The same Assizes say, chap. §4 , on the subject of trial for the cause of murder : " The judges of the field must attend, and be aa near the combatants as possible, that if one of them should utter the word recreant, he may be heard, and in that case, the moment it shall be heard, they will order his adversary to cease, and say that he has done enough. They will then take the body of the vanquished, and give it up to the pleasure of the lord, who will order it to be dragged thence to the gallows, and hanged by the neck. The same will be done to him that shall be slain in the duel, although he may not have said the word recreant." * * * So that the lord de Joinville, on this occasion, returned abuse for abuse, and, as they called him " Poulain," he retorted on these knights "recreant knights," that is to say, cowards and base. * * ·


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