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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.

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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ.
Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 91



captured, he was compelled to seek refuge with but a handful of followers in a mountain fastness, Richard having thus rid himself of a troublesome foe, conveyed Herengaria and Joanna to the captured capital, Limoussa, and made magnificent preparations for his marriage and coronation. A public holiday and grand feast having been proclaimed, " The nuptials of the King and Berengaria," says an ancient historian, " were solemnized by Bernard, Bishop of Rayonne, after which, Richard and his consort were crowned with becoming pomp andgorgeousncss." As Cœur de Lion was now master of Limoussa, he resolved to conquer the whole of Cyprus. The Crusaders, who had come from Palestine to assist at his marriage, urged him to this step, as also did the natives of the island, so .cruelly had they been dealt with by their tyrannical Emperor. Accordingly, after gaining possession of all the important posts, he caused himself and Berengaria to be crowned King and Queen of Cyprus, Meanwhile, Isaac had no sooner negociated a treaty of peace, wherein the rights of his only daughter, as heiress to the sovereignty of Cyprus, were acknowledged by Cœur de Lion, than he again flew to arms. The contest, however, was of short duration. The heiress of Cyprus fell into the hands of Richard, and as her father loved her above all earthly treasures, he, on hearing of her captivity, flung himself a prisoner at the feet of his victorious foeman, only stipulating, that she, for whom he had relinquished his liberty, might be treated with kindness, and that he himself should not be put in irons. In compliance with these requests, Richard bound him in elegant silver gilded fetters, and committed the Cypriot Princess to the charge of his consort, Berengaria, with whom she resided for years afterwards on terms of the greatest intimacy and friendship, It may he well to remark, that Richard did not, as some writers have asserted, desert his Queen for the more captivating charms of the dark-eyed Cypriot Princess, for, however reprehensible his after-conduct to Berengaria might have been, he at this period was a most affectionate and tender husband. Scarcely had Richard completed the conquest of Cyprus, when news reached him, that Philip of France had joined Conrade of Germany, and the other Christians in Asia, at the siege of Acre, with such success, that the city could not hold out much longer against their united forces. "Heaven grant that it may not be taken before I arrive !" exclaimed the lion-hearted King ; 1 1 let the fleet be ready to put to sea to-morrow, when, if a fair wind blows, we will journey onward with all speed." These orders were obeyed to the letter, and on the first of June, 'ί The warriors embarked. The anchors were weighed, The decks cleared, the sails set, The ropes all belayed. The King led the van, In his galley so brave, Whilst the rowers chimed out, As their oars lashed the wave, Row on, lads, row on, lads, Across the deep sea, God grant that our voyage Soon ended may be I The two loving Queens Both sailed as before, In the galley that brought them From Sicily's shore ; And along with them, Isaac, And his beautiful daughter, Voyaged from Cyprus to Asia, Across the saltwater, Whilst the light-hearted mariners Chimed cheerily, Trim the sails, and row on, lads, Across the deep sea I" In his passage, the warlike Richard took a large ship belonging to Saladin, having on board provisions and military stores for the garrison of Acre, together with a reinforcement of fifteen thousand men. Guided by the skilful seamanship of Stephen de Turnham, Berengaria and Joanna reached Syria in the middle of June, and were welcomed on shore by Philip of France, who, although annoyed at Richard not having married his sister Alice, himself lifted the Queen of England from the boat to the beach. At this period there was a famine in Syria, so severe, that a fowl's egg sold for five shillings, and the nobles themselves ate horseflesh as a rare delicacy. α


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