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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 92



Richard landed in Palestine a few days after the arrival of his consort, and the greetings with which he was received by the crusaders at Acre were as hearty as his succeeding achievements were heroic and successful. Great and skilful in war as the brave infidel leader Saladin was, he bowed before the dauntless prowess of the lion-hearted King, as a reed before the wind ; and after a few days offierce warfare, the Saracens, overcome and slaughtered by thousands, signed articles of capitulation, when the crusading host entered Acre, and amidst deafening shouts of triumph, planted the banner of the cross upon the battlements of the city, and set at liberty five hundred Christian captives. Berengaria and Joanna were now conducted to the royal palace of Acre, where they resided, surrounded by all the luxuries of an Eastern court, during the period that Richard performed those romantic deeds of valour in Palestine, which made his very name, for centuries afterwards, a word of fear to the Painim children ; the mothers quieting their peevish babes by those words of terror, " Hist ! hist ! King Richard is coming !" After the taking of Acre, the illwill that had so long subsisted between Richard and Philip, the French King, rose to such a height, that the King of France, jealous of his rival's matchless glory, pretended that the climate of the Holy Land disagreed with his constitution, and leaving to Richard about ten thousand of his troops, under the command of the Duke of Burgundy, returned in disgust to France. Richard now remained the undisputed master of the field of honour. But the powerful dissensions and bitter jealousies which sprung up amongst the Christian armies, overturned his plans and destroyed his projects. JafFa, Ascalon, and other strongholds were successfully taken, and he led the victorious Christians within sight of Jerusalem, when, just as the complete triumph of the cross seemed inevitable, the French, the German, and the Italian nobles, out of pure spite, deserted him, and by immediately returning to Europe with all their forces, purposely put it ont of his power to wrest the Holy City from the grasp of the powerful Saladin. Being thus deserted by his treacherous allies, and moreover, having received intelligence that Philip, on his return to France, had incited his (Richard's) brother to take up arms against him, and was attacking the English continental possessions, he had nothing left but to conclude a hasty peace, as favourable as possible to the Christians, and retrace his Bteps to Europe. In spite of the fierce warfare waged between them, Richard and Saladin Were great admirers of each other's courage and prowess, and so far from entertaining any feelings of personal animosity to each other, they actually met several times in good fellowship, whilst scarcely a week passed without their exchanging presents of wine, fruits, &c. When Richard's famous war horse, Fanuelle, was killed at the siege of Jaffa, Saladin, grieved at seeing so chivalrous a monarch fighting on foot, sent him a present of a spirited Arab steed, which, on being mounted by an English noble, became unmanageable, and galloped back to the camp of the Saracens. Saladin, on learning this, was so overcome with shame, at the idea of his having apparently endeavoured treacherously to ensnare his valiant foeman, that after many apologies to the English noble, he mounted him on thefinest and most manageable charger in his camp, and sent him back loaded with valuable presents. Shortly after the taking of Ascalon, Melech Adelus, a brother and ambassador of Saladin's, became a great favourite of Richard's, frequently spending a whole day together with him. On these occasions, Meleeh was allowed free access to the royal ladies, a privilege rarely indeed granted by the crusaders to an infidel, and which ended with the young Saracen falling so deeply in love with the Princess Joanna, that he requested of Richard her hand in marriage. To this request both Richard and Saladin ultimately assented, and the marriage would certainly have been solemnized, but that Joanna firmly refused to become the wife of an infidel, and her lover would not renounce his religion for the fascination of her charms.


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