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MATTHEW OF WESTMINSTER
The flowers of history, especially such as relate to the affairs of Britain. Vol. II. A.D. 1066 to A.D. I307.

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MATTHEW OF WESTMINSTER
The flowers of history, especially such as relate to the affairs of Britain. Vol. II. A.D. 1066 to A.D. I307.
page 127



They had also great hope from, and great reliance in the wisdom and assistance of the emperor Otho, who was, as it were, with a drawn sword, watching for a struggle. Accordingly, the war cry being shouted, " The king's men ! the king's men !" on one side, and " Montjoye ! Montjoye !" on the other, the battle of Bovines, in Flanders, was fought, and great bravery was shown on both sides. In this battle, the king of France was thrown from his horse, and being attacked by the enemy on all sides, would have been cut to pieces, if a certain Norman knight had not sheltered him with his own body, who at last fell, for him and upon him, pierced with several spears. On this day, three fine horses were stabbed and slain under the same king ; nevertheless, by the assistance of God, he that day gained an incalculably important triumph over his enemies. On which account, the pious monarch, writing about his victory to the university of Paris, said, " Praise God, my dearest friends, for we have never before come forth safe from so great a struggle." In this battle, the first person who set the example of flight was Hugh de Bovines, who seemed to be the leader of them all, and after that many nobles, both of the empire and of the kingdom of England, were taken prisoners. But the emperor escaped with a few of his men who were at hand, in such a way that his fame was never afterwards restored. To the greater confusion of king John, he was repulsed from the castle which is called Monk's Bock (which he had besieged with a numerous army on the side towards Poitou), in consequence of the arrival of Louis, son of the king of France ; so that, hearing the news of the taking of his nobles at Bovines, and ascertaining that he had no power to resist on any other side, he felt that both God and man were offended with and hostile to him. Accordingly, he fled disgracefully and ignominiously from the siege before-mentioned ; and if he had not given eleven thousand marks of silver for a truce for three years, and then retreated into England with all speed by the management of Robert de Courcy, who was at that time legate in France, he would no doubt have been taken prisoner to his great disgrace. On which account, the French rose up against the said Robert, the legate, with reproaches and insults, as if he, being an Englishman, had been glad to deliver an Englishman. Accordingly, the king returned into England, in disorder and disgrace, on the nineteenth of October. The same


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