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Richard of Devizes Chronicle

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Richard of Devizes
page 7

excites the army. The sun shone brightly on the golden shields, and the mountains were resplendent in their glare; they marched cautiously and orderly, and the affair was managed without show. The Griffones, on the contrary, the city gates being closed, stood armed at the battlements of the walls and towers, as yet fearing nothing, and incessantly discharged their darts upon the enemy. The king, acquainted with nothing better than to take cities by storm and batter forts, let their quivers be emptied first, and then at length made his first assault by his archers who preceded the army. The sky is hidden by the shower of arrows, a thousand darts pierce through the shields spread abroad on the ramparts, nothing could save the rebels against the force of the darts. The walls are left without guard, because no one could look out of doors, but he would have an arrow in his eye before he could shut it.

Sect. 27. In the mean time, the king with his troops, without repulse, freely and as though with permission, approached the gates of the city, which, with the application of the battering-ram, he forced in an instant, and having led in his army, took every hold in the city, even to Tancred's palace and the lodgings of the French around their king's quarters, which he spared in respect of the king his lord. The standards of the victors are planted on the towers through the whole circuit of the city, and each of the surrendered fortifications he intrusted to particular captains of his army, and caused his nobles to take up their quarters in the city. He took the sons of all the nobility both of the city and surrounding country as hostages, that they should either be redeemed at the king's price, or the remainder of the city should be delivered up to him without conflict, and he should take to himself satisfaction for his demands from their king Tancred. He began to attack the city about the fifth hour of the day, and took it the tenth hour; and having withdrawn his army, returned victorious to his camp. King Tancred, terrified at the words of those who announced to him the issue of the transaction, hastened to make an agreement with him, sending him twenty thousand ounces of gold for his sister's dowry, and other twenty thousand ounces of gold for the legacy of King William and the observance of perpetual peace towards him and his. This small sum is accepted with much ado and scornfully enough, the hostages are given back, and peace is sworn and confirmed by the nobles of both nations.

Sect. 28. The king of England, now having little confidence in the natives, built a new wooden fort of great strength and height by the walls of Messina, which, to the reproach of the Griffones, he called "Mategriffun." The king's valour was greatly extolled, and the land kept silence in his presence. Walter, who from a monk and prior of St. Swithin's church at Winchester, had been advanced to be abbot of Westminster, died on the fifth of the calends of October.

Sect. 29. Queen Eleanor, (8) a matchless woman, beautiful and chaste, powerful and modest, meek and eloquent, which is rarely wont to be met with in a woman, who was advanced in years enough to have had two husbands and two sons crowned kings, still indefatigable for every undertaking, whose power was the admiration of her age, having taken with her the daughter of the king of the Navarrese, a maid more accomplished than beautiful, followed the king her son, and having overtaken him still abiding in Sicily, she came to Pisa, a city full of every good, and convenient for her reception, there to await the king's pleasure, together with the king of Navarre's ambassadors and the damsel. Many knew, what I wish that none of us had known. The same queen, in the time of her former husband, went to Jerusalem. Let none speak more thereof; I also know well. Be silent.

In the Year of the Lord MCXCI.

Sect. 30. The first conference between the earl of Mortain, the king's brother, and the chancellor, respecting the custody of certain castles and the money out of the Exchequer conceded to the earl by his brother, (9) was held at Winchester on Lætare Hierusalem. Robert, prior of St. Swithin's, at Winchester, having left his priory and forsaken his profession, cast himself into the

Sect of the Carthusians, at Witham, for grief (or shall I say for devotion?) Walter, prior of Bath, with a like fervour or distraction, had before presumed the selfsame thing; but once withdrawn, he seemed as yet to think of nothing less than a return.

Sect. 31. The king, although he had long ago sworn to the king of France that he would accept his sister as a consort, whom his father King Henry had provided for him, and for a long time had taken care of,

(8) Eleanor, queen of Lewis and Henry, mother of Henry and Richard.
(9) March 4.

because he was suspicious of the custody had of her, contemplated marrying the princess his mother had engaged. And that he might accomplish the desire without difficulty, with which he vehemently burned, he consulted the count of Flanders, a most eloquent man, and one who possessed an invaluable power of speech, by whose mediation the king of France released the king of England from his oath to marry his sister, and quit-claimed to him for ever the whole territory of Vægesin and Gisorz, having received from him ten thousand pounds of silver.

Sect. 32. The king of France, with his army, departing for Jerusalem before the king of England, put to sea the third of the calends of April. The king of England, about to leave Sicily, caused the fort which he had built to be taken down, and stowed the whole of the materials in his ships to take along with him. Every sort of engine for the attack of fortifications, and every kind of arms which the heart of man could invent, he had all ready in his ships. Robert, son of William Fitz Ralph, was consecrated for the bishopric of Worcester by William de Longchamp, as yet legate, at Canterbury, on the third of the nones of May. The convent of Canterbury deposed their prior, whom Archbishop Baldwin had set over them, and substituted another in the place of the deposed.

Sect. 33. Walter, archbishop of Rouen, because, as is usual with the clergy, he was pusillanimous and timorous, having bidden adieu to Jerusalem from afar, resigned, unasked, all indignation against Saladin, and gave to the king all the provision he had brought for attacking him, and the cross; whilst, forgetting shame, he pretended, with that devotion which diffidence,

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