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Richard of Devizes Chronicle

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Richard of Devizes
page 13

made all equal in choosing a pontiff, and proceeding forth in public with his monks, in the face of the whole church, elected, as archbishop, Reginald, bishop of Bath, from the midst of the clergy.

Sect. 58. Reginald, elect of Canterbury, who would have proceeded to Rome for his pall, had the fates permitted, having completed the solemnities which are usually celebrated for the elect at Canterbury, came to set things in order in the diocese of Bath, which he greatly loved, and by which he was more beloved. It is reported also, that he had obtained, as he desired, the assent of the prior and convent for electing and substituting in his place, Savaricus, archdeacon of Northampton, and had received the security. Returning from thence, he fell sick by the way, and was laid up very ill at his manor of Dokemeresfeld; and seeing nothing more likely to happen to him than death, he took the habit of a monk at the hands of his prior Walter, then tarrying with him, and receiving it, spoke these words, "God willed not that I should be archbishop, and I will not; God willed that I should be a monk, and I will " Moreover, being in the last extremities, he took the king's letters to the justices, for conceding to Savaricus whatever diocese he should be elected to, and gave them to the prior of Bath, that by the authority of this instrument he might the sooner he promoted, Then having accomplished all things which relate to faith and penitence devoutly and with a sane mind, he fell asleep in the Lord on the seventh of the calends of January. (12) His epitaph: Dum Reginaldus erat bene seque suosque regebat; Nemo plus quærat; quicquid docuit faciebat. Sancti Swithuni nisi pratum præripuisset Hunc de communi mors tam cito non rapuisset. Sed, qui pœnitait, minuit mors passa reatum; Fecit quod potuit, se dedidit ad monachatum. Whilst Reginald lived, he well governed both himself and his men. Let no one ask more; whatsoever he taught, he practised. If he had not grasped at Saint Swithin's pasture, death would not have snatched him so soon from the public. But, because he was penitent, a premature death diminished his supposed guilt; he did what he could, he dedicated himself to the monastic life.

(12) Dec. 26.

Walter, prior of bath, and his convent, without the clergy, elected to themselves for their future bishop Savaricus, archdeacon of Northampton, who was absent, and as yet ignorant of the decease of his fellow-pontiff; and although the clergy resisted, they carried it out.

Sect. 59. The fleet of Richard, king of the English, put out to sea, and proceeded in this order. In the forefront went three ships only, in one of which was the queen of Sicily and the young damsel of Navarre, probably still a virgin; in the other two, a certain part of the king's treasure and arms; in each of the three, marines and provisions. In the second line there were, what with ships and busses and men-of-war, thirteen; in the third, fourteen; in the fourth, twenty; in the fifth, thirty; in the sixth, forty; in the seventh, sixty; in the last, the king himself, followed with his galleys. There was between the ships, and between their lines, a certain space left by the sailors at such interval, that from one line to another the sound of the trumpet, from one ship to another, the human voice, could be heard. This also was admirable, that the king was no less cheerful and healthy, strong and mighty, light and gay, at sea, than he was wont to be by land. I conclude, therefore, that there was not one man more powerful than he in the world, either by land or sea.

Sect. 60. Now, as the ships were proceeding in the aforesaid manner and order, some being before others, two of the three first, driven by the violence of the winds, were broken on the rocks near the port of Cyprus; the third, which was English, more speedy than they, having turned back into the deep, escaped the peril. Almost all the men of both ships got away alive to land, many of whom the hostile Cypriotes slew, some they took captive, some, taking refuge in a certain church, were besieged. Whatever also in the ships was cast up by the sea, fell a prey to the Cypriotes. The prince also of that island coming up, received for his share the gold and the arms; and he caused the shore to be guarded by all the armed force he could summon together, that he might not permit the fleet which followed to approach, lest the king should take again what had been thus stolen from him. Above the port, was a strong city, and upon a natural rock, a high and fortified castle. The whole of that nation was warlike, and accustomed to live by theft. They placed beams and planks at the entrance of the port, across the passage, the gates and entrances; and the whole land, with one mind, prepared themselves for a conflict against the English. God so willed, that the cursed people should receive the reward of their evil deeds by the hands of one who would not spare. The third English ship, in which were the women, having cast out its anchors, rode out at sea, and watched all things from opposite, to report the misfortune to the king, lest haply, being ignorant of the loss and disgrace, he should pass the place unrevenged. The next line of the king's ships came up after the other, and they all stopped at the first. A full report reached the king, who, sending heralds to the lord of the island, and obtaining no satisfaction, commanded his entire army to arm, from the first even to the last, and to get out of the great ships into the galleys and boats, and follow him to the shore. What he commanded, was immediately performed; they came in arms to the port. The king being armed, leaped first from his galley, and gave the first blow in the war; but before he was able to strike a second, he had three thousand of his followers with him striking away by his side. All the timber that had been placed as a barricade in the port was cast down instantly, and the brave fellows went up into the city, as ferocious as lionesses are wont to be when robbed of their young. The fight was carried on manfully against them, numbers fell down wounded on both sides, and the swords of both parties were made drunk with blood. The Cypriotes are vanquished, the city is taken, with the castle besides; whatever the victors choose is ransacked, and the lord of the island is himself taken and brought to the king. He, being taken, supplicates and obtains pardon; he offers homage to the king, and it is received; and he swears, though unasked, that henceforth he will hold the island of him as his liege lord, and will open all the castles of the land to him, make satisfaction for the damage already done; and further, bring presents of his own. On being dismissed after the oath, he is commanded to fulfil the conditions in the morning.

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