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Richard of Devizes Chronicle

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Richard of Devizes
page 15

Sect. 66. All the heathen warriors in Acre were chosen men, and were in number nine thousand. Many of whom, swallowing many gold coins, made a purse of their stomachs because they foresaw that whatever they had of any value would be turned against them, even against themselves, if they should again oppose the cross, and would only fall a prey to the victors. So all of them come out before the kings entirely disarmed, and outside the city, without money, are given into custody; and the kings, with triumphal banners, having entered the city, divided the whole with all its stores into two parts between themselves and their soldiers; the pontiff's seat alone its bishop received by their united gift. The captives, moreover, being divided, Mestocus fell by lot to the portion of the king of the English, and Carracois, as a drop of cold water, fell into the burning mouth of the thirsty Philip, king of the French.

Sect. 67. The duke of Austria, who was also one of the ancient besiegers of Acre, followed the king of the English as a participator in the possession of his portion, and because, as his standard was borne before him, he was thought to take to himself a part of the triumph; if not by command, at least with the consent, of the offended king, the duke's standard was cast down in the dirt, and to his reproach and ridicule trampled under foot by them. The duke, although grievously enraged against the king, dissembled his offence, which he could not vindicate; and having returned to the place where he had carried on the siege, betook himself that night to his tent, which was set up again, and afterwards, as soon as he could, returned to his own country full of rancour.

Sect. 68. Messengers on the part of the captives having been sent to Saladin for their ransom, when the heathen could by no entreaty be moved to restore the Holy Cross, the king of the English beheaded all his, with the exception of Mestocus only, who on account of his nobility was spared, and declared openly without any ceremony that he would act in the same way towards Saladin himself,

Sect. 69. A certain marquess of Montferrat, a smooth-faced man, had held Tyre, which he had seized on many years ago, to whom the king of the French sold all his captives alive, and promised the crown of the region which was not yet conquered; but the king of the English withstood him to the face. "It is not proper," said he, "for a man of your reputation to bestow or promise what is not yet obtained; but further, if the cause of your journey be Christ, when at length you have taken Jerusalem, the chief of the cities of this region, from the hand of the enemy, you will without delay or condition restore the kingdom to Guy, the legitimate king of Jerusalem. For the rest, if you recollect, you did not obtain Acre without a participator, so that neither should that which is the property of two be dealt out by one hand." Oh oh how fine for a godly throat. The marquess, bereft of his blissful hope, returns to Tyre, and the king of the French, who had greatly desired to strengthen himself against his envied ally by means of the marquess, now fell off daily; and this added to the continual irritation of his mind, - that even the scullion of the king of the English fared more sumptuously than the cupbearer of the French. After some time, letters were forged in the tent of the king of the French, by which, as if they had been sent by his nobles out of France, the king was recalled to France. A cause is invented which would necessarily be respected more than it deserved; his only son, after a long illness, was now despaired of by the physicians; France exposed to be desolated, if, after the son's death, the father (as it might fall out) should perish in a foreign land. So, frequent council being held between the kings hereupon, as they were both great and could not dwell together, Abraham remaining, Lot departed from him. Moreover, the king of the French, by his chief nobles, gave security by oath for himself and his vassals, to the king of the English, that he would observe every pledge until he should return to his kingdom in peace.

Sect. 70. On that day the commonalty of the Londoners was granted and instituted, to which all the nobles of the kingdom, and even the very bishops of that province, are compelled to swear. Now for the first time London, by the agreement conceded to it, found by experience that there was no king in the kingdom, as neither King Richard himself, nor his predecessor and father Henry, would have suffered it to be concluded for one thousand thousand marks of silver. How great evils forsooth may come forth of this agreement, may be estimated by the very definition, which is this. The commonalty is the pride of the common people, the dread of the kingdom, the ferment of the priesthood.

Sect. 71. The king of the French, with but few followers, returning home from Acre, left at that place the strength of his army to do nothing, to the command of which he appointed the bishop of Beauvais and the duke of Burgundy. The English king, having sent for the commanders of the French, proposed that in the first place they should conjointly attempt Jerusalem itself; but the dissuasion of the French discouraged the hearts of both parties, and dispirited the troops, and restrained the king, thus destitute of men, from his intended march upon that metropolis. The king, troubled at this, though not despairing, from that day forth separated his army from the French, and directing his arms to the storming of castles along the sea-shore, he took every fortress that came in his way from Tyre to Ascalon, though after hard fighting and deep wounds. but to Tyre he deigned not to go, because it was not in the compass of his part of the campaign.

In the Year of the Lord MCXCII.

Sect. 72. Philip, king of the French, having left his companion, Richard, king of the English, in the territory of Jerusalem amongst the enemies of the cross of Christ, returned to France, without obtaining either the liberation of the Holy Cross or of the Holy Sepulchre. Godfrey, bishop of Winchester, restored to his church a great part of the treasure, which, as related above, he had appointed, on the third of the calends of February. The feast of the Purification of the Blessed Mary was celebrated on the very Sunday of Septuagesima (14) at Winchester. But the Sunday had nothing belonging to Sunday but its memory at vespers and matins, and the morning mass. One full hide of land at the manse which is called Morslede, of the village of Ciltecumba, was let to a certain citizen of Winchester of the name of Pentecuste, to

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