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GEOFFREY VINSAUF Itinerary of Richard I and others to the Holy Land

 
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GEOFFREY VINSAUF
Itinerary of Richard I and others to the Holy Land
page 98

wickedness by such a falsehood, and they infused it into the minds of all the people, that King Richard had vilely brought about the death of the marquis, and that he had hired these men from the Assassins for that purpose. Oh, infamous and malicious envy, that always carps at virtue, hates what is good, and endeavours to blacken the splendour which it cannot extinguish! Nor were they First with defaming the character of King Richard in those quarters, but also sent a warning to the king of France, to be on his guard against the satellites of the old man of Musse; detailing the manner in which the marquis died, and stating that King Richard had directed four of these ministers of superstition against himself. What did not they deserve who fabricated such misrepresentations, by means of which so many nations are believed to have been confounded, and so many provinces shaken! The infamous authors thought, by the invention of this malicious slander, to add to their own strength, and perhaps palliate their own wickedness.

Chapter XXVIII. - How Count Henry was chosen king at Tyre, and how messengers were sent to report this and the assassination of the marquis to King Richard.

After the marquis was buried, the French, who lived in tents outside the city, to the number of about 10,000, met together, and after a long discussion, sent orders to the wife of the marquis, bidding her to place the city in their charge, without delay or opposition, for the service of the king of France. But the queen replied, that when King Richard came to see her, she would give it up to him, and to no one else, for such were the commands of her dying lord, as there was no one who had laboured so much to rescue the Holy Land from the hands of the Turks, and restore it to its former freedom; and that the kingdom ought to be given to the bravest man, to dispose of it us he thought fit. The French were exceedingly indignant at this reply, and while they were striving to obtain possession of the city, Count Henry, astonished at what he heard had taken place, came unexpectedly to Tyre; and when the people saw him amongst them, they forthwith chose him as their prince, as if he had been sent by God; and began with much earnestness to entreat him to accept the crown of the kingdom, without excuse or hesitation, and to marry the widow of the marquis, as the kingdom was hers by right of inheritance. To this he replied, that he would act according to the advice of his uncle, King Richard, respecting the settlement of the business, to which it had pleased the Lord to call him; and immediately, ambassadors were sent to announce to King Richard the solemn election of Count Henry by all the people, and the horrible assassination of the marquis.

Chapter XXIX. - Of the great zeal with which King Richard fought, slew, and made captives of the Turks.

Meanwhile, before the messengers from Tyre to King Richard reached their destination, the fair season sat in, after the cold winter months; and King Richard began again to attack the Turks, with indefatigable ardour, as before. For there never was a man like him, nor one whom the Turks feared so much; no one had ever before injured them in like manner, falling upon them almost single-handed, and bringing back the heads of his foes, sometimes ten in a day, sometimes twelve, or twenty, or thirty, according as they happened to fall in his way; and besides all this, he would also bring home captives every day in large numbers. There never was a man in the times of the Christians who destroyed so many Saracens single-handed.

Chapter XXX. - How Mestoc was ransomed, and how some of our men-at-arms, while out foraging, were captured by the Turks.

On the Thursday before the feast of Saint Alphage, Mestoc, who, as aforesaid, was taken with many others in the city of Acre, was ransomed and released. Shortly after this, some of our men-at-arms and servants, who had gone out in search of fodder for the beasts of burden, while proceeding incautiously too far, were set upon by an ambuscade of the Saracens, and many were killed and make captives, as well as a large number of horses.

Chapter XXXI. - Of the fight between King Richard and a boar that he met, and of the king’s boldness in the contest

On the Wednesday before the feast of St. Mark the evangelist, the king and his army set out to Gadida to protect the city, but found no one there, for the enemy had taken to flight when they heard of his coming. On their way back, the king attacked a fierce boar, which, hearing the noise of the party passing by, had come out and stood in the way. The fierce animal, foaming at the mouth with rage, and with his shaggy hair bristling

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