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Geoffrey de Vinsauf
Itinerary of Richard I and others to the Holy Land
page. 35

 

mind; for a female is always variable and changeable, her sex frail, her mind fickle, and she delights in novelty; so she lightly rejects and forgets those whom she knows; the girl is thus easily taught what is bad, and willingly receives evil advice, and so blushed not to say that she was not carried away, but had followed the marquis willingly. Indeed the chiefs themselves, in defiance of justice, used their efforts to bring it about that the marquis should have the kingdom and the damsel. The venerable archbishop of Canterbury seeing that justice and equity were perversely confounded, and that ecclesiastical authority would be rejected; perceiving also that the clergy, with some of the bishops, who had a sounder mind and more fervent zeal, murmured as far as they dared; he pronounced sentence of excommunication on those who had contracted and agreed to this unholy wedlock, and not undeservedly, because he had cohabited with another man’s wife, and taken her to his own house and espoused her, by the ministry of the bishop of Beauvais, and because he had a wife in his own country, and another in Constantinople, both of noble birth, young, and beautiful, and suitable to his position; whence the clergy charged him with threefold adultery, and as far as they could, spoke against the act which the holy church deemed impious. Those who favoured him tried to excuse themselves on the plea that the marquis had sworn to supply the army, when in much want, with an abundance of provision from Tyre, on condition of their aiding him in the marriage; but he had set at nought his oath, and transgressed the sanctity of his honour, for he who is faithless in a little, fears not to commit a greater crime. And while the nuptials were celebrated with great festivity, it happened that some of our men, who were guests at the feast, having gone to a short distance from the spot, were set upon by an ambuscade of the Turks, and some taken, others slain. This was the commencement of misfortunes. Here the Butler of St. Lice was taken, and whether the Turks kept him captive or killed him, was never known afterwards. Twenty men were taken prisoners or slain on this occasion.

Chapter LXV. - How the marquis returned to Tyre, and perjured himself, by not assisting our men when in need of provisions.

But the marquis, having gained his wishes, returned to Tyre quickly with his wife and his men; and the army was disappointed in their expectation of obtaining through him a supply of provisions. For, on the contrary, either forgetful of this agreement, or ungrateful for what was done for him, he did not send so much as an egg when the army was in danger of starvation but, both perjurer and liar, he would not allow those who wished to sail to Acre with provisions to depart. Therefore, the want of provisions increased daily amongst the besiegers; little or nothing was found to purchase, and nothing was brought by ships.

Chapter LXVI. - How Baldwin, archbishop of Canterbury, died.

When the archbishop of Canterbury saw what he had before heard, that the army had become altogether dissolute, and given to drinking, women, and dice, it afflicted his spirit, unable to bear such excesses, even to the weariness of life. And because a disease which in general is difficult to cure, when one day the worst reports of this kind reached his ears, knowing that man is charged with the care of things, though the power of creating is God’s, he sighed and uttered these words, "O Lord God! now is there need of chastening and correcting with holy grace, that if it please thy mercy that I should be removed from the turmoil of this present life, I have remained long enough in this army." Scarcely fifteen days after these words, as if heard by the Lord, he began to feel cold and stiff, and overcome by a fever, a few days after he slept in the Lord.

Chapter LXVII. - Of the bitterness of the famine amongst our men, and the enormous price of provisions, which was the cause of their cursing the marquis.

Meanwhile, the want of provisions increased daily, and the middle and lower classes were tormented at first continuously rather than constantly by the approaching famine, the more severely as the marquis prevaricated more shamefully. Nevertheless, he sent provisions secretly to those accomplices and favourers he had won over to join in his illicit and impious transaction. And now the higher ranks of the army obtained hardly sufficient food to sustain life, and the winter was drawing near, a period when they were usually more prodigal and luxurious, formerly abundant in all kinds of food, but now with the change of circumstances threatening want; and the hungry stomach, once overloaded, now became satisfied with any food it could procure. The greedy table had consumed their substance, and not satiating the sharp appetite of those who were in search of it, they were worn away by hunger, being without the common necessaries of life; and they felt it so much the more severely, as it was the time when they were accustomed to dainties. The heat of the season, too,

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