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Geoffrey de Vinsauf
Itinerary of Richard I and others to the Holy Land
page. 39

 

performing these duties, were Watlin de Ferrars and Robert Trusebot, and not behind them were Henry count of Champagne, Jocelin de Montoirs, as well as the count of Clairmont; and the bishop of Salisbury, who was the first promoter of these good deeds. By the care of these men, aided by the others, every one contributed according to his means to a common fund, that it might be distributed to each as he had need. Thus, those whose hearts were before cold under cover of the ashes of avarice, through God’s grace became fervent in deeds of charity, and because they were converted to compassion the Lord regarded and magnified his pity with them, according to his words, "turn unto me and I will turn unto you, saith the Lord."

Chapter LXXX. - How a small ship arrived with provisions, and how that which cost a hundred gold pieces one day, was bought for four on the morrow.

For while all were engaged in these works of charity, behold the Lord sent a ship laden with provisions, by which the former scarcity of food was very much alleviated. For so great a want of bread had not existed because there was no corn, but because the sellers asked such a price for it from the buyers, that it could scarcely be obtained for a large sum after much bargaining; for what will not avarice do? The aforesaid ship, which was but a small one, had arrived, as I think, on a Saturday; and on the morrow, a measure which had been sold hitherto for a hundred pieces of gold, by the bounty of God, the dispenser of all good things, was lowered to four. Meanwhile there arises among the people an unusual hilarity, the avaricious merchants being the only persons who grieved, owing to the decrease of their wonted gain, and with difficulty concealing it. But why need I say more? There is no counsel against the Lord, for he doeth whatsoever he will.

Chapter LXXXI. - How, when a Pisan wished to keep his provisions till the morrow, his house and provisions were consumed by fire.

A certain Pisan, a seller of provisions, had kept some corn, untouched during the whole year, until he could sell it according to his wishes hereafter, expecting that the famine would increase; and if at any time he sold any, he sold it at his own price, as he liked, to those who could not do without it. But God, by his judgment, shewed the wickedness of this action, for it happened that the house of that Pisan, filled with wheat, suddenly and violently caught fire. And though very many hastened to extinguish the fire, their efforts were ineffectual, for every thing was destroyed.

Chapter LXXXII. - How all vied in giving away meat, and how a penance was enjoined on those who ate what was unlawful.

All therefore being emulously engaged in such works of piety, strove with all their might to distribute alms; while each one in his zeal was eager to outdo his neighbours in bounty thinking that he was performing an acceptable duty to God, if he could more abundantly administer what was necessary to the needy. Those also, who from necessity fed on flesh during Lent, as we before said, repenting of their guilt, after each had received penitence from the illustrious and venerable bishop of Salisbury, undertook with a vow to perform proportionate satisfaction as was enjoined them.

Book II.

Chapter I. - Of the kings of England and France.

After Easter arrived Philip, king of France, and not long after him, Richard, king of England; but in order that the course of their voyage may be more fully known, it seems advisable to commence our history from their first departure from their kingdoms, so that it may be set forth, in the due order of events, until it reaches the period of the siege of Acre.

Chapter II. - Of the emulation of the French and the English in taking up the Cross.

When report, then, had spread these events, as we have described, throughout the world, that the cities of the Holy Land were in possession of infidels; that the holy relics were scornfully treated and trodden under foot; and that the Christians were plundered and despoiled, the empires were moved by the most strenuous exhortation of Pope Gregory VIII.; and many men of various nations were aroused, and above all, the French and English devoutly took up the sign of the cross, and prepared with all their strength to hurry to the aid of the Holy Land, being incited like David to take vengeance on the Philistines, who were defying, with their Goliath, the oppressed armies of the God of Jerusalem. For the chief pontiff earnestly stimulated all to obtain by these means pardon for their sins, and according to the authority with which he was invested gave them absolution from the guilt of their past transgressions, if they would devote

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