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Geoffrey de Vinsauf
Itinerary of Richard I and others to the Holy Land
page. 43


Chapter VIII. - How the two kings, according to agreement, met at Vezelai. Thus, in the first year of his coronation, Richard, king of England, set out from Tours on his journey. From Tours he marched to Luti, then to Mount Richard; after that to Celles, thence to Chapelles, thence to Dama, thence to Vitiliacum, that is, Vezelai, where the two kings and their forces were to meet. And because the people of both nations were reckoned to be incalculably numerous, the mountains, far and wide, were spread with pavilions and tents, and the surface of the earth around was covered, so that the level of the sowed fields which were occupied, presented to the beholder the appearance of a city, with its effect heightened by a most imposing variety of pavilions, and by the different colours that distinguished them. There you might see the martial youth of different nations equipped for war, which appeared able to subdue the whole length of the earth, and to overcome the countries of all the world, and to penetrate the retreat of different tribes, and judge no place too hard or no enemy too fierce to conquer; and that they would never yield to wrong while they could aid and assist each other by the help of their valour. That army, boasting in its immense numbers, well protected by the defence of their arms, and glowing with ardour, was scattered by the intervention of disputes, and overthrown by internal discord, which, if combined with military discipline and good-will, would have remained invincible to all without; and thus, by the violation of the ties of fellowship, it met with a heavier downfall, whilst it was distracted by its own friends; for a house divided against itself is made desolate.

Chapter IX. - How the two kings entered into a treaty at Vezelai, and agreed to wait for each other at Messina, and how they arrived together at Lyons on the Rhone. There the two kings made a treaty for their mutual security, and for preserving good faith with each other in every respect, and for inquiring into all things according to the rights of war, with a view to their equal division. Besides that, it was agreed that he who should arrive first at Messina was to wait for the other to follow; after which, each of their friends who had followed them so far on their pilgrimage should return home. The two kings set forward with their men, and arranged the manner of their march, holding frequent intercourse with great magnificence, and paying each other mutual honour; and being also of one accord, the mighty army, during the progress of their march, performed their duties without complaint or dissension, - nay, with joy and alacrity. And as they thus passed along cities and villages with a mighty equipment and clash of arms, the inhabitants, observing the multitude, and marking the distinctions of the men by the place of each nation in the march, and noticing their discipline, exclaimed, "O heaven! what meaneth so great a multitude of men, and so mighty an army? Who can resist their valour? O noble soldiery in the flower of their youth! O young men, happy in so much beauty! Were your parents affected with sorrow at your departure? What land gave birth to youths of so distinguished a mien, or produced such fine young soldiers? And who are the rulers of so mighty a multitude that govern with their word such brave legions?" Uttering these words, and such like, and following with good wishes those that passed, they paid the most marked attention to the people of different nations and those who were fatigued by the march, by testifying all the devotion in their power. Thus the army proceeding in order by separate divisions, went joyfully from Vezelai to St. Leonard of Curbeny, thence to Mulins, afterwards to Mount Escot, then to Tulnis, near St. Mary de Bois, thence to Belivi, afterwards to the village of Furaca, and thence to Lyons on the Rhone; there they stopped some days, owing to the difficulty of crossing the river from its rapidity and unknown depth; so that the army which had come in the interim might cross over, and wait the arrival of those who were to follow. Having at length crossed the river, the two kings pitched their pavilions on the other side in the meadows: as many of the army as it could contain lodged in the town; the others in the fields in the suburbs. There you might see people of different nations, distinguished by their proper places and by the forms of their arms, in countless numbers; for they were reckoned to exceed a hundred thousand, and recruits had not yet ceased to flock in. Afterwards, the king of England followed up his show of friendship and honour to the king of France, on his departure with all his troops for Genoa. For the king of France had engaged the Genoese, who were good seamen, to carry him over the gulf. For they had agreed, as has been afore said, that whichever first put in at Messina in Sicily, should await the arrival of the other.

Chapter X. - How, after the departure of the king of France to Genoa, the bridge over the Rhone gave way from the pressure of the crowd, and how King Richard embarked at Marseilles and crossed over to Messina.

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