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Geoffrey de Vinsauf
Itinerary of Richard I and others to the Holy Land
page. 96

 

it entirely to their own choice. Having taken counsel, in common, on this point, they made the following reply to the king’s inquiries: - That as the land was suffering from the discord of certain parties, and the issue of events was still uncertain, especially as King Guy had not yet effected his purpose of recovering the kingdom, they thought it absolutely necessary that a new king should be appointed, to whom all should pay allegiance, and to whose care the land should be entrusted, that he might fight the battles of the people; one, in fine, whom the army could follow and obey; and if this should not be settled before the king’s departure, that they would, one and all, depart from the land, for they should not otherwise be able to guard it against the enemy. On the king inquiring, in reply to this, which of the two they would rather have for king, King Guy, or the marquis, the whole army, high and low, entreated, on their bended knees, that the marquis should be elevated to the sovereignty, as much better able to defend the country than any other they could choose. The king, listening to their petition, censured them in gentle terms for their fickleness, for they had before this often detracted from the character and good qualities of the marquis.

Chapter XXIV. - How King Richard, to satisfy the people, sent for marquis, though known to be seditious and in league with Saladin.

King Richard, when he had weighed well the petition of the people for choosing the marquis as their king, gave his assent, and appointed noble men to go to Tyre, and bring back the marquis with all due honour. On the king’s giving his consent, a general decree was unanimously issued for the election of the marquis, and certain men of high rank, viz., Henry Count of Champagne, Otho de Transinges, and William de Cague, were sent by sea with a retinue, to impart the good news to the marquis at Tyre; but, as the proverb says, "There is many a slip Ôtwixt the cup and the lip!" for God proved the marquis to be unworthy of the kingdom; and as a further evidence of his judgment of him, we may add this:that after the departure of the French, King Richard had asked the marquis, as he had often done before, for the aid which was required to recover the kingdom, as we have already said, but he refused it obstinately, so that blame must deservedly be imputed to him; and over and above this, he was diligently plotting against the honour of the king’s crown, and the army at Ascalon, by entering into a treaty of peace with Saladin, on the conditions that he should come to him and swear to observe concord hereafter, and that the Christians should have a share of the city of Jerusalem; and that he should have the fortress of Baruth, and Sidon, and half the land on this side the river Jordan. To those terms Saladin readily assented in spite of his brother, who opposed them; and, as we heard afterwards, constantly persuaded Saladin to agree to no conditions of peace with any of the Christians without the consent of King Richard. "There is not a better man than he in Christendom," said Saphadin; "nor has he his match for probity; and I will neither advise, nor assent to the confirmation of peace, unless with his consent and privity." By these means the infamous design was abandoned, and the treason failed of success. The existence of this plot was clearly proved afterwards; for during the time that ambassadors were going to and fro, between Saladin and the marquis, to arrange and negotiate the matter, Stephen de Tornehan happened to meet them coming out of Jerusalem from the presence of Saladin. They were men notorious for infamy of character; one of them was called Baban of Ybelin, the other, Reginald of Sidon; but we pass them by for all their anxious endeavours and zeal came to nought, like dust, which a man scatters against the wind.

Chapter XXV. - How the marquis, on hearing that he had been chosen king, was elated with great joy, as well as his friends; and how the latter prepared armour for themselves, and every thing necessary for his coronation.

The ambassadors, who had been sent to fetch the marquis, arriving at Tyre, set forth to him how he had been unanimously chosen king by the whole army, and with the consent of King Richard; and that the crown of the kingdom had been granted to him, if he would come with his army and perform the duties thereof, vigorously and bravely, against the Turks, and apply himself to the government of the kingdom of Jerusalem in all other matters as his own. On hearing this, it is said, that the marquis, in the excessive joy of his heart, stretched forth his hand to heaven, and prayed thus, "0 Lord God! who has created me, and infused life into my body; who art a just and merciful King; I pray Thee, O Lord, if thou thinkest me deserving of the government of Thy kingdom, grant me to see myself crowned; but if Thou judgest otherwise, consent not thou to my promotion! "When it became well known throughout the city of Tyre that the marquis was to be crowned king, so great was the joy of the people, that they got in readiness whatever they had, and used their utmost diligence to prepare

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