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Geoffrey de Vinsauf
Itinerary of Richard I and others to the Holy Land
the most solicitous for your honour; but may God forbid that you be turned from the recovery of this desolated land, by doubtful or uncertain reports, for we believe it would tend to your eternal disgrace; let not then the glory of a most splendid enterprise be overcast by a hasty retreat; nor let it be charged against you hereafter, that you returned home in idleness, while your enterprise was still unfinished. How unlike will the end be to the beginning, if you thus derogate from your former glory! I pray you to take
heed, lest your glory, so well earned at first, fade and tarnish in the end! My lord the king, remember what God hath done for you, and how he hath prospered all your acts, to be recorded by immortal fame. Never did king of your age perform so many or such glorious deeds! Remember, O king, that even when you were but count of Poictou, you never had a neighbour for a foe, whatever might be his valour or courage, but he was subdued and conquered by your might. Remember, O king, the multitudes of Brabaçons whom you so often routed and dispersed, with a small band of soldiers. O king, remember how gloriously you raised the siege of Hautefort, when the count of St. Giles besieged it; how you drove him off, and put him to ignominious flight. O king, remember how you obtained possession of your kingdom, peacefully and quietly, without opposition, or need of shield or helmet. O king, remember how many and mighty nations you have subdued, how bravely you captured the city of Messina, and how nobly you behaved yourself when the Greeks ventured to provoke and make war against you, and how you crushed them, and the divine mercy rescued you out of their hands, whilst they were confounded and destroyed. Remember, O king, the qualities with which God has endowed you, according to the riches of his grace, when you subdued the island of Cyprus, which no one had dared to attack before, and which you subjugated in the short period of fifteen days; which you were only able to do by the assistance of God himself. Remember how you then captured the emperor; and that ship of extraordinary size, which could not put into the port of Acre by reason of a contrary wind, you met and overwhelmed her with the eighty armed Turks, and cast into the waves of the sea the serpents which were therein. Remember, my lord the king, the siege of Acre, to the capture of which you arrived in good season, and which was surrendered when you assaulted it. Remember how you then fell ill of the sickness called arnalia, and how you suffered much, but, by the mercy of God, recovered when so many princes died of the same complaint. O king, remember that land which God hath committed to your care, and whose eye is turned to you only, for the king of France has departed, like a coward. O king, remember the Christian captives whom you released from the bonds with which the Turks had fettered them, in the fort of Darum,
and to whose succour you were sent by God. How deeply should you reflect on the numberless triumphs with which God has honoured you, and the successes with which he has magnified you, so that there is not a king or prince who can venture to resist you. Has it also escaped your memory that you have lately captured the fort of Darum in four days? And what shall we think of that hour, when you were lying asleep incautiously, and were nearly seized by the wicked infidels, had not God aroused you, and rescued you from their hands? Why need I detail the foes whom you have subdued throughout the world, the cities that have fallen before you, and the successful issues of all your undertakings? Remember, that when you came hither from the western world, you were everywhere victorious, and your enemies lay in chains at your feet; for before your face, In vain Antǽus rose refreshed from earth, Or Hydra’s heads were multiplied. And now the sultan trembles at your name, the hearts of the people of Babylon are astonished, and the Turk is struck with awe. Need I say more? All agree in declaring that you are the father, the champion, and the defender of Christianity, and if you desert them, it is the same as if you gave them up to be destroyed by the enemy. O king, continue to be their chief, bravely as you have begun; succour this people, for their hope is entirely in you: you are their natural protector, and may you, with the aid of Christ, still continue to prosper!"
Chapter XLVI. - How King Richard caused it to be proclaimed, by voice of herald, throughout the army, that he would not return until after Easter.
The king attended to the words of the chaplain, and deliberated within himself some time in silence. He had held his peace while the chaplain was speaking, and they also who were sitting with him in his tent had listened with the utmost attention. The king’s heart was changed by this address, and his intention was confirmed as to the certainty of the course which he should pursue; and therefore, he and his army returned at
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