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Geoffrey de Vinsauf
Itinerary of Richard I and others to the Holy Land
three o’clock on the morrow to Ascalon, and stopped in the orchards outside the city, while every one supposed that he was on the point of returning home, and that in reality he was hastening his departure. But the king had changed his purpose by the inspiration of God, through the agency of the chaplain; and he told Count Henry, the duke of Burgundy, and others of the nobles, that he would not leave before Easter for the solicitations of any messenger, or any reports or complaints whatever. On the fourth of June, therefore, in Trinity week, he summoned Philip, his herald, and commanded him to proclaim throughout the army, that the king would not depart from the Holy Land before Easter; and that all should equip themselves according to their means, and prepare for the siege of Jerusalem.
Chapter XLVII. - How the army was rejoiced on hearing the king’s determination, and how they prepared for the siege of Jerusalem.
When the army heard the words of the herald, they were as delighted as a bird at dawn of day, and all immediately set themselves in readiness, packing up their luggage, and preparing for the march, Then, with hands lifted up to heaven, they prayed thus. "O God, we adore and thank thee that we shall soon see thy city of Jerusalem, in which the Turks have dwelt so long! O how blessed are our expectations, after this long delay! How deserved have been the sufferings and tribulations of each of us! The much longed-for sight of thy city will recompense us for all!" These and the like prayers were offered up by each; their only care and anxiety being now to proceed on their march. Moreover, the crowd of the lower class of people, made active by hope, took the provision baggage on their shoulders, asserting that they were fully able to carry a month’s supply, so eager were they to proceed to Jerusalem; for there is nothing the mind of a willing man cannot overcome, if he only has the inclination; and zeal in the service of God softens the hardships of his toil.
Chapter XLVIII. - How King Richard and the army set out from Ascalon towards Jerusalem, and arrived at the White Custody; and how two of our men died from the bite of serpents.
While, therefore, each was getting ready for the campaign, every thing that happened seemed to be done in harmony with their intentions. The king and army, therefore, who were encamped outside the city, being now thoroughly prepared for the march, set out from Ascalon on Sunday, the octave of the holy Trinity, towards Jerusalem at dawn of day. A chosen people, and nobly arrayed, were they who now issued forth, advancing slow on account of the heat. The richer classes supplied with lowly generosity the poor pilgrims who were on foot with means of conveyance horses, and every kind of beast of burden, to carry them; while the lightarmed and robust young soldiers followed spontaneously behind them on the march. Then might you have seen many a banner and pennon of various forms floating in the breeze; many a mother’s son, people of various nations, arms of various shape, and helmets with crests, brilliant with jewels, and shining mails, and shields, emblazoned with lions or flying dragons in gold; mules and horses, eager to move at full speed, and burning with indignation at being held in by the foaming bit; many a lance with its sharp point glittering; the air sparkling with the gleaming of swords, and so many soldiers, choice men, good and true, who, in my opinion, were quite sufficient to crush or withstand the Turkish host, or even a much larger number than they could shew. They made such progress on their march, that after crossing a river of sweet water, they arrived at the White Custody, and having pitched their tents in the plain outside, they spent the night there. On the first night of their stay, a soldier and his armbearer died from the bites of two serpents, within a small space of ground; and may God, in whose service they were taken, give their souls absolution. The army tarried in that place two days.
Chapter XLIX. - How the king and his army arrived in three days at Betenoble from the White Custody, and there waited for the arrival of the people one month.
On the third day, i.e. the ninth of June, the army arrived at "Turon of the Soldiers," without obstacle or misfortune. On that night, our men captured fourteen Parthians who had come down from the mountains to plunder. On the morrow, after dinner, the army moved forward, the king going first, with his own private soldiers, as far as the castle of Arnald, where he ordered his tent to be pitched on the right and higher side of the castle. On the morrow, the French arrived, and the whole army set out for Betenoble, where they stayed some time in expectation of Count Henry, whom King Richard had sent to Acre to fetch the people who were living there in idleness; wherefore, it was necessary for the army to stay a whole month or more at the foot of the mountain, which the pilgrims are obliged
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