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Geoffrey de Vinsauf
Itinerary of Richard I and others to the Holy Land
There they shared the plunder, and then proceeded on the second day to Ramula. Here Count Henry came up with the troops, and the people he had brought with him from Acre, and thence they all set out for Betenoble,
from which place they had started. Here the universal joy was renewed, and all flocked together in astonishment at the numbers of beasts of burden with which the army was accompanied. On arriving, the noble king distributed the camels, which were larger than any that had ever been seen there, as well to the soldiers, who had remained to protect the camp, as to those who had joined in the expedition, in equal proportions. In this respect, he graciously imitated the example of that renowned warrior, King David, who gave an equal share of the spoil to the soldiers who went forth to battle, and to those who remained in the camp; and he also divided the asses amongst his serving men. By these means the army was supplied with so plentiful a number of camels and other beasts of burden, that it was with difficulty they were kept together. The flesh of the young camels they stuffed with lard and roasted for the table, and they found it very white and palatable.
Chapter VII. - How the people murmured at being prohibited, however reasonably and prudently, from going to Jerusalem.
Shortly after the distribution of the plunder, the people grew disFirsted, and complained that the beasts of burden consumed too much barley and provender, and that on this account the price of grain was become higher. Besides this, there arose much complaint and sorrowing amongst the people, because it was not thought expedient to proceed to the siege of Jerusalem, as they wished, owing to the opposition of the twenty counsellors aforesaid, who had given their reasons for deciding to the contrary. They thought it a difficult and impossible enterprise, from the want of water, which the men and cattle could not do without, especially as the festival of St. John was close at hand; a time when, from the increasing heat of the summer, all things were naturally dry, particularly around Jerusalem, which is situated in the mountains. Besides this, the Turks had blocked up all the cisterns, so that not a drop of drinkable water could be found within two miles of the city, and it would be unsafe to go in search of it to a distance when the siege had once begun; and the small stream of Siloe, which runs down at the foot of the Mount of Olives, would not be
sufficient for the army. These were the reasons why the counsellors dissuaded the king from the siege of Jerusalem at that time, and when it became known to the army that they were not to proceed thither, but were on the point of turning away from that city, they cursed this delay in the hopes they had conceived, and asserted that they only wished to live until Jerusalem and the Holy Land and Cross were once more in the possession of the Christians alone. But God, who is the just judge of men’s feelings, governeth time and actions; and to his mercy and kindness is it to be ascribed that he chastens sinners and punishes them for all the inventions of their hearts.
Chapter VIII. - Of the jealousies and discords of the French, and how they separated themselves from the rest of the army, and how Henry, duke of Burgundy, composed a satirical poem against King Richard.
We must not wonder that the pilgrims who were thus harassed without any good result, grieved at the failure of their wishes, for discord grew rife amongst them; nor that the vacillating character of the French, which distinguished them from all other nations, should have been here displayed. For at evening, when the army advanced on their march, the French separated themselves from the rest, and took up a distinct position, as if they disdained their company. They were not, however, First with separating only, but they fell to quarrelling among themselves, and gave utterance to ironical jests and abusive language, each vaunting his own superior prowess, while they disparaged that of the others. Above all, Henry, duke of Burgundy, whether instigated by a spirit of arrogance, or influenced by envy and jealousy, composed and caused to be recited in public, a song, which if he had any sense of shame, he would never have allowed to be published; and those songs were sung not only by men but by immodest women. By which means, they shewed the real character of those who indulged in such indecent folly, and the nature of their hearts was sufficiently manifest from this fact, for the stream is clear or turbid according as is its source. On this composition becoming current amongst the soldiers, King Richard was much annoyed, but he thought that a
similar effusion would be the best mode of revenging himself on the authors, and he had not much difficulty in composing it, as there was abundance of materials; why then should he hesitate to reply to such a
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