Previous First Next
Geoffrey de Vinsauf
Itinerary of Richard I and others to the Holy Land
Redeemer was kept prisoner during the night, to be crucified the next morning. This we saluted devoutly, whilst the tears ran down our cheeks, and then took our leave in haste, and the Turks also spurned us from them not a little, and we grieved for the pollutions with which the holy places were defiled by the horses of the unbelievers who used them for stables. We now took leave of Jerusalem aud returned to Acre.
Chapter XXXIV. - Of the third company of pilgrims, led by Hubert Walter, bishop of Salisbury, to whom Saladin shewed much honour, and granted every thing he asked for.
The third company, led by the bishop of Salisbury, was now not far from Jerusalem, and Saladin sent out his people to receive the bishop honourably, and to conduct him wherever he pleased, to visit the holy places. Moreover, in acknowledgment of his prudent and honourable character, and his other merits, which had long before been known to Saladin, he was requested to take up his residence in the Sultan’s palace, and to be entertained at his expense. The bishop refused, saying, "By no means, for we are but pilgrims." Saladin enjoined his servants to shew every attention to the bishop and his men, and sent him many presents; afterwards, also, he invited them to an interview, that he might behold his manner and deportment, and he allowed him to have a sight of the Holy Cross; and they sat and conversed together a long time. Saladin, therefore, asked him about the king of England, and what the Christians said of his Saracens. To which the bishop replied, "In truth, as concerns my lord the king, I will only say what justice demands, that he has no equal among all the knights in the world, either for valour or for liberality in giving; for he is in every thing distinguished for every excellent quality. In short, my lord, in my humble opinion, if any one, bating your majesty’s sins, were to bring your virtues into comparison with those of King Richard, and were to take both of you together, there would not be two other men in the world that could compete with you." Saladin listened patiently to the bishop, and at last replied, "I have long since been aware that your king is a man of the greatest honour and bravery, but he is imprudent, not to say foolishly so, in thrusting himself so frequently into danger, and shews too great recklessness of his own life. For my own part, of however large territories I might be the king, I would rather have abundance of wealth, with wisdom and moderation, than display immoderate valour and rashness." The conversation then took a familiar turn between the two, and Saladin told the bishop to ask for any thing he liked, and it should be given
him. The bishop in reply, asked if he might have until the next day to consider what he should ask. Which being granted, he then requested, that, whereas divine service was but half performed before at our Lord’s tomb, which he had just visited, in the barbarous way of the Syrians, it might be allowed for the future, that two Latin priests with two deacons, to be maintained by the offerings of the faithful, should perform divine service in conjunction with the Syrians; and an equal number at Bethlehem, and also at Nazareth. This petition was one of great importance, and as we believe, agreeable to God. The sultan assented to the request; and the bishop instituted two priests in the aforesaid places, together with two deacons, rendering to God a service where there had been none before. After this, the pilgrims obtained the sultan’s license, and returned from Jerusalem to Acre.
Chapter XXXV. - How the pilgrims, having fulfilled their pilgrimage, set sail for their own country, but suffered many shipwrecks and hardships on the way.
The people had now completed the pilgrimage to which they had devoted themselves, and preparing their fleet to return home, they spread their sails to the winds, and committed themselves to their ships. The fleet speedily set sail, and the ships were wafted in different directions, according to the variety of the winds. For a long time they were tossed about on the waves, and some of them reached different ports in safety; others were driven about, and in danger of being shipwrecked; others, again, died on their voyage, and found their grave in the depths of the ocean; others also were seized with incurable diseases, and never recovered or returned to their own country. Others, moreover, who endured in safety to the end, through the loss of their fathers, brothers, relations, and friends, who had perished of disease. or by the sword, are believed to have endured a severe species of martyrdom, and diverse passions pierced their breasts as with a sword. Each, in his own way, we must admit it, endured a kind of martyrdom; every one, in short, of those, who with simple and devout hearts had exposed themselves for the love of God to this distant pilgrimage. Some, however, with loquacious garrulity, were accustomed
Previous First Next
* * *