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and yet they were a marvellous great number." This tumultuous army was marshalled, if we follow the authority of the "Chronique de Flandres," like that of the English, in three battles or divisions, exclusive of that of the Genoese archers. The king's brother, the fiery d'Alençon, led the first, the other two were arrayed under John of Hainault and the king-of these, if there were two, it seems that Philip in person commanded the second.
The Sires of Aubigny, Beaujeu, and Noyer, together with a distinguished cavalier, Le Moine de Basèle, had been despatched by Philip to reconnoitre his adversaries, or, in the quaint words of Froissart, " pour regarder sur le pays." Basèle informed the king that the English army instead of being, as many believed, in full retreat, was drawn up in good order, and awaited his approach with a firm appearance. He strongly urged the necessity of postponing the action until the ensuing day, in order to allow of time to the troops for the purpose of refreshment and repose. Nor was Philip himself averse to follow this sage counsel. Orders were despatched to stop the march of the advanced guard, which, from impatience or mistake, had already put itself in motion. But it was vain to call halt "in the name of God and St. Denis." The Count d'Alençon, who followed, burning with ardour to begin the engagement, continued his progress; the advanced guard, which had halted, resumed their movement on perceiving Alençon's corps still marching, under an impression that the order had been countermanded; and now the "grand seigneurs" displayed their foolish vanity in attempts to outstrip each other. The crowd became perfectly unmanageable, and arrived in the face of their enemies in the greatest possible disorder. It does not appear that any line of battle was formed regularly, but there is sufficient reason to believe that after turning the source of the Maye, and following the "Chemin de l'Armée," the French troops took up a position with Estrées les Cressy in the rear of their centre. The chroniclers have been careful to note the circumstance of an extraordinary flight of crows which hovered over both armies. Ravens and carrion crows do not assemble in such numbers; and rooks, as far as I could perceive, are not to be found in that part of the country, so that this "corvorum exercitus" is unquestionably marvellous ; although as an augury "nothing came of it," to use Dr. Johnson's expression, for it was impossible to say which of the two armies was the object of the omen. A more important phenomenon was an eclipse of the sun which took place at the time; but even that prodigy passed away unheeded by the combatants; unlike that "kind of night-battle" between the Lydians and Medes, six centuries before our era, when an eclipse of the sun struck terror into the contending armies, and separated them in mutual consternation.
A third event is recorded, of common occurrence, indeed, but on this occasion greatly serviceable to the English army. The day was uncommonly hot and sultry, and a thunderstorm burst immediately over the field of battle, and the rain descended in torrents. The unfortunate Genoese were inundated, and their bowstrings rendered almost unserviceable, while those of the English archers had been carefully preserved from wet by being placed in their helmets. It was now three o'clock in the afternoon, the storm passed off, and the sun shone forth fiercely, darting his beams immediately into the eyes of the Genoese, while they fell harmlessly upon the backs of the English. Philip, rendered perfectly
furious at the sight of a hostile army upon the soil of France, gave orders for an immediate attack, and the Genoese crossbows, who were in the front line, were commanded to begin the assault. Exhausted with heat
and hunger and the fatigue of a long march, they implored a moment of repose, "saying to their constables, we be not well used in that we are commanded to fight this day, for we be not in case to do any great feat of arms, we have more need of rest."" These words came to the hearing of the Earl of Alençon, who said, “A man is well at ease to be charged with such a sort of rascals, that faint and fail now at most need." It was now three o'clock in the afternoon, and, to continue the extract from Hollingshed, who is expressive and animated, and by his old language increases the zest of his description, we read, "When the Genoese were assembled together, and began to approach, they made a great leap and cry, to abash the Englishmen, but they stood still, and stirred not at all for that noise. Then the Genoese the second time made another leap and huge cry, and stepped forward a little, and the Englishmen removed not a foot. The third time again the Genoese leapt and yelled, and went forth until they came within shot, and fiercely therewith discharged their crossbows. Then the English archers stepped forth one pace, and let fly their arrows so wholly and so thick together that it seemed to snow. When the Genoese felt the arrows piercing their heads, arms, and breasts, many of them cast down their crossbows, cut the strings, and returned discomfitted. When the French king saw them flee away, he said, 'slay those rascals, for they will let and trouble us without
Philip himself here stands charged with the crime of having issued this rash order-other writers, with greater probability, ascribe it to the Comte d'Alençon. The king was in a remote and much lower part of the field, whence, unprovided with a watch-tower like Edward's, it would have been difficult to perceive what was passing in the advanced guard; and besides, the command was more in the style of the furious temperament of Alençon.
"Then ye might have seen the men of arms have dashed in amongst them, and killed a great number of them, and ever the Englishmen shot where they saw the thickest press; the sharp arrows ran into the men of arms, and into their horses, and many fell, horse and man amongst the Genoese, and still the Englishmen shot where they saw the thickest press, and when they were once down they could not recover again." The French accounts describe the prodigious quantity of arrows sent forth by the English archers, "que ce sembloit neige;"—while Villani launches forth into the tremendous effect of the cannon upon men, and particularly upon horses, and compares their terrific noise to that of the thunder of the Almighty. Whatever these pop-guns may have been, it is by no means unlikely that they occasioned some attention, more by their novelty than by any real effect they could have produced in the action.
I have not ventured to change the orthography of the "Vallée des clercs;" but the tradition you heard upon the spot, that it is more correctly the "Vallée des éclairs," and owes its name to the lightnings of the English artillery, appears extremely likely to be correct. "Vallée des clercs" speaks nothing to the mind in connexion with the battle; and if it is the true name, it must have been much corrupted from its original source. This valley was, at all events, the scene of the slaughter of the Genoese,
as well as of many of the French men-at-arms; "the throng was such that one overthrew another; and also among the Englishmen there were certain of the footmen with great knives-(these were Welch)—that went in among the men of arms, and killed many of them as they lay on the ground, both earls, barons, knights, and esquires."
Thus perished the miserable mercenaries who were to have annihilated the bowmen of England. It formed no part of the conditions of their engagements that they were to be cut down at the caprice of their employers, and they might therefore justly complain of perfidy and cruelty; but their trade was in blood-they had sold themselves to fight-not in their country's cause, but in a quarrel in which they had no concern whatever, and therefore it mattered little from which party they received the natural reward of their vocation.
This was the second grand error of the day; the utter absence of all order and discipline was, as we have seen, the first. The second, their murder of the Genoese; but the third, resulting, indeed, from a better source, that of impetuous valour, was the last, for it was decisive and fatal to those who committed it. Thus the centre of the French army was thrown into a hopeless mass of confusion; without attempting to restore order, the fiery Alençon determined at all hazards to attack the Prince of Wales. The last columns of his division were come up with the nobles of his household, arrayed under his banner, which was borne by a distinguished knight, Jaques d'Estracelles, but after the failure of the first attack it was judged imprudent to renew the action until the arrival of Philip; however, the rash and imperious Alençon brooked no such delay; he determined to commence the assault at the very instant, and commanded Jaques d'Estracelles to lead on to the attack. warrior, renowned for numberless proofs of courage, had availed him of a momentary interval of repose to remove his helmet, and was reviving himself with a little fresh air, for the heat was oppressive in the extreme; he represented to the prince that any attempt to expel the English from the intrenchments with cavalry would inevitably expose him to destruction, but d'Alençon refused to listen to such advice, exclaiming impatiently,
"Remettez votre bacinet ; et marchez !"
"Puisqu'à la bataille sommes venus," answered Estracelles, "je le mettrai, mais jamais ne sera osté par moi !" and he immediately advanced with the division under his banner against the Prince of Wales. This movement must have taken place on the extreme right of the French army, and according to all likelihood on the top of the plateau. Hollingshed thus relates the particulars of this second attack of the French : "The Earl of Alençon came right orderly to the battle, and fought with the Englishmen, and so did the Earl of Flanders on his part. These two lords coasted the English archers, and came to the prince's battle and there fought right valiantly a long time. The French king perceiving where their banners stood would fain have come to them, but could not by reason of a great hedge of archers that stood betwixt him and them. This was a perilous battle and sore foughten: there were few taken to mercy, for the Englishmen had so determined in the morning. Certain Frenchmen and Almains perforce opened the archers of the prince's battle and came to fight with the men-at-arms hand to hand. Then the second battle of the Englishmen came to succour the prince's battle, and not
before it was time, for they of that battle had as then enough to do, in so much that some which were about him, as the Earl of Northampton and others, sent to the king, where he stood aloft on a windmill hill, requiring him to advance forward and come to their aid, they being as then sore laid to of their enemies. The king hereupon demanded if his son were slain, hurt, or felled to the earth.
"No,' said the knight that brought the message, but he is sore matched.'
"Well,' said the king, 'return to him and them that sent you, and say to them that they send no more to me for any adventure that falleth so long as my son is alive, for I will that this journey be his, with the honour thereof.'
"With this answer the knight returned, which greatly encouraged them to do their best to win the spurs, being half abashed in that they had sent to the king for aid."
The French authors make the danger of the prince to have been extreme; according to them, Alençon's charge carried all before it. The French troops overturned every thing which opposed their passage, and penetrated up to the prince himself. Surrounded and thrown to the earth, he would infallibly have fallen into their hands, had it not been for a knight of Norman origin, named Richard de Beaumont, who carried the great banner of Wales. This knight threw his vast standard over the prostrate prince, "Mit ses pieds dessus, prit son espée à deux mains, et fit si bien qu'il empêcha son petit maître d'être tué," so says the "Histoire des Mayeurs d'Abbeville;" but the anecdote seems at variance with the answer of the knight to the king's inquiry.
Harcourt, to whose experience Edward had principally confided the prince, apprised Arundel of the critical position of the heir of the crown. Arundel, at the head of the second corps, advanced to his assistance, and succeeded in forcing the French from the hill, which they were vainly endeavouring to turn, into the valley, already encumbered with the massacre of the Genoese, and the bodies of innumerable horses dead or wounded. Fresh combatants advancing in disorder augmented the confusion; many were overwhelmed and suffocated in the pressure. The English arrows told upon the mass with tremendous effect; among their victims fell the brave d'Estracelles, never again to unlace his helmet.
"The Englishmen,' says Hollingshed, never broke out of their battles to chace any man, but kept themselves together in their wards and ranks, and defended themselves ever against such as came to assail them. When the Frenchmen were clearly overcome, and those that were left alive fled and gone, so that the Englishmen heard no more noise of them, King Edward came down from the hill (on which he stood all that day with his helmet still on his head), and going to the prince embraced him in his arms and kissed him, saying,-"Fair son, God send you good perseverance in this your prosperous beginning. You have nobly acquit yourself. You are well worthy to have the governance of a realm committed to your hands for your valiant doings." The prince inclined himself to the earth in honouring his father as best he could. This done they thanked God, together with their soldiers for their good adventure."
The forward movement of the English army at the close of the day must have been mainly directed towards the left wing of the French, which they appeared to have turned sufficiently to intercept all retreat towards Abbeville; as to an organised retreat there was none.
The fugitives fled towards the Authie, to the passages of that river at La Broye and Ponches. The Duke of Savoy, in particular, appears to have taken the latter route, probably following the old Roman road; he sought refuge in Montreuil, where he maintained himself a few days afterwards against Edward, who, on his way towards Calais, attacked Montreuil, and fired all the suburbs. The same cause which drove the wreck of the French army away from Abbeville, prevented all tidings of what had occurred from reaching that city, and proved fatal on the succeeding day to some reinforcements coming up from that quarter. That day, which was densely foggy, the result of the depression of temperature in the atmosphere caused by the thunderstorm, was devoted by Edward to attendance upon the wounded, and to the long and melancholy task of an enumeration of the slain.
There were found on the field of battle eighty banners, and the bodies of eleven princes, 1200 knights, no less than 30,000 common men, and one prelate. Froissart gives the loss of the English at only three knights and fifteen archers. Whatever it might have been in truth it was no doubt marvellously small, a fact which receives support from the results of many battles fought about that period. "Thus," says Hollingshed, "was the whole puissance of France vanquished, and that chiefly by forces of such as were of no reputation among them, that is to say, the English archers, by whose sharp and violent shot the victory was achieved, to the great confusion of the French nation. Of such price were the English bowes in that season, that nothing was able to withstand them; whereas now our archers covet not to draw long and strong bows, but rather to shoot compass, which are not meet for the wars, nor greatly to be feared, though they come into the field."
TRANSLATED FROM THE SPANISH OF DON JUAN MELENDEZ VALDES.
BY JOHN OXENFORD, ESQ.
[Melendez, who was born in 1754, and died in 1817, holds an eminent position among the more modern Spanish poets. His Anacreontics are remarkable, not for originality of thought or imagery, but for a certain natural gaiety in the expression, in which they are scarcely to be surpassed. They are in the common dimeter catalectic of Anacreon, the rima asonante being, of course, employed. In the following translations, rhyme is substituted for the asonante, and the original measure is preserved, though the two short lines are written out in a long one, on account of the absence of rhyme in the odd places.]
COME fill the cup, Dorilla,-and quickly hand it me,
I cannot choose but shiver-when yonder snow I see.
The flakes are light and fleecy-as through the tranquil air,
Oh, sheltered by our cottage-'tis pleasant, after all,
The trees bend down their branches-with weight of snow oppress'd,
A raiment bright of crystal-o'er hill and mountain-side
Is spread that with that cover-their bareness they may hide.