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Title: With Spurs of Gold - Heroes of Chivalry and their Deeds
Author: Greene, Frances Nimmo, 1850-1921, Kirk, Dolly Williams, 1863-1941
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: "'Ah, my ill-starred blade!' he cried; 'no longer may I
be thy guardian!'" _Frontispiece_]



  With Spurs of Gold

  _Heroes of Chivalry and Their Deeds_

  By

  Frances Nimmo Greene

  and

  Dolly Williams Kirk

     Boston
     Little, Brown, and Company
     1928

     _Copyright, 1905,_
     BY LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY

  _All rights reserved_

  PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA



PREFACE


These brief historical sketches were written primarily for young people,
though it is hoped that some older readers may find pleasure in renewing
their acquaintance with heroes of chivalry whose names are familiar
still, but whose deeds are recalled to mind but vaguely.

It is the purpose of the book to enliven the study of history by giving
the romantic details omitted in text-books, and to enable the readers to
form a more vivid and lifelike conception of the great men with whom it
deals and the turbulent and picturesque times in which they lived.

The endeavor of the authors has been to narrate events and portray
character accurately and impartially, but in the sympathetic spirit that
recognizes the wide difference between modern standards of conduct and
the ideals of the Middle Ages,--the spirit that strives to depict
vividly and adequately the fine, strong virtues and great deeds that won
for these knights the unbounded admiration of their own age, rather than
to dwell upon those traits and acts that are justly condemned by the
finer moral sense of the twentieth century. Emphasis is laid upon the
noble in character and deed rather than the ignoble, on the great rather
than the little.

In the preparation of the book many histories, chronicles, and legends
have been consulted, and it is hoped that a fair degree of accuracy has
been attained where the narrative belongs to the domain of history. The
stories of Roland and the Cid, of course, are largely legendary, and
there is evidently a considerable admixture of fiction in the
contemporary accounts of Godfrey and Richard. The authors have
endeavored to follow recognized historical authority closely when
practicable; but historians differ so widely among themselves that it is
often impossible to determine which version of events is most reliable.
No important fact has been stated without good historical authority, but
one or two minor incidents of Godfrey's life and crusade were taken from
Tasso's "Jerusalem Delivered." In the treatment of a few unimportant
events, some imaginative details and circumstances strictly in harmony
with the meagre historical record of facts have been added to give color
and interest to the narrative. Also in several instances where the
subject-matter of a conversation or speech is purely legendary, or is
given by historians in the third person, it has been put in the first
person in order to render the story livelier and more vivid. No other
liberties have been taken with facts as related by historians of
learning and repute.



CONTENTS


                                                                    PAGE

   INTRODUCTORY                                                       xi

   "THIS IS THE RULE FOR THE GALLANT KNIGHT"                           1

   A STEED! A STEED!                                                   3

   ROLAND AND OLIVER                                                   7

   THE CID RODRIGO DIAZ DE BIVAR                                      51

   THE CID'S WEDDING                                                  84

   GODFREY AND THE FIRST CRUSADE                                      89

   THE TROUBADOUR                                                    139

   THE CARRIER DOVE                                                  140

   THE CAPTIVE KNIGHT                                                141

   RICHARD COEUR-DE-LION                                           145

   RICHARD'S LAMENT                                                  196

   THE LAST CRUSADER                                                 198

   THE CHEVALIER BAYARD                                              203

   SIR PHILIP SIDNEY                                                 255

   SIDNEY IN TOURNAMENT                                              291



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


   "'Ah, my ill-starred blade!' he cried; 'no longer
       may I be thy guardian!'"                            _Frontispiece_

   The Knighting of the Cid                                   _Page_ 59

   "'Look, my lord, my dear lord! the hound hath
       found water!' cried Sigier"                               "  109

   "There for months he was kept a close prisoner,
       loaded with chains"                                       "  190

   "As Bayard lay thus, there was hardly an officer
       among the Spanish who did not come to
       speak kindly to him"                                      "  251

  Sir Philip Sidney and Penelope Devereux                        "  266



INTRODUCTORY


THE MOORS IN SPAIN

In the seventh century an Arab by the name of Mohammed, or Mahomet,
established a new religion in the East. This religion was called Islam,
meaning The Faith, and its followers were known as Mohammedans,
Mussulmans, or Moslems. The principal article of their belief is
expressed in the formula, "There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is
his prophet."

The new faith spread rapidly, and Mohammed soon became the ruler of all
the people who received him as a prophet. His successors, called
Caliphs, or Khalifs, conquered Palestine, Syria, Persia, and northern
Africa. The inhabitants of the countries thus added to the Mohammedan
empire usually adopted the faith of their conquerors, and undertook to
carry it into other lands.

In 711 A. D., a body of these Mohammedans, under the leadership of
Tarik, crossed the strait between Africa and Spain and landed at the
place since known as Gibraltar (Jebel-el-Tarik, or The Rock of Tarik).
The invaders were met near Xeres by the Christians, under the command of
Roderick, King of the Visigoths, and the fierce battle of Jerez de La
Frontera, or Guadalete, took place. At the end of three days' fighting,
Roderick was slain, and the Christians were completely routed. Victory
after victory for Tarik followed, and in three short years all Spain,
except the extreme northern part, was in the hands of the invaders.

These victorious followers of Mohammed, though people of various
nationalities, were all designated by the Spaniards _Moors_, from the
name of a tribe that came from Morocco, or _Saracens_, from an Arabic
word meaning eastern. Often they were called simply _infidels_, meaning
unbelievers.

The Moors were not only skilled warriors, but a people of much
intelligence, and made far more rapid advances in civilization than the
Spaniards. They fostered education, and founded schools and libraries.
They possessed a considerable knowledge of astronomy, algebra,
chemistry, and natural history, and attained great excellence in the
arts of music, poetry, and architecture. They built splendid cities,
adorned with magnificent mosques and palaces. The wonderful mosque of
Cordova and the beautiful Alhambra at Granada remain to this day as
monuments of the Moorish skill in architecture.

Nor were the Moors cruel or tyrannical rulers. It was not often that a
Moorish emir or king ill-treated or persecuted his Christian subjects.
As a rule, the Christians were allowed more privileges and greater
freedom than was usually accorded to a conquered people in those days.
But the Spaniards were proud and intensely religious, and they bitterly
resented their state of subjection to a foreign and "infidel" people.
Again and again they attempted to overthrow the power of the Moors and
to drive them from Spain. For more than seven hundred years, war was
waged at intervals between the conquerors and the conquered. There could
be no permanent peace between Mohammedans and Christians, for each
people despised the religion of the other, and each was determined to
rule in Spain.

Gradually, Moorish Spain, at first under the rule of one emir, became
separated into a number of small kingdoms, which were often hostile to
each other. This state of disunion among the Mohammedans materially
aided the efforts of the Christians to regain control of Spain. Little
by little the Spaniards reconquered their native land. In 1492 A. D.,
Ferdinand and Isabella, sovereigns of Castile, Leon, and Aragon,
conquered Granada; and with the fall of Granada ended the long rule of
the Moors in Spain.


THE AGE OF CHARLEMAGNE

In the fifth century that part of Europe then called Gaul was invaded in
succession by three Germanic races. The Visigoths first conquered and
took possession of the southern part of the country. They were followed
by the Burgundians, who settled in the eastern portion. Then came the
terrible Franks, who were not content with seizing the northern
territory, but immediately began a war of conquest against the other two
tribes. The long conflict that followed ended at length in the triumph
of the Franks. These fierce Franks then established themselves firmly as
the ruling race, and in course of time Gaul came to be known as the land
of the Franks, or France.

The kingdom thus established by the Franks under their dreaded chief,
Clovis, flourished for a time; but eventually the kings of his line
became so weak in character and so wicked in conduct as to be unfit to
rule, and the country fell into a state of wretched disorder. At last
these Merovingian princes became so utterly incapable that the kingly
authority fell into the hands of certain state officials called "Mayors
of the Palace."

In the eighth century one of these mayors--a bold and energetic warrior,
by the name of Charles, or Karl--became in reality the ruler of France,
though a weak Merovingian prince still bore the empty title of king.

At that time the Mohammedans who had conquered Spain some years before
were seized with the ambition to conquer all Europe and add it to the
empire of Islam. Under the leadership of Abderrahman, Moorish governor
of Spain, these Saracens crossed the Pyrenees and invaded France. The
Christians of all races, roused by the greatness of the threatened
danger, ceased warring among themselves and rallied as one people to the
defence of their country and their religion. A large army under the
command of Charles, or Karl, ruler of the Franks, met the invaders near
Tours. There, in 732 A. D., was fought the famous battle of Tours, or
Poictiers, in which Charles and his Christian warriors utterly routed
the formidable Mohammedan army. By this great victory, the threatened
advance of the Moslem power was checked, and Europe was saved to the
Christian faith. The victorious general, Charles, because of this great
blow dealt to the _Infidels_, received the surname of Martel, or the
Hammer.

But the fame of Karl Martel, though great and well-deserved, is far
surpassed by the renown of his grandson, Charlemagne, or Charles the
Great. The kingship of France, Charlemagne inherited from his father,
Pepin, who, more ambitious than Karl Martel, dethroned the Merovingian
puppet king and made himself king in name as well as in fact.
Charlemagne, during his reign of forty-five years, added vast
territories to his Frankish kingdom by successful wars waged against
surrounding tribes of heathen Saxons, against the Moors in northern
Spain, the inhabitants of Bavaria, the Avars beyond that country, and
the people of Lombardy, in what is now Italy.

In the year 800 A. D., on Christmas Day, the great Frankish king was
crowned emperor by the Pope at Rome. He was hailed as a successor to the
Roman Cæsars, the people shouting,--

"Long life and victory to Charles Augustus, crowned by God, the great,
pious, and pacific Emperor of the Romans!"

Charlemagne, in truth, well deserved the title of emperor, for at that
time his sway extended over France, northern Spain, northern Italy, the
greater part of Germany, Belgium, and Switzerland,--almost half of
Europe. But Charlemagne was more than a successful warrior, a conqueror
of nations. He was a man of powerful intellect, whose keen insight,
sound judgment, and iron will enabled him to rule wisely and well the
various races of his vast empire. Charlemagne was an earnest student and
a man of extensive learning for those days, familiar with Latin and
Greek, proficient in logic, rhetoric, music, astronomy, and theology.
Delighting in study himself, the emperor recognized the vital importance
of general education. By founding schools and compelling attendance upon
them, by himself setting an example of devotion to study, thus
encouraging others to intellectual pursuits, by inviting to his court
famous scholars from neighboring countries,--in every way possible,
Charlemagne endeavored to impress upon his people the value of mental
culture and the importance of education.

His court became the resort of learned men and renowned knights from
all lands, and the fame of Charlemagne spread far and wide. Poets
celebrated his achievements as a warrior, his virtues as a man, his
wisdom as a ruler. Nor was their praise unmerited. By the most wonderful
military genius, this chieftain of a wild Frankish tribe carried out his
ambitious project of establishing a great Christian empire. That he only
partially succeeded in his more noble purpose of civilizing the
barbarous tribes he ruled, was due solely to the magnitude of the task.
The zealous and splendid effort he made, the measure of success he
attained, in battling against the darkness and ignorance of his time,
entitle Charlemagne to a place among the truly great men of the world.
His greatness has stamped his name on the time, and the "Age of
Charlemagne" stands out in happy contrast to the darkness of preceding
and subsequent times.


THE CRUSADES

It was the custom in the earliest ages of Christianity for its followers
to make pilgrimages to Palestine. All pious Christians desired to visit
the land where Christ had lived and died for their redemption, and they
believed firmly that the blessing of God awaited those pilgrims who
made long and perilous journeys to worship at the tomb of their Lord.
These pilgrimages became much more numerous in the fourth century, when
the Roman emperor, Constantine, was converted to Christianity and put a
stop to the persecution of the Christians. This emperor and his mother,
Saint Helena, restored Jerusalem, and there erected magnificent churches
for the worship of Christ. Then, from all parts of the Christian world,
thousands of pilgrims journeyed to the Holy City in peace and safety.

But Jerusalem was not destined to remain in the hands of the Christians.
After having been taken by the Persians and retaken by the Christians,
the city yielded in the seventh century to the Mohammedans, under the
Caliph Omar, a successor of Mohammed. From that time on, Christians
living in Palestine and pilgrims from other countries were oppressed and
persecuted, and the pilgrimage to Jerusalem became both difficult and
dangerous. During the reign of Charlemagne, respect for the fame and
power of that great Christian emperor induced the celebrated Caliph
Haroun-al-Raschid to treat the Christians with mildness, and to allow
them to worship in peace at Jerusalem; but under the succeeding
Mohammedan rulers of Palestine, the Christians were subjected to every
manner of insult and outrage. Those courageous pilgrims who dared all
the perils of a journey to Jerusalem and returned home in safety, spread
abroad throughout Europe the sad story of their own trials, the
sufferings of their fellow-Christians in Palestine, and the desecration
of holy places.

These stories excited deep indignation and pious horror in all hearers,
for it was an age of intense religious faith and enthusiasm; and the
feeling arose in the hearts of Christian people that it was an
imperative religious duty to rescue the Holy Land and the Sepulchre of
their Lord from the Infidels. This feeling grew and spread and
strengthened into a religious conviction throughout Christendom. So when
Peter the Hermit, a monk returned from Palestine, traveled through
Europe, and preached eloquently the sacred duty of delivering the Holy
Land, he found everywhere enthusiastic hearers.

The people burned with zeal to undertake the pious task; and when Pope
Urban, at the Council of Clermont, in 1095 A. D., gave the sanction of
the Church to the enterprise, all Europe rushed to arms. Those who vowed
to do battle for the holy cause bore the sign of the cross, and hence
the expedition to Palestine was called a "crusade," from the Latin word
_crux_, meaning cross.

The history of this First Crusade is given in the sketch of Godfrey de
Bouillon, and that of the Third Crusade in connection with the story of
Richard Coeur-de-Lion. These two were the most famous crusades,
although others were undertaken at different periods. The last crusade
took place in the thirteenth century, under the leadership of Louis IX.
of France--Saint Louis--and was unsuccessful. After that time, the
Christians made no further attempt to rescue the Holy Land, and it is
still in the hands of the Mohammedans.



With Spurs of Gold



"THIS IS THE RULE FOR THE GALLANT KNIGHT"


    Amend your lives, ye who would fain
    The order of the knights attain;
    Devoutly watch, devoutly pray;
    From pride and sin, oh turn away!
    Shun all that's base; the Church defend;
    Be the widow's and the orphan's friend;
    Be good and leal; take naught by might;
    Be bold and guard the people's right;--
        This is the rule for the gallant knight.

    Be meek of heart; work day by day;
    Tread, ever tread, the knightly way;
    Make lawful war; long travel dare;
    Tourney and joust for ladye fair;
    To everlasting honour cling,
    That none the barbs of blame may fling;
    Be never slack in work or fight;
    Be ever least in self's own sight;--
        This is the rule for the gallant knight.

    Love the liege lord; with might and main
    His rights above all else maintain;
    Be open-handed, just and true;
    The paths of upright men pursue;
    No deaf ear to their precepts turn;
    The prowess of the valiant learn;
    That ye may do things great and bright,
    As did Great Alexander hight;--
        This is the rule for the gallant knight.

    EUSTACHE DESCHAMPS
    (_Fourteenth century_).



A STEED! A STEED!


    A steed! a steed! of matchless speed!
      A sword of metal keene!
    Al else to noble hearts is drosse--
      Al else on earth is meane.
    The neighing of the war-horse proude,
      The rowling of the drum,
    The clangour of the trumpet loude--
      Be soundes from heaven that come.
    And, oh! the thundering presse of knightes,
      When as their war-cryes swelle,
    May tole from heaven an angel bright,
      And rouse a fiend from hell.

    Then mounte! Then mounte! brave gallants all,
      And don your helms amain;
    Deathe's couriers, Fame and Honour, call
      Up to the field againe;
    No shrewish tear shall fill our eye
      When the sword hilt's in our hand;
    Heart-whole we'll parte and no whit sighe
      For the fayrest of the land.
    Let piping swaine and craven wight,
      Thus weepe and puling aye;
    Our business is like to men to fighte
      And like to Heroes, die!

    MOTHERWELL'S _Ancient Minstrelsy_
    (_Author unknown_).



ROLAND AND OLIVER


THE TRAGEDY OF RONCESVALLES

     "Roland is daring and Oliver wise,
    Both of marvelous high emprise;
    On their chargers mounted and girt in mail,
    To the death in battle they will not quail."



ROLAND AND OLIVER

    "Montjoie! Whoever heard that cry
     Would hold remembrance of chivalry."


In days of old there lived a powerful Christian emperor by the name of
Charlemagne. His kingdom extended over the greater part of the territory
which now constitutes the countries of France, Germany, and Italy; and
the "Franks," as his people were called, followed him with a loving
loyalty that has been celebrated in song and story for twelve hundred
years. Around Charlemagne were gathered not a few knights whose names
will forever be remembered with that of their emperor, and whose deeds
will live as long as the chivalric instinct thrills the breast of man.

Now this great emperor, though loving and generous toward his subjects,
could yet brook no shadow of opposition; and when he discovered that his
beloved sister Bertha had, without his consent, wedded the knight,
Milon, he at once banished the disobedient pair from the land of
France.

Fleeing before the awful displeasure of Charlemagne, Milon and his wife
wandered about in foreign parts as mendicants, and at length took refuge
in a cave near a small town in Italy. Here, under these adverse
circumstances, a little son was born to them--one destined to be the
hero of two countries, the "Roland" of "the French Iliad" and the
"Orlando" of Italian song and story.

While Roland was yet a little lad, his father departed for unknown lands
to seek fame and fortune, leaving the boy and his mother to eke out a
scanty existence as best they might.

As Roland grew in years and in youthful graces, he became a favorite
with the peasant boys of the village, and, in spite of his ragged
clothes and his humble abode, was soon made their leader. But there was
one lad in Sutri who had no love for the stalwart young mendicant.
Oliver, son of the governor of the town, and consequently a youth of
high station, conceived quite a dislike for him, and a feud existed
between the two until it was ended by Roland in a most singular way.

Meeting the son of the governor on neutral ground one day, the fiery
young cave-dweller proposed that they settle their quarrel with their
fists. Oliver, being in no whit a coward, quickly consented. The contest
which ensued was a long and stubborn one, for the two lads were very
nearly equally matched in strength and endurance and courage. Finally,
however, the half-clad, disowned nephew of Charlemagne stood triumphant.
The quarrel was indeed settled; for Oliver, being a lad of mettle, and
loving and admiring valor wherever he found it, arose from his honorable
defeat the sworn friend and admirer of his doughty conqueror.

And the friendship of Oliver meant much to the poor lad who had defeated
him. It often meant food when he was hungry, and clothes when he was
cold, and always insured him support in all the boyish contests in their
native village. But, better than all these, it meant to Roland the
loyal, lifelong devotion of a comrade who became as part of his own
soul.

While Roland was yet only a stripling, the great emperor, Charlemagne,
passed through the town of Sutri, and while there dined in public on the
village green. Now the young Roland had not yet come to the age when he
could provide for his mother and himself. The times were hard with
them--especially hard on this great feast-day of the emperor, for they
were hungry, and knew not where to turn for food.

Now it chanced that Roland, fierce with the fierceness of the
half-starved, came suddenly upon some of the emperor's attendants just
as they were bearing trays of rich viands to place before their master.
The sight of food and the thought of his mother's sufferings instantly
swept all things else from the lad's mind. Rushing upon the attendants,
he wrested the viands from them, and made off to his mother's cave
before they could realize what had happened.

When the emperor was informed of the incident, his brows knitted in deep
thought, for he had dreamed a dream on the night before, which troubled
him sorely. He had seen the fierce, half-famished lad in his vision, and
had been warned to follow him.

After a moment's thought, Charlemagne dispatched three of his knights to
find the boy and bring him to the royal presence. The three who were so
commissioned had little trouble in finding the lad, but they came near
having a serious conflict with him when they attempted to enter,
uninvited, the cave he felt to be his castle. His mother, however,
restrained the impetuous youth with her pleadings, and the messengers
of Charlemagne entered.

When Bertha learned that the knights had come from the emperor, she
disclosed to them her own identity and the identity of the lad they had
come to seize. This was Roland's first knowledge of his great lineage,
and he heard and beheld as in a dream, as the knights knelt before his
mother and promised to obtain for her the emperor's pardon.

Dazed, dreaming still, the gaunt, sinewy lad took his way to
Charlemagne, in company with the knights who had been sent to fetch him.
But in the presence of his emperor,--his kinsman,--the dream feeling
passed, and Roland rose to the occasion with the pride and independence
of his race.

When the white-haired, careworn emperor looked upon his sister's son,
his heart went out to him with a great yearning; for the lad was tall
and strong, the lad was proud and unconquered. And Charles the Great
opened his empty arms and took the boy to his heart, nevermore to be
exiled from it.

Roland and his mother returned to France with the emperor to be, from
that time on, part of the royal household, and to enjoy riches and
honor.

But the great happiness that was Roland's was not without its heartache.
He and his beloved Oliver were completely separated by this change, and
drifted further away from each other with the drift of years.

As soon as Roland was grown to manhood, Charlemagne made him captain of
his "peers,"--the twelve knights who, for their bravery and their
trustworthiness, were chosen to be next to the emperor himself in
authority.

Among all the twelve, young Roland was the most daring, the most
impetuous. His splendid qualities won for him the hearts of the many;
but the few were jealous of him, and charged that he exercised undue
influence over the emperor and incited the white-haired Charlemagne to
deeds of daring and violence that were none of his own conceiving. Chief
among Roland's accusers was the envious Count Ganelon. Ganelon had
become step-sire to the young peer by wedding the widowed Bertha, but
the nearness of the tie between him and Roland only seemed to make him
yet more bent on injuring the emperor's favorite.

However much of truth there was in the charges of Roland's enemies, this
is certain,--he did become the very darling of the emperor's heart, and
he did perform such deeds of daring and prowess as made even the
knightly peerage of Charlemagne behold with wonder and amazement.

The first act of personal daring by which he distinguished himself was
his engaging and slaying the giant Ferragus. This achievement won for
Roland the hearts of the people, and led them to watch his crescent
glory with national pride.

Now in these days a terrible heathen enemy threatened the Christian
faith and civilization of Europe. Years before, several Mohammedan races
from Asia--dark, relentless, resistless--had swept over northern Africa,
and, crossing Gibraltar, overrun the fair land of Spain. North, east,
and west they spread, conquering the Christians and preaching their
heathen doctrines with fire and sword. So the beautiful and once
Christian Spain came to be ruled for many years by the invaders, who
founded cities, built palaces, and raised Moslem kings to her thrones.
Nor were the Mohammedans content here. They repeatedly attempted to
cross the Pyrenees Mountains and overrun the rest of Europe.

Now it chanced that just as a Moorish invasion seemed most imminent,
Charlemagne had serious trouble within his own kingdom. Guerin de
Montglave, Lord of Vienne and vassal to Charlemagne, revolted against
the emperor.

With his usual determination, King Karl dispatched a large army against
Guerin, and would have waged bloody war against him had not the peers
interposed and counselled otherwise. They represented to the emperor the
seriousness of beginning civil war when the Moors were daily threatening
invasion from the south, and finally succeeded in getting his consent to
a settlement of the quarrel with Guerin by single combat.

Guerin signifying his willingness to this plan, arrangements were soon
made for the combat. As all expected, Roland was chosen to maintain the
justice of the emperor's cause; and as both Roland's friends and enemies
wished a happy settlement of the quarrel with Guerin, the selection was
heartily approved.

Guerin de Montglave chose his youngest grandson to do battle for Vienne;
and many a smile was exchanged between Franks when they heard that this
young knight accepted with delight the honor that his grandsire
conferred upon him.

The combat was to be held upon a small island in the Rhone, and the
warriors of the two camps were accordingly grouped on opposite sides of
the river, as spectators.

When Roland and his antagonist faced each other at opposite ends of the
field, each armed from top to toe, each with his face concealed by his
visor, they were so nearly of the same size and bearing that they might
easily have been mistaken, the one for the other, but for the colors
that fluttered from their lances. Yet there was almost sorrow in the
ranks of Charlemagne's army for the young stranger knight so soon to be
laid in the dust,--for who could hope to match with Roland?

Their sympathy was all too soon changed to astonishment, for in hardly a
moment after the sound of the trumpet in signal for the onset, the
champions clashed together in the center of the lists with apparently
equal force. Both lances were shivered; both horses reeled from the
shock; both riders kept their seats; both banks of the Rhone echoed and
re-echoed with cheering.

The combatants dismounted and drew their swords. For two hours and more
they fought--stroke for stroke and thrust for thrust. The spectators
stood breathless with amazement. Neither champion showed sign of
weakening; neither gained advantage. Suddenly, with one mighty stroke,
Roland buried his blade in the shield of his antagonist so deep that he
could not withdraw it, and at almost the same instant the stranger
knight struck so fiercely upon Roland's breastplate that his sword
snapped off at the hilt.

Having thus disarmed themselves, the two antagonists rushed together,
each attempting to fling the other to earth. Long and full stoutly they
struggled; and when at last it became apparent to the now silent,
fearful spectators that neither would be likely to gain advantage, the
combatants each suddenly snatched at the other's helmet to tear it away.
Both succeeded. The straining spectators then beheld a most amazing
sight. The two antagonists fell apart for an instant and looked into
each others' uncovered faces, then rushed into each others' outstretched
arms. This time there was no striving; they were apparently embracing
each other in an ecstasy of delight.

And such was indeed the case, for the stranger knight was _Oliver_. For
nearly three hours had he and Roland striven against each other as
strangers and enemies. Now they were face to face and heart to heart
after the cruel striving--after years of separation. What wonder, then,
that cause and country were forgotten!

And in spite of cause and country and king and kinsman, the two boyhood
comrades could not be induced to oppose each other further. Happily for
all concerned, the trouble between Charlemagne and Guerin was settled in
a few days in peaceful conference.

Roland and Oliver, having thus found each other, refused to be separated
again; and the good emperor honored the redoubtable Oliver by making him
one of his peers.

No longer was Roland undisputedly first in valor at the court of
Charlemagne. Oliver had so grown in prowess since his first encounter
with Roland that he was now the peer of his friend in every point.
Indeed, so exactly equal were the achievements of these two that from
their story has come the well-known expression "a Roland for an Oliver,"
meaning, matching a deed with a deed as great. There was this difference
between them, however: whereas Roland was fearless to recklessness and
proud and presumptuous to his own destruction, Oliver was wise,
discreet, and modest. Yet this very difference seemed to bind them more
closely to each other. But there was a yet stronger and closer tie
between them in Alda, the beautiful sister of Oliver.

After their grandfather, Guerin, had repented of his revolt and again
become submissive to the emperor, Alda came with her brother to the
court of Charlemagne. Of all the ladies in the land she was the most
beautiful, and the gentleness which distinguished her brother was hers
in a marked degree. Many a mighty knight strove to win her favor; but
though she was kind to all, her smiles were reserved for her brother's
comrade, and erelong she became his promised wife.

Great was Oliver's delight to find that the friend who had been a
brother to him was to be his brother in yet another sense. King Karl,
too, consented joyously to the troth, for he loved the gentle Alda even
as he loved her courageous brother.

But no time was there then for marriage feasts and rejoicings. The
heathen were clamoring at the gates of Christendom, and it became the
duty of every knight of the true religion to bid a hasty farewell to his
lady and buckle on his sword.

All France rushed to arms, and not a moment too soon. Marsilius, Saracen
King of Spain, was preparing to cross the Pyrenees!

Long and bitter was the war which ensued, but Charlemagne saved France
to the Franks and to the true faith. But King Karl and his men were not
content with merely saving France from the infidels. At one time the
Frankish hosts crossed the Pyrenees and conquered nearly all of northern
Spain. For seven long years King Karl and his Franks warred in the
peninsula. Keep and castle went down before the Christians; city after
city capitulated to them; the land was theirs from mountain to sea,
except the single town of Saragossa, in which the Moslem king,
Marsilius, together with a powerful army, had taken refuge.

The beautiful Saracen city of Cordres was the last to fall before the
arms of Charlemagne. Long and stoutly did the besieged stronghold hold
out against the conqueror, but at last its gates were carried and its
towers and walls battered to earth.

    "Not a heathen did there remain,
    But confessed him Christian, or else was slain."

In celebration of the taking of Cordres, Charlemagne shortly afterwards
held court with great pomp and splendor in a beautiful orchard in the
heart of the conquered city.

It was the custom of the emperor to take counsel of his peers and
knights in all matters of import, and he now desired to discuss with
them how best to bring to a happy close this long and bitter war,--for
Marsilius was still in possession of Saragossa. With the fall of Cordres
the end seemed near at hand; and Charlemagne rejoiced, for he had grown
old and weary of strife, and he longed to return to his own again. No
less relieved at heart, his warriors gathered about him that day, eager
to plan some means of ending their cruel exile.

The sky was fair, as with the promise of yet fairer things; and the
olive-trees of Cordres spread out their branches above and about the
Christian hosts as if in token of the peace they so earnestly craved.

Seated upon a throne of beaten gold was the Emperor of ample France.
Proud, and mighty of frame was he, but the curls that rested on his
shoulders and the beard that flowed over his bosom were white as the
snow-caps of the Sierra Nevadas. Small wonder the Moslems believed that
two hundred winters had piled their snows upon his head!

The flower of Frankish chivalry pressed about him--fifteen thousand
doughty knights of France. Gorgeous carpets were spread upon the
greensward, upon which the cavaliers sat at games or practised fencing
with light arms. But nearest to the great Charlemagne--and dearest
too--were the two sworn comrades, Roland and Oliver.

King Karl had not yet opened the council when there rode into the
orchard twelve messengers from King Marsilius, each mounted upon a
snow-white mule, each bearing an olive-branch of peace. A gallant
company they seemed--fair and honest--as they alighted from their beasts
and knelt at the feet of the Christian emperor.

Great was the astonishment among the Franks to behold what seemed to
them a miraculous answer to their prayers for peace; and they listened,
spell-bound, as the leader of the heathens bowed to the earth and
said:--

"O king, may thy God of glory save thee! Our lord, Marsilius, doth send
greeting to thee. Much hath he mused on thy Christian law, and now he
hath determined to embrace it as his own. If it please thee to depart
from the land of Spain, where too long thou hast tarried, King Marsilius
will hasten after thee, and in thine own city of Aix, at Michaelmas,
will receive Christian baptism and swear fealty to thy royal self
forever. Our lord doth further say that, an so it please thee to hearken
unto him, he will lay much of his wealth at thy feet. Bears and lions
and dogs of chase will he send to thee; seven hundred camels that bend
the knee, and a thousand hawks also. Four hundred mules laden with gold
and silver such as fifty wains could scarce bear away shall be thine, so
it please thee to depart, O king!"

The Frankish lords stood silent.

King Charlemagne, never hasty of speech, bent his hoary head in thought
for many minutes. When he raised it again, a lofty look was on his face.

"Thou hast spoken well," he said, "but King Marsilius was ever a deadly
foe to us. How may we know that his fair promises will not lack of
fulfilment?"

"Hostages wilt thou, my lord?" cried the heathen. "Ten or twenty or more
will I give thee,--mine own son the first. King Marsilius will come to
redeem them, for he would fain be laved in the fountain of thy Christ."

"Yea, he may yet be saved!" cried the pious emperor. Then he caused good
cheer to be made for the Saracen emissaries. Twelve servitors were
detailed to attend their bidding, and they remained in the Christian
camp till morning.

Now when the dawn came, Charlemagne arose and attended mass, as was his
wont. Then he betook himself to the orchard, and again summoned his
barons around him. He had pondered much during the hours of darkness,
and was now determined to act as his lords advised.

A goodly company they gathered about him--Archbishop Turpin, the warlike
churchman, Duke Ogier bold, and Richard the Old were close about the
throne. Gerien and Gerier, brothers-in-arms, were there, and Roland and
his faithful Oliver, and many other knights, including, alas! Count
Ganelon.

Then Karl spoke to his barons concerning the offer of the Saracen king.
He reviewed the rich promises of Marsilius, and reminded the Christian
company of the heathen king's desire to be baptized, adding, however,

"I know not what may lie in his heart." When he had ceased speaking,
there arose a warning cry from the Franks--

"Beware! Beware!"

Scarcely was the word repeated when Count Roland came forward and faced
his uncle.

"Believe not this Marsilius!" he cried. "For full seven years we have
warred in Spain, and he hath been ever a traitor. Hast thou forgot the
time when he sent unto thee fifteen of his heathen bearing olive boughs
of peace and speaking flattering words, as now? Hast thou forgot that
when thou didst hearken unto his words and send two of thy chiefest
knights to treat with him, he did cause their heads to be stricken off?
War! I say. End as you began. Besiege him in Saragossa!"

Roland ceased, and the Franks were silent; but every eye was bent on him
as he stood in his youthful pride before the emperor. Right well beloved
was he among his people, for many a brave city had gone down before him.
There was not his peer for courage and spirit in all the Frankish hosts,
except, perhaps, the gentle Oliver. The emperor bent his head and mused.
Suddenly Count Ganelon sprang to his feet.

"Be not misled by me or others!" he cried, addressing the emperor. "Look
to thine own interest, my lord. King Marsilius assures thee of his
faith. He will be thy vassal, and receive thy Christian law even as
ourselves. Who counsels thee against this treaty cares not what death we
die. Good does not come from counsel of pride, my lord; list to wisdom,
and let madmen be."

Then the white-haired and reverend Duke of Naimes arose; there was than
he no better vassal in all France.

"My King," he said in deepest reverence, "well hath Count Ganelon made
reply. King Marsilius is broken and beaten in battle. Thou hast captured
his castles and shattered his walls; thou hast burned his cities and
slain his soldiers; it were a sin to molest him further. Receive the
hostages he offers, and send him in return one of thy Christian knights
to arrange terms of peace with him. It is time this war were closed."

"The duke hath spoken well!" the Franks exclaimed. The emperor paused,
then said, at length,

"Who, then, amongst you were best to take this mission?"

"I," said the duke, quickly. "I pray thee yield me thy royal grace."

"Nay," answered King Karl; "thou art my wisest counsellor. By my beard I
swear thou shalt not depart from my side."

"I," cried Count Roland, "will go right gladly."

"Not so," said Oliver; "thou art too fiery to play such perilous part. I
shall go myself, if the king so will."

"Silence, I command ye both!" said the king. "Neither of you shall
perform this errand." Then he commanded his knights to make a choice
from among their number for the perilous journey.

Again Roland spoke:

"Be it, then, my step-sire, Ganelon. In vain will ye seek for a meeter
man."

Instantly the Franks echoed Roland's choice, crying,

"So it please the king, it is right and just!"

Ganelon heard, and his rage against Roland was fierce indeed. He flung
his mantle from him, and faced the younger knight in a mighty wrath.

"Thou madman!" he cried. "What meaneth this rage against me? I am thy
step-sire, and thou doomest me to danger like this! So God my safe
return bestow, I promise to work thee ill as long as thou hast the
breath of life." Then Roland answered him haughtily--

"Am I known to reck of the threats of men? But this is work for the
sagest. So it please the king, I will go in thy stead."

At this, Count Ganelon's anger was deep and bitter indeed; and he
spurned the insulting offer of his step-son to go in his stead, after
which he turned to King Karl, saying,

"O righteous emperor! I stand ready to execute thy high command."

Then the emperor bade him go to King Marsilius with the terms of peace,
which were that he, the Moslem, was to hold half of Spain in vassalage
to Charlemagne; that the other half of the conquered territory was to be
ruled by the emperor's well-beloved Roland; and that Marsilius was to
journey to France at Michaelmas and receive Christian baptism.

Bitter indeed it was to Count Ganelon that his enemy should thus profit
by the perilous service to which he himself had been thus condemned, but
he was too proud to retreat in the face of danger.

Now, when all was arranged, the emperor handed Ganelon a missive to
Marsilius; he gave the count his right-hand glove also, in token of the
high authority with which he vested him.

As the count bent low to receive his commission, the emperor's glove
dropped to the ground, and the startled Franks whispered to one another:

"God! What is this? Evil will come of this quest." But it was treated as
an accident, and Ganelon passed on his journey.

And on that journey he held deep and evil converse with the heathen
concerning Roland and his overweening pride.

Now when the Saracen emissaries were returned to Saragossa, they stood
before Marsilius, crying, "Mahomet save thee!" and presented Ganelon,
who bore King Karl's answer.

When the Christian was summoned to speak, he gave his emperor's answer
boldly. Marsilius listened in silence to the terms of treaty till
Ganelon reached the part where Charlemagne declared that if his terms
were rejected, he would besiege Saragossa, and bear Marsilius captive to
France, there to die a "villainous death of shame." At this Marsilius
was sorely enraged, and, forgetting how serious were his straits, sprang
from his throne, and would have dealt death to the Christian had not his
wise nobles interposed and persuaded him to temper his wrath with
judgment.

When Marsilius was pacified, Ganelon was again asked for the terms of
the treaty, and he again gave them as they had been intrusted to him.
Much the heathen questioned him concerning King Karl, and he answered
without fear, always praising his emperor; but when Marsilius desired of
him the secret of Charlemagne's aggressive and warlike policy,--for the
emperor was past the age when men are given over to ambition,--Ganelon
assured him that Roland was the evil genius of the emperor, always
urging him to greater deeds of violence, always inciting him to greater
heights of power.

The wily heathen put the question several times, in as many forms, but
Ganelon's answer was always the same,--Roland ruled the emperor, and as
long as Roland lived, so long would Charlemagne slay and oppress. And he
ended significantly,--

"Whoso shall bring death to Roland shall wring from Karl his greatest
strength; he shall see the marvelous hosts of Franks melt away and leave
this mighty land at peace."

Then villainous heathen and treacherous Christian devised there a plan
by which the gallant Roland was to suffer death, and the Frankish power
in Spain was to be forever destroyed. It was Ganelon's evil brain that
conceived the plot; it was the heathen, Marsilius, who was to execute
it.

By his own terms of treaty, Charlemagne agreed to withdraw his Franks
from Spain; and to do this, it would be necessary for him to lead them
through a deep and narrow defile in the Pyrenees Mountains. Ganelon knew
full well that the emperor would intrust the rear-guard of his army in
the retreat to none but his valiant Roland, for there would be great
danger of the treacherous Moslems' falling upon the rear and dealing
slaughter among the retiring hosts. This fact Ganelon pointed out to the
Saracen king, and he undertook to have Roland placed in the rear-guard
of the Franks. He suggested that the Moslem hosts be massed together in
overwhelming numbers, ready to make a sudden descent upon the rear-guard
when Karl should be too far in front to save them.

Marsilius agreed eagerly, and in his joy at the thought of revenge, he
fell upon Ganelon's neck and kissed him. Then he bade his attendants
bring royal gifts, which he bestowed upon the traitor; after which they
both took a solemn oath to compass the fall of Roland,--Ganelon swearing
by the cross on his sword-hilt, and Marsilius by the Koran, the sacred
book of the Mohammedans.

The joyful Moslems closed around Ganelon, and he pledged them Roland's
death with many kisses, receiving from them costly gifts and great
riches. Then Marsilius made ready the riches he had promised to
Charlemagne, and sent them and twenty hostages, with Ganelon, to the
emperor.

So Count Ganelon came back to his emperor with treason in his heart and
a lie on his lips, and "Charles the Great" believed him.

Then all was astir in the Frankish camps; a thousand bugles sounded
retreat, and a hundred thousand faces were turned toward France and
home. There was eager joy in the Christian ranks that day, and the
mighty Karl sighed with relief,--

"My wars are done."

But the ambitious and fiery Roland was ill-satisfied, and Count Ganelon
carried in his breast fiendish hatred and jealousy.

From the nature of the country, and the plan of the march homeward, it
was plain to all that the rear of the army was the position most exposed
to danger; so it was of great concern to Charlemagne who should be left
to guard it. As was his custom in matters of great import, the emperor
took counsel with his knights as to who should be left to command the
rear-guard, and before any one else could speak, Count Ganelon
answered,--

"My liege, on my step-son let thy royal choice fall. Knight like him
thou hast none beside."

Roland heard, and he knew full well the deep hatred that prompted the
count's reply, but he made answer in full knightly fashion,--

"Sir step-sire, I thank thee that thou hast named me for this trust, and
I do assure thee that if King Karl lose aught in this retreat, our
swords shall tell the reason."

So it was settled as Ganelon and the Saracen king had schemed,--Roland,
the first of Charlemagne's peers and the darling of the emperor's heart,
was left to guard the rear of the retiring hosts; and the heathen,
silently, and by thousands and tens of thousands, were massing
together,--watchful, alert.

Count Roland hastened to make him ready. He donned a suit of peerless
armor, and hung his flower-emblazoned shield about his neck. Girt at his
side was his matchless "Durindana,"--the blade that had been given to
Charlemagne by an angel, who told the emperor that it must be the sword
of a valorous captain. Thus arrayed and armed, with the gold fringe of
his white pennon floating over his shoulders, Roland rode out on his
fiery "Veillantif"; and his men, as with one voice, exclaimed,--

"We will follow thee!"

The ones who followed him were the flower of the Frankish army,--twenty
thousand picked men. First chosen of all was Oliver, and among the
others was the valorous Archbishop Turpin.

Then right cautiously the van-guard began the homeward march. Beyond the
Pyrenees lay their well-beloved France; and they pressed on toward her
vine-clad provinces, but with anxious thoughts of the rear-guard,
leagues behind, between them and the Moslem hosts. The way to home and
loved ones lay through the Vale of Roncesvalles. This vale was a long
and narrow defile in the mountains, through which the army was obliged
to march in a scattered and dismembered way; and so it was that Karl and
the van had already gained France, while the beloved Roland and his
chosen followers were just entering the pass of Roncesvalles.

Now Charlemagne knew full well where the danger lay, and he was
grievously concerned for his sister's son. Moreover, on the night
before, he had dreamed a dream, in which he beheld a vision, symbolizing
the treachery of Ganelon. But it was not a time to hearken to the
misgivings of his heart, and the emperor pressed on, solacing himself
with the thought that his best and bravest were behind with the
rear-guard.

From far over the marches of Spain the heathen hosts were gathering.
Swiftly, surely, their serried ranks were closing in on the Christian
band. Mountain, plain, and valley glittered red with their burnished
arms, as on their light Arab steeds they swept like the wind of the
desert on Roland's track. And as the rear-guard of the Christian army
rode into the deep defile of Roncesvalles, the Saracen bugles rang out a
challenge from the far distance.

Now Oliver, though brave as any of King Karl's peers, was wise enough to
recognize danger and to fear it. The sound of the war-trumpet brought
him at once to Roland's side, and he said,--

"Sir Comrade, there is battle at hand with the heathen!"

But Roland lacked wisdom, and exclaimed with his usual pride,--

"God grant it may be so! Let us be strong for mighty blows, lest songs
of scorn be sung against us. No craven part shalt thou see me fill this
day."

Oliver was not so anxious for an encounter with the enemy, and he
hastily climbed to a high point to get some idea of their numbers. Far
over the plain his eye could reach, and he was bewildered and dismayed
by the sight before him. Greater far than he had reckoned were the
Paynim hosts, and many times more ominous was their battle-array. One
long look at their serried, glittering masses, and he hastened down to
Roland.

"My comrade," urged he, "I have seen the enemy, and never on earth did
such host appear. I pray thee, sound thy horn, that Karl may hear and
return to our succor." But Roland answered:

"Such deed were madness! Lost in France would be my glory. My good sword
shall seal the felons' fate."

"Nay, Roland, sound on thine ivory horn, that Karl may bend his legions
back and lend us aid," exclaimed his wise companion. In vain he pleaded.

Nearer and nearer the Moslems swept, and Oliver exclaimed in reproach,--

"See, comrade, see how close are they, and help, alas, how far! The
rear-guard will make their last brave stand this day!"

But Roland was drunk with the joy of battle and cried,--

"My friend, my brother, my Oliver, the emperor hath left us here his
bravest. Full twenty-thousand men he gave to us, and among them no
coward heart. I shall so strike with this matchless blade that he who
wears it when I lie dead shall say, ''Twas the sword of a valorous
captain.'"

The time was all too short--the Moslems were almost upon them.
Archbishop Turpin, seeing their straits, spurred his horse to a jutting
crag, and addressed the men. There was silence among the Franks as the
voice of the beloved churchman rang through the hollow pass:

"Barons, we are here for our emperor's sake; strike we for him, though
death be our portion." He stretched out his arms above them, and the
Franks alighted and knelt on the ground, crying, "_Mea culpa!_" Then he
assoiled them and blessed them, giving them for penance, to smite their
best.

The next instant the storm of battle broke, and Paynim and Christian
closed in the death-struggle, each hoping, believing, to find in the
blood of the other his passport into Paradise; each with the name of God
on his lips.

Well might the emperor bow his white head in woful fear, though the blue
skies of his native France were smiling above him. Death stalked
triumphant at Roncesvalles, and Frank and Saracen yielded him tribute
till the pass was covered with the dying and the dead.

If only King Karl could have seen his knights that day, the glory of
the sight would have blotted out its tragedy. Roland was proud, but
there was none braver than he; and he flung himself upon the enemies of
his king, his country, and his God with a fierce courage that none might
withstand. Wherever his splendid form was seen, his followers greeted
him with loud acclaim, and he cheered them on with their emperor's
battle-cry,--"Montjoie, Saint Denis!"

No less courageous was his dear comrade. But no fierce joy impelled
Oliver to the great deeds that he performed. He saw his duty, and met it
like a true knight.

Nor were the ten others of the emperor's peers less zealous in his
cause. Each gave his all for Charlemagne; and if that all was less than
the mighty Roland gave, it was not the fault of the knight who pledged
it.

Conspicuous in the fight was the great archbishop,--here blessing and
assoiling according to his holy office; there rushing to the charge like
the warrior that nature had made him, crying,--

"Strike, barons! Remember your chivalry!"

But not to the Franks alone belong all the glory and all the praise. The
Moslem hosts that opposed them were "worthy of their steel,"--equally
zealous in their own cause, equally certain of the approval of God.

Wilder and fiercer grew the strife, and Paynim and Christian mingled
together in dire confusion. At length the Moslem ranks wavered for an
instant, gave back a little, and then broke in panic. And a pitiful
remnant of the mighty host of King Marsilius fled from the field,
leaving slain in the pass the great body of that once proud army. But
even this remnant did not escape, for they were followed by the
Christians; and only one, wounded and bleeding, escaped to tell King
Marsilius the story of his woful loss.

Nearly an hundred thousand Moslems lay dead in the pass of Roncesvalles.
But they had sold their lives full dearly. Beneath, above, and beside
them were piled the flower of the Frankish army--Christian and Paynim,
asleep on one mother's breast, unheedful alike of triumph and defeat.

In spite of the fact that theirs had been the places of greatest danger
all through the battle, Roland and Oliver and the good archbishop had
escaped unhurt; and they and their comrades betook them to the sad duty
of searching the bloody field for their best-beloved dead. Long they had
wandered thus among the dead and dying, when a mighty blast of trumpets
smote on their ears.

"O God, our Father, what straits are ours!" they cried, as looking up
they beheld in the distance another Saracen host, greater by far than
the one they had crushed, bearing down upon them.

Now happened a thing most wondrous to tell. In far-away France an awful
darkness came down upon the land; a great whirlwind swept the face of
the country; the rain fell, the earth rocked, and the thunder rolled
along the sky. For a long time the darkness was unbroken, save when the
lightning cleft the storm-clouds and gave to the scene a yet wilder
fear. On all there came a mighty dread, and they deemed the end of the
world at hand. They knew not that it was an augury of the fateful
tragedy at the gates of Spain.

The lone heights about Roncesvalles had looked upon the Christian in his
pride and triumph; now were they destined to behold another sight.

Like that awful storm-cloud, the heathen came down upon the Christian
few, the thunder of hoof-beats waked the echoes of Roncesvalles, and the
hard earth reeled with the shock of arms.

The rear-guard made their last brave stand that day. Lance to lance and
sword to sword, they held their own while there was yet life in them,
and they achieved all but the impossible. Twice did the heathen swarms
break and fly before the fierce onslaughts of the Christians, but twice,
reinforced, they rushed to the attack again. Knight after knight went
down before them,--Engelier, Duke Sampson, Anseis, Gerien, and Gerier!
Where might the emperor find their like again?

At length only sixty of the Franks were left, pressed together by the
Moslem thousands. Every man in that "marvelous little companie" knew
that death that day would be his portion; but each was stanch and true,
and was resolved to sell his life "full hardily."

As the once haughty Roland gazed on his slaughtered men and on the
pitiful few who rallied around him in his last stand against the Moslem
power, his heart smote him grievously for the ruin he had wrought, and
he cried to his companion,--

"Would to God he had been with us--our emperor and friend! Speak,
Oliver, and lend thy counsel. How may we yet send tidings to Karl?" But
Oliver, in spite of his usual gentleness, was bitter against his
friend, and he said mockingly,--

"'Such deed were madness; lost in France would be thy glory!'"

But Roland's anguish and humility were great, and he insisted,--

"I will sound upon my horn that Karl may hear."

"Nay," cried Oliver. "Wouldst thou _call for aid_?"

The broken-hearted Roland protested, but Oliver continued bitterly,--

"See how our Franks lie slain of thy madness, nevermore to render
service to our emperor. Thou too shalt die, and forever shall France be
dishonored!"

Thus, in face of death, did these two quarrel--they who had been dearer
than all else to each other. The good archbishop heard their strife, and
rebuked them sadly, saying,--

"Sir Roland, and thou, Sir Oliver, I pray ye, in the name of God,
contend not. To wind the horn shall not avail to save us now. Yet were
it meet to sound it, too; for Karl will return to avenge our fall, and
bear our bodies back to gentle France to sleep in hallowed earth."

Then Roland sounded a mighty blast upon his horn,--so mighty that a
vein in his temple burst with the effort, and the bright blood flowed
from his lips. But the powerful strain, echoing and re-echoing along the
hollow pass of Roncesvalles, came faintly to the ear of Karl, and told
its tale of tragedy.

"It is Roland's horn," cried the white-haired emperor. "He had not blown
it save in dire distress." Then, though the traitor, Ganelon, did all in
his power to dissuade him, Charlemagne turned back along the mountain
path toward Spain.

And even in that hour, though weakened by loss of blood, and heart-sick
at the fate he had brought upon his comrades, Roland rushed to the fight
once more,--fleeter, fiercer, and more terrible.

"Oh, Oliver, brother," he cried in his anguish, "I die of shame and
grief if I escape unhurt!"

Deeper yet he pressed into the fight, and showered blows as only Roland
could, driving the foe before him. But, alas! the heathen hosts were
thick as the sands of their native deserts, and thousands upon thousands
came to reinforce their wavering ranks. Then Roland cried,--

"Our hour of fate is come!" and even as he spoke, a villainous heathen
bore down upon Sir Oliver and thrust him through with his lance.

"Sir Roland, Sir Comrade," the dying Oliver cried--for his anger against
his friend had burned out--"ride near me still; our parting is at hand."

"O God, my gentle Oliver!" cried the anguished Roland, "is this the end
of all thy valor? Ah, hapless France, bereft of thy bravest! Who shall
measure thy loss!" His grief was greater than he could bear, and he
swooned upon his charger's neck.

Now Sir Oliver's eyes were dimmed with bleeding, so that he knew not
friend from foe; and soon, in the surge of battle, he mistook his
swooning comrade for a Moslem, and dealt a fierce blow on Roland's
golden crest. The stroke did naught but rouse his unconscious friend,
for the arm of the dying Oliver had lost its wonted power.

"My comrade," said Roland, softly, "didst thou strike me knowingly? I am
Roland, who loves thee so dearly."

And Oliver answered,--

"Have I struck thee, brother? Forgive it me. I hear thee, but I see thee
not." Then Roland pressed closer to him, saying,--

"I am not hurt, my Oliver."

Then Oliver alighted from his horse, and couching upon the red earth,
cried aloud his _Mea Culpa_. Then passed his gentle spirit to Paradise;
and Roland cried in his anguish,--

"Since thou art dead, to live is pain!"

But life and pain were Roland's for yet a little space, and he had need
to bear him to the end a cavalier. Rousing himself from his grief, he
beheld about him a mere handful of the sixty he had counted last, each
fighting "as if knight there were none beside"; so, grasping Durindana,
he pressed into the strife. The next instant he beheld the good
archbishop flung to the ground from a dying charger. But Turpin was on
his feet almost instantly; and though he bore four lance-wounds in his
body, he raised his sword on high and ran to the side of Roland,
crying,--

"I am not defeated! A brave soldier yields with life alone!" Then
wreaked he such vengeance upon the heathen hordes that some say God
wrought a miracle in his behalf.

If miracle of God there was, it was not granted to save the Christian
few from destruction. In the last struggle, the valiant Turpin, wounded
and afoot, and the matchless Roland faced the Moslem hosts alone.

Fled was Count Roland's pride and vanity. With certain death before him,
his one thought was to summon Karl to vengeance, and to die like a
cavalier. The pain in his brow, from the bursting of the vein, was
growing more and more intense; not long, he knew, could his fainting
spirit bide. Once again he raised his ivory horn to his lips, and
sounded a call to the hosts of Charlemagne.

It was but a feeble strain, but on the north wind an answer came.
Suddenly, along the pass, rang a peal of sixty thousand clarions, and
the mountains caught up the strain and shouted it back again.

"King Karl! King Karl!" the echoes seemed to call to each other.

"Let us flee and save us!" cried the heathen. "These are the trumpets of
France! Karl, the mighty emperor, is upon us!"

Never was heathen but trembled at that name. Aghast for one moment the
hosts of the Moslem stood, then, like hunted things, they broke and fled
from the field.

As the infidels gave way in dire panic, Count Roland called to the
archbishop,--

"Let us give the heathen back their onset!" and he spurred his
Veillantif after their flying numbers.

"Who spares to strike is base," answered the valiant churchman; and
wounded though he was, he joined in the pursuit.

"Leave not this Roland alive!" cried one of the fleeing infidels; and he
turned and flung his javelin at the Christian knight. A hundred Moslems
at once followed his lead. Weapon after weapon was hurled upon the
dauntless Roland; but though his armor was all broken, and his raiment
frayed, his flesh remained unscathed. Veillantif, his noble charger,
however, was slain under him, and fell to the ground, pierced by thirty
wounds.

The heathen vanished; and Roland, unable to keep up on foot, was left
alone on the field. His first thought was to succor the good archbishop,
who had been grievously wounded in the fight, so he turned back and
searched till he found the faithful Turpin.

"The field is thine, and God's the glory," was Turpin's greeting to him;
and even as he spoke, his head drooped upon his breast, and his pious
spirit passed away. So died the great Archbishop Turpin,--a champion
ever of the Christian faith with word and weapon.

Noble and generous always, Roland had thought of his comrade first. Now,
left alone, his thoughts turned upon himself, and he knew from the pain
in his brow that his end was at hand. Karl and his legions were still
some leagues away; he might not hope to meet his emperor again, but he
desired much that Charlemagne should know that his Roland had died
unconquered.

So he grasped his Durindana and his ivory horn, and recrossed the
marches of Spain--as far as he had followed the fleeing heathen. There,
on a mound, between two great trees, he laid him down to die. Yet was
his spirit troubled, for he knew that if he died thus, his good sword
might fall into unworthy and unknightly hands.

"Ah, my ill-starred blade!" he cried; "no longer may I be thy guardian.
Yet never shalt thou know master who shall turn his face from mortal
enemy."

So saying, he struggled to his feet, and essayed to shatter his blade
upon a great rock. Many blows he smote with it, yet it broke not. Then
Roland was sorely grieved. Once more he summoned his failing strength,
and showered such mighty strokes upon the stone that the blade, unbroken
still, was bent "past word to tell."

Then, for death was upon him, Roland laid him down in the shade of a
pine. His sword and his horn he placed beneath his head, that Karl might
know he had not surrendered. When this was done, he raised his right
glove to heaven as a sign of repentance, and cried aloud,--

"O God, I do repent me of my sins, both great and small, from my natal
hour to this day. Father, receive my soul!"

Saint Gabriel leaned from heaven, so the legend says, and took the
raised glove from his hand.

And Karl, his emperor, came, and found him with his head upon his
unsurrendered sword, and his face toward Spain.

       *       *       *       *       *

The vengeance that Charlemagne wreaked upon the traitor, Ganelon, and
upon the Moslems in Spain was unspeakably terrible.

It is touching to know, however, that Roland's lady-love--Oliver's
gentle sister Alda--refused to be comforted when she heard of her
lover's death. She died of a broken heart at the feet of Charlemagne,
even as the emperor begged her to accept his own son in marriage, and
thus become, in time, empress of all the Franks.



THE CID


    As warlike sons, with mighty deeds,
    Exalt the power of Rome;
    And Arthur deathless glory adds
    Unto his island home;
    As France will ever nobler seem
    Because of Charlemagne--
    So dost thou, ever-conquering Cid,
    Immortalize thy Spain!

    _Paraphrase of Latin epitaph_,
    D. W. K.



THE CID RODRIGO DIAZ DE BIVAR

(1035-1099 A. D.)


In the eleventh century there lived in Castile a Spanish noble of high
degree, called Diego Laynez. His family estates of Bivar lay near the
city of Burgos, and in his castle there, Don Diego, when not in
attendance upon the king, dwelt in the state befitting his rank and
wealth. A stern and proud man was Don Diego, and justly renowned for his
great valor in battle.

This knight had long desired an heir to his ancient name, and was happy
beyond measure when his wish was gratified by the coming of a little
son. The child was named Rodrigo, and soon grew to be a wonderfully
strong and fearless youth. Doubtless Diego hoped that his son would
become a valiant warrior, for fighting was then the chief business of
life, and peaceful occupations were held in little esteem. In those
days, a man was obliged to fight to defend life and property, and a
brave knight, with only the help of his good sword, could win fame and
fortune. But even the fond parents of Rodrigo could never have dreamed
of the glory that awaited their son, who was to become the greatest
warrior in all Spain, the delight and admiration and envy of every true
Spanish knight.

It was a stormy age,--that in which the little Rodrigo lived. For three
hundred years there had been almost constant warfare in Spain. Sometimes
the Christians battled against the Moors, sometimes Christians against
Christians, and Moors against Moors; but always there was conflict and
struggle. And well was the son of Diego Laynez fitted for that rough
age, as you shall see.

While still very young, Rodrigo showed a most independent spirit. Once
he asked his godfather, the priest Don Pedro, to give him a colt, and
the kind old man took him to the paddock and told him to choose one as
the colts were driven slowly by. After all the finest had passed, a very
ugly and mangy colt came ambling along, and Rodrigo called out,--

"This is the one for me!" His godfather, angry at a choice that seemed
so foolish, exclaimed,--

"Booby, [Babieca] thou hast chosen ill!" but the boy, not at all
abashed, laughed as he replied confidently,--

"This will be a good horse, and Booby shall be his name."

Time proved the boy to have shown excellent judgment, and Babieca became
almost as famous as his master.

Not only self-reliance, but a fierce and warlike temper, was shown in
the first youthful exploit of Rodrigo. His father Diego, when too old to
bear arms, was grossly insulted by an enemy, the Count of Gormaz. Diego
wept and raged at the insult put upon him and his inability to resent
it. Moved deeply by his father's grief, Rodrigo determined to avenge the
insult to the honor of his family.

Donning the discarded armor of Diego, the youth next took down from the
wall an ancient sword. This treasured weapon had once belonged to a
celebrated warrior, Mudarra, and with it that knight had avenged the
death of his seven brothers. Buckling on the good blade, Rodrigo said,--

"O valiant sword! bethink thee that mine is Mudarra's arm! Thou hast now
as great a wrong as his to right. Thou lackest thy great master's hand;
yet never shalt thou see me turn my back on a foe. Thou shalt find me
true as thy tempered steel, for thy second master, like thy first, was
not born to yield. Should the foe overmaster me, not long will I endure
the shame, but plunge thee straightway in my breast!"

Then Rodrigo sallied forth secretly from Bivar, and seeking the haughty
count, challenged him to battle. Gormaz laughed him to scorn.

"Fight thee? Thou art mad, thou silly boy. Get thee hence, or thy skin
shall suffer for thine insolence."

"Thou art no true knight," cried Rodrigo, "but a craven who dost insult
old men! If thou fight me not, all Castile shall hear of thy shameful
deed!" Many more deadly insults he added, until the enraged count
consented to fight him, expecting an easy victory over the youth. But
Rodrigo was strong as a man, and his deadly hate of the count added
vigor to his arm. Though soon wounded and bleeding, he yet parried with
skill the blows aimed at his heart, and finally, with one desperate
effort, drove the sword of Mudarra through and through the body of
Gormaz. The head of his fallen enemy Rodrigo carried home in triumph to
the proud Diego. Thus did the youthful Ruy Diaz de Bivar avenge the
wrongs of his father.

Soon after this combat with Gormaz, Rodrigo, while riding with some
companions, unexpectedly met a band of Moors. These men were returning
to Aragon from a thieving expedition into Castile, driving their
captives and stolen cattle before them. Rodrigo and his friends fell
upon this band with great fury and soon defeated the infidels; but the
prisoners taken were generously set free by their youthful captor.
Later, when Rodrigo went to the Saracen court of Saragossa, these Moors,
in return for his kindness, gave him the title of Sidy, or Said,--an
Arabic word, meaning lord, or my lord. In Spanish this became Cid; and
as the Cid, Rodrigo is best known, though he has still another title,
won in the following manner. In those days any knight who had suffered
wrong at the hands of another, could, with the king's consent, challenge
his enemy. Then, in the presence of the king and court, the two knights
would fight on horseback until one was killed or acknowledged himself
vanquished. The victor was deemed to have right on his side, and
judgment was given accordingly. Sometimes either party to the quarrel
was allowed to choose a substitute to fight for him. It was also the
custom when hostile armies met, for the boldest warrior to challenge one
of the enemy to come out and fight in single combat. Often, wars were
decided by such a contest between two or more knights chosen from each
army. By his wonderful success in many combats of this kind, Rodrigo won
the title of Campeador, or Champion, and came to be called the Cid
Campeador.

On his way to engage in one of these contests as a champion of the King
of Castile, Rodrigo met with a marvelous adventure. He and his knights
came upon a leper fallen into a ditch by the wayside, and calling upon
the passers-by for help. Now, none would heed his call for fear of the
terrible disease, with which the poor wayfarer was afflicted. But
Rodrigo dismounted, pulled the leper out of the ditch, and placing him
on Babieca, brought him to the inn where they were to lodge. Not another
knight would come near the outcast, so Rodrigo, out of pure kindness,
ate from the same dish with him, and afterwards had a bed prepared, in
which they two slept together.

In the middle of the night, a cold blast seemed to strike through
Rodrigo, and he waked and put out his hand to touch his bedfellow; but
the leper was gone. The Cid called aloud; none answered. While Rodrigo
was considering this strange thing, a man in white, shining garments
appeared, and asked softly,--

"Sleepest thou, Rodrigo?"

"Nay, I am awake; but who art thou who bearest about thee so bright a
light and so sweet a smell?"

"I am Saint Lazarus," answered the vision, "and would have thee know
that I am that leper to whom thou didst show such kindness for the love
of God. And for that deed, God bestows on thee this great boon,--that
when the blast thou didst feel but now shall come upon thee, thou mayest
undertake that on which thy heart is fixed, whether it be fighting or
other matters, and it shall go well with thee. For never shalt thou be
conquered, but ever victorious; for God grants thee His blessing. So
rest thee well and do ever the right." And so Rodrigo prayed until
morning, and then went on his way rejoicing.

Meanwhile the day came, on which the combat was to be fought between the
Cid and a knight of Aragon, to decide whether the city of Calahorra
should belong to the King of Castile or the King of Aragon. The two
kings, with a splendid company of nobles, had taken places to watch the
combat, the lists were all prepared, and the heralds stood ready to give
the signal; but the Cid did not appear. Very uneasy was King Fernando at
the absence of his champion. A cousin of the tardy knight offered to
take his place, and was about to mount and enter the lists, when the Cid
came spurring up in hot haste. Leaping from his tired horse, he sprang
upon the steed that stood ready, and, wasting no time in words, lowered
his lance and charged fiercely on his waiting adversary. The two met
with a shock that shivered the lances. Both knights were badly wounded,
but they drew their swords and prepared to fight on. The knight of
Aragon now thought to frighten the Cid, and exclaimed boastfully,--

"Right sorely shalt thou rue that thou hast come into this place with
me, for never shalt thou return alive to Castile!"

But Rodrigo was not at all troubled by the threat.

[Illustration: The Knighting of the Cid]

"Don Martin Gonzales," he replied coolly, "thou art a good knight, but
such words befit not this place. We must fight with our hands, and not
with empty words." And grasping his sword, he suddenly brought it down
on the helmet of his foe with such tremendous force that it wellnigh
drove the head of Gonzales down to the neck of his steed. The knight of
Aragon, however, was a stout fighter, and rallying from the shock, he
dealt a blow that cut through the edge of the Cid's shield. So firmly
fixed was the sword that, when drawn back, it brought the shield with
it. Enraged at this loss, the Cid cut his adversary fiercely across the
face; but Gonzales, though bleeding copiously, still fought on bravely.
Only after a long, fierce fight did the Champion unhorse and slay this
valiant knight. Then the umpires announced that the Cid had conquered,
and so won the good city of Calahorra for his king.

After this Rodrigo did such valiant service to King Fernando at the
siege of Coimbra, a city of Portugal, that he was there formally dubbed
a knight. The ceremony took place in the principal mosque of the
captured city. In order to do the hero signal honor, the king kissed
him, the queen girt on his sword, and the Princess Urraca buckled on his
golden spurs.

In many battles against the Moors the Cid fought valiantly with King
Fernando, whose ambition it was to win back all Spain from the
infidels.

When Fernando died, he unwisely left his territory to be divided among
his five children. This led to much jealousy, and Sancho, the eldest
son, was greatly aggrieved, because he thought the entire kingdom should
have been his. So it was not long after Fernando's death before war
broke out between Sancho, King of Castile, and his brothers.

Sancho soon defeated the youngest brother, Garcia, and seized his
Kingdom of Galicia. This conquest was due mainly to the wonderful valor
of Rodrigo, who now "waxed great and became a mighty man of war, and
Campeador at the court of King Don Sancho."

Sancho now demanded that Alfonso give up the Kingdom of Leon. The
brothers finally agreed that a battle should be fought between their
respective armies, the crown of Leon to belong to the king whose army
should be victorious. When this combat took place, Alfonso conquered
Sancho, and drove the Castilian army from the field. Supposing the
matter settled, the triumphant Alfonso did not pursue the fugitives, but
returned to his camp rejoicing.

King Sancho, fleeing from the field, saw with joy the green banner of
the Cid in the distance. When the two met, Rodrigo persuaded the king
to renew the fight at dawn, assuring him that he could then take the
enemy by surprise.

"The Galicians and Leonese," said the cunning Cid, "are given to much
talking, and at this moment they are with the King Don Alfonso their
lord, boasting of what they have done, for they love big words. If it be
God's will, their joy of to-day shall be turned to grief, and if it
please Him, sir, you shall regain honor." Now it befell as the Cid had
hoped. In the early morning, while the troops of Alfonso were stupid
from their night of feasting and drinking, the Cid attacked and routed
them completely. During the battle, King Sancho was captured, and was
being carried off by thirteen knights, when the Cid rushed to his help
with no weapon but a broken lance. He offered to exchange Alfonso,
captured by his men, for Sancho, and upon refusal, the Champion cried
wrathfully, "Give me but one of your lances, and I alone, against the
thirteen of you, will quit my lord of you!"

The Leonese knights laughed him to scorn, and in sport threw him a
lance. Thereupon he fell upon them suddenly, slew eleven, put the others
to flight, and rode back in triumph with his rescued king.

Elated by this victory, King Sancho now determined that his sister
Urraca should yield him her strong city of Zamora; but thinking to gain
it without force, he asked the Cid to go as his messenger and urge her
to peaceably surrender the city. This he did because he knew his sister
had long loved the Cid. The Cid, who held the princess dear for her
friendship to him, though he loved her not, replied to the king's
request,--

"Sir, it is not for me to carry such a message, seeing that I was reared
with Dona Urraca, in the same house of Arias Gonzalo, and would not
willingly do her a wrong."

However, when the king pointed out that the Cid might thus prevent a
bloody conflict, he consented to undertake the unpleasant mission. With
fifteen knights he passed into the city, and was gladly received by
Urraca at the entrance of the palace. Together they went into the
splendid hall of audience, and the princess right graciously bade the
Cid be seated with her. Then she asked,--

"I pray thee, Don Rodrigo, tell me wherefore is this great army encamped
outside my walls? Is my brother Sancho going to make war upon Moors or
Christians, and of what state?"

"Dona Urraca," replied the Cid, gravely, "thou knowest that as a herald
I am come hither, and whether my message please thee or not, yet ought
I to suffer no insult nor wrong."

"Yea," answered Urraca, quickly; "and _thou_ knowest well, Don Rodrigo,
that I wish thee no harm, so speak out boldly. Perhaps my loving brother
only needs some aid of mine to go against the Moors. Gladly will I lend
him fifteen lances fully equipped, even though it be for ten years."

Now the Cid flushed red at the mocking tones of the princess and spoke
with difficulty, though still calmly,--

"I am but a messenger, princess. The king, thy brother, bids me speak
thus: he needs this city Zamora for a defence against his enemies. Nor
should so great a stronghold be in the hands of a woman. He will give
thee for it money or lands or another city. But if thou dost refuse, he
will, without delay, take Zamora from thee by force of arms." Then tears
of indignation and rage came into the eyes of the princess.

"I call on God," she cried, "and all these noble knights here present to
bear witness that Sancho again seeks to make naught our father's will!
He hath taken away their inheritance from Garcia and Alfonso, and now he
would rob me of the city my father gave me. Well hath Sancho merited our
father's curse upon the son who should disobey his will! Let him beware
lest he die by violence, or by treachery like his own!" The counsellors
of the princess, troubled at this rash speech, besought her to be calm,
and at last persuaded her to call together the townsmen and hold council
with them.

When assembled, all the chief men of Zamora loyally promised to aid the
princess in defending the city, and swore not to forsake her until
death. Then the proud Urraca, turning to the Cid, cried impetuously,--

"Does it not shame thee, O Cid, that all these are willing to die for
me, while thou who wast my playfellow in youth hast come hither to take
away mine inheritance?" The Cid answered not, but his face turned yet
more ruddy, and he raised not his eyes from the floor.

"Truly a noble thing for the great Cid Ruy Diaz,--to make war against a
woman!" went on the angry princess; then with a burst of noble
frankness, "And well thou knowest that the woman once loved thee,
Rodrigo! Ay, thou mayest boast that the Princess Urraca once gave thee
her heart; but the Cid whom Urraca loved drew not his sword against a
woman. Begone, Don Rodrigo de Bivar; I would not look longer upon thy
face! Tell thy robber king that never will I yield to a false traitor
the city my father gave me! Sooner will I die with these true men than
give up Zamora!"

Silent and ashamed, the Cid withdrew. Fain would the knight have served
the fair princess, the friend of his youth, but fealty to his king
forbade.

When King Sancho received Urraca's defiance, he flew into a terrific
rage, and accused the Cid of having counselled the resistance of the
princess because of love for her. Not a word of explanation would he
hear, but straightway banished the Cid from the kingdom. Rodrigo was
highly enraged at the injustice of the king whom he had served so
faithfully, even to the sacrifice of Urraca's cherished friendship. But
in silence, though pale and defiant, he heard his sentence. Then
crying,--

"Never, ungrateful king, shalt thou find a vassal like Rodrigo, and
humbly, Don Sancho, shalt thou beg him to return!" the Champion strode
from the kingly presence and rode away from Castile. So true was the
Cid's proud boast, that only a short time elapsed before King Sancho,
realizing the value of the banished warrior, entreated him to return to
Castile. The insulted Champion, after receiving an humble apology from
the king and the position of governor of the royal household, consented
to return.

Now, in spite of his friendship for Urraca, the Cid continued the siege
of Zamora with great vigor and zeal, for loyalty to his king compelled
hostility to the princess, and the memory of her bitter scorn rankled in
his heart.

But long the city held out, though the people were suffering greatly
with famine and disease. At last a pretended traitor, Bellido Dolfos,
offered to deliver the city into the hands of Sancho. While riding along
with the king, under pretence of pointing out the gate whereby the
troops might enter Zamora, this lying wretch stabbed the unsuspecting
Sancho through and through with his own royal golden spear, given by the
king to the knave to carry. Bellido then fled fast to the city. On the
way he was seen by the Cid, who called to the flying horseman to stop,
though knowing nothing of his crime. The villain only rode the faster,
hotly pursued by Rodrigo, who now suspected something wrong. Just as the
Cid was about to overtake the fugitive, he darted through the gate of
Zamora and escaped. Rodrigo, riding back, discovered the dead body of
his king, and was sorely grieved that he had not captured the murderer.

By the death of King Sancho, his brother Alfonso, driven into exile
after his defeat, and then living among the Moors at Saragossa, fell
heir to the throne. But many great nobles of the kingdom believed that
Alfonso and Urraca had planned the murder of Sancho, and so they were
unwilling to acknowledge a murderer as their king.

When these nobles were called upon to do homage to Alfonso, the Cid--for
none other dared to be so bold--said to the king,--

"Sir, all here do suspect that you did contrive the murder of your
brother, King Don Sancho. Therefore, I declare to you that until you
clear yourself by oath, never will I or these nobles kiss your hand or
receive you as lord."

The king flushed with anger, but he replied meekly,--

"I swear to God and Saint Mary that I did not kill Sancho or counsel his
death, though he had stolen my kingdom. Advise me, therefore, how I may
clear myself of this matter."

Then the nobles decided that the king and twelve of his knights who had
been with him in exile at Toledo should in public swear solemnly to his
innocence. So on the day appointed, the king appeared before the high
altar of the church at Burgos; and the Cid, in presence of the nobles of
the kingdom, placed the book of the Gospels on the altar and said,--

"King Don Alfonso, you are come hither to swear that you had no part in
the death of the King Don Sancho; and if you swear falsely, may God slay
you by the hand of your own vassal, even as Don Sancho was slain."

"Amen!" said Alfonso, though he turned very pale. Again the Cid spoke,--

"King Don Alfonso, you are here to swear that neither did you order the
King Don Sancho to be slain; and if you swear falsely, may a traitor
slay you even as the traitor Bellido slew Don Sancho."

Again Alfonso replied, "Amen!" but he grew yet paler with rage and shame
at this second oath required of him. When the twelve knights had taken a
similar oath, the nobles were satisfied of Alfonso's innocence; and all
swore fealty to him as king. But when the Cid took the oath of loyalty
and stooped to kiss the hand of Alfonso, the humiliated and resentful
king drew away his hand, and would not permit the act of homage.

Small wonder that after being forced to undergo this mortification, the
king "hated the Cid, in spite of his valor." Yet either from fear or
through policy, Alfonso treated Rodrigo with great honor. On one
occasion, the Champion came to court, and was invited by King Alfonso to
sit with him. When Rodrigo modestly refused the proffered honor, the
king said,--

"Since you will not sit with me, sit on your ivory seat, for you won it
like a good man. From this day I order that none save king or prelate
sit with you; for you have conquered so many high-born men and so many
kings that for this reason there is none worthy to sit with you, or none
who is your peer. Sit, therefore, like a king and lord on your ivory
seat."

The honor in which Rodrigo was held is shown by the fact that he married
a cousin of the king, Ximena,--daughter of the Count of Oviedo, a
powerful noble. Doubtless it was his love for the beautiful Ximena that
rendered the Cid so indifferent to the affection of Princess Urraca.
Most dearly and tenderly he loved Ximena, and after his marriage to her,
gave up warfare for many years, and lived in peace and tranquil
happiness near Burgos. During this quiet period, the Cid fought only a
few single combats as champion of the king. By these he gained even
greater glory, for, as promised by good Saint Lazarus, he was never
overcome, but ever victorious. Because of this good fortune, the old
ballads sing of Rodrigo as, "He who was born in happy hour."

But the king loved not the Cid, and finally, accusing him falsely of
treachery, banished the Champion from the kingdom. The Cid, who was poor
at this time, devised a trick to get money for the journey. He made
ready two great chests covered with crimson leather and studded with
gilt nails, and filled them with sand. Then, sending for two Jews,
money-lenders, he offered to pawn the chests, saying they were full of
refined gold taken from the Moors; but that he feared to dispose of them
openly, because Alfonso, who had accused him of having taken
tribute-money belonging to the crown, would certainly seize the
treasure. He made the condition that the chests be not opened for a
year, but if not redeemed at the end of that time, should become the
property of the Jews. They fell into the trap, and giving the Cid six
hundred marks, carried off the chests, rejoicing at the great treasure
that would surely become theirs, for they believed that the owner would
be in exile many years. When, at the end of the twelve months, they
discovered the fraud that had been practised upon them, great was their
wrath.

But on the return of the Cid from exile, he repaid the Jews in full. An
old chest preserved in the cathedral of Burgos is said to be one of
these coffers of the Cid.

Twice was Rodrigo recalled from exile by the king, who needed him sadly
in the fierce war for the possession of Spain, that had now broken out
afresh between the Christians and Mohammedans.

Finally the Cid, when banished once more, renounced his allegiance to
Alfonso, and made war upon his former lord, carrying fire and sword into
Castile. Thus the Champion became a free lance, making war for gain upon
whom he pleased, and serving any prince, Christian or Mohammedan, who
made it worth his while. This conduct cannot be admired, but we must not
judge the Cid as we would a hero of our own times. In his day the
standard of conduct was very different, and even the best men frequently
committed deeds that shock us unspeakably. It was an age of violence and
fraud. To make war upon your neighbor, with or without good cause, was
thought to be worthy of all praise, especially if you conquered him.
Might made right; and as the Cid was always victorious, he received
little or no blame for acts that we should consider cruel or
treacherous, but won great admiration and renown by his courage,
boldness, and marvelous skill in warfare.

The poets of that day delight in relating the various exploits of the
Cid. In a celebrated battle with Count Berenger, Rodrigo captured a vast
store of treasure, and many swords made in olden days. Among these was
the wonderful blade, Colada, worth a thousand marks in silver. With this
weapon, he afterwards slew many score of enemies in battle.

But the crowning glory of the Cid's adventurous life was the capture of
Valencia. This splendid city, on the east coast of Spain, was besieged
by him for many months. At length, the city fell into such straits that,
in the words of the old chronicler, "the inhabitants counted themselves
as dead men, and walked through the streets as though they were drunken.
They understood not the words of one another, and lost all of their
memory, even as a man who falls into the waves of the sea. Then came the
Christians up to the walls, and called aloud in words of thunder, making
mockery of them, and threatening them, and saying: 'False traitors and
renegades, give up your city to the Cid, Ruy Diaz, for ye cannot save
it!' And the Moors remained silent, so great was their grief and
despair."

A famous poem, the "Dirge of Valencia," composed by one of its Arab
inhabitants during the siege, gives us a picture of the wretched state
of the once beautiful city.

    "Valencia! Valencia! many troubles are come upon thee,
      and in such peril art thou set that, if thou escape, the
      wonder will be great among all that behold thee.

    "Thy lofty towers and beautiful, which gleamed from afar
      and comforted the hearts of the people, are falling piece
      by piece.

    "Thy white bulwarks which shewed so fair in the distance
      have lost the beauty whereby they shone so brightly in
      the beams of the sun.

    "Thy famous and delightful gardens that are round about
      thee, the ravening wolf has torn up their roots and
      they give no fruits."[1]

[Footnote 1: From "The Cid Campeador," by H. Butler Clarke, by
permission of G. P. Putnam's Sons.]

At last the unhappy city surrendered to the Cid, and he became its sole
ruler and a personage of still greater power and renown. In Valencia,
for some years, the conqueror lived in the royal magnificence of an
Oriental prince.

When the Moors under King Yusef came from Morocco, fifty thousand
strong, to retake the city, the Cid was not at all alarmed. As soon as
the Moors had encamped before Valencia, the Cid led his wife and
daughter up into the tower of the Alcazar. They raised their eyes, and
saw the thousands of tents pitched on the plain.

"Heaven save thee, Cid, what is this?" they cried.

"Good wife, fear nothing. Riches are these to increase our store,--right
marvelous and grand. As soon as thou art come, they wish to make us a
present. Wife, sit thou in the Alcazar, and be not afraid when thou
seest me in the fight."

The next day the drums sounded, and the Cid's heart was glad. He drew up
the Christians, and they sped forth to do battle with the infidels.
"They drove them from the garden in royal style; straight up to the camp
was the pursuit continued. Glad is my Cid for all they have done."

"Hearken to me, my knights," he said. "A good day is to-day, but
to-morrow shall be better." In the morning the battle was renewed. With
only four thousand men, the Cid routed Yusef with fifty thousand. So
many of the Moors did Rodrigo slay that they could not be counted. Three
strokes the Cid gave King Yusef, who only escaped by the swiftness of
his horse. His wonderful sword, Tizona, fell into the hands of the Cid.
Gold and silver and precious stuff in great quantities was captured.

"Joyful is my Cid and all his vassals, that God had shown such favor to
them that they had conquered in the field."

In yet another battle against the Moors the Cid was victorious. Bucar,
the brother of Yusef, attacked Valencia, but was soon put to flight by
the Champion. Rodrigo pursued the flying king, brandishing his sword and
shouting,--

"Turn thee, Bucar, thou who camest over seas to behold the Cid with the
long beard! We must meet and cut out a friendship!"

"God confound such friendship!" cried the frightened king, as he fled
still faster. But Rodrigo, determined to be friendly in his way, flung
his sword after Bucar. It struck between the shoulders of the fleeing
king. But Bucar's horse was the swifter, and he escaped by riding into
the sea and taking boat.

Now the Cid was left for some time in possession of Valencia and became
an independent prince,--in fact, if not in name. The neighboring kings
were glad to make friendly alliance with the great warrior who had never
yet met with a defeat.

Some time after the victory over Bucar, the Cid laid siege to Murviedro.
This town was the ancient Saguntum, once besieged by Hannibal. It was a
strongly fortified place, and there seemed little chance of Rodrigo's
taking it. But after the siege had lasted some time, the citizens saw
plainly that they could not hold their city against the great conqueror.
So they begged him to grant them a truce in order that they might send
to the neighboring princes for help. The proud warrior, disdaining any
number of enemies, readily consented to the truce.

Now when the messengers from Murviedro reached the courts of the
neighboring princes, and implored their help, not one would lend aid to
the distressed city. Alfonso of Castile replied to their petition,--

"Certes, I will not succor you. I would liefer Rodrigo have your town
than a Saracen king."

And Al Mustain, the Moorish King of Saragossa, gave the envoys this
discouraging answer,--

"Go and take such comfort as ye may, and fight bravely, for Rodrigo is
invincible, and therefore I am afraid to do battle with him."

When the sorely disappointed envoys returned to Murviedro, great was the
distress of its inhabitants. But in order to gain time, they pretended
that the messengers had not returned, and therefore besought Rodrigo to
extend the time of the truce. The Cid knew well that their statement was
false, and that the envoys were even then in Murviedro, but he
replied,--

"In order to show you that I fear none of your kings, I grant you a
further truce of twelve days for them to come to your aid. If then they
come not, and you do not surrender, I will slay all of you that I
capture."

But at the end of the twelve days the Cid granted yet another delay.
When that time had expired, and the city was forced to surrender, the
Cid did not carry out his threat, but mercifully granted the inhabitants
their lives, and permitted them to take their wives and children and go
where they would. But some who presumed on his generosity to send all
their wealth out of the city, against the Cid's express command, the
conqueror sold into slavery.

This conquest of Murviedro was the last great exploit of the Champion.
For the day was approaching when the conqueror must yield himself to the
conqueror of all. The Cid fell ill, and while in this state, heard that
Bucar was again coming with a great force against Valencia. One night
soon after, so runs the old legend, there swept through the palace of
the dying Champion a great wave of light and a marvelous sweet perfume.
And there appeared to the Cid a tall and stately old man, with long
snowy hair, holding keys in his hand; and thus he spoke,--

"Sleepest thou, Rodrigo?"

"What man art thou?" the Cid asked his strange visitor boldly.

"I am Saint Peter, prince of the apostles," he said; "and I am come to
tell thee that when thirty days be past, thou must quit this world and
go to the life that hath no end. But God will so favor thee that after
thy death thou shalt conquer and rout King Bucar. This does Christ grant
thee for love of me and for the honor thou didst ever pay me in my
church at Cardenas." And after he had spoken, Saint Peter straightway
departed. Then the Cid rejoiced greatly, and the next day he called his
chief men, and said to them,--

"My friends and kinsmen, be sure that I am now come upon the end of my
life, and thirty days hence shall see my end. I have seen visions of my
father and son, and each time they say: 'Long hast thou tarried here;
let us begone to the eternal life.'

"And last night Saint Peter came to me and told me that in thirty days I
shall pass away; but before I leave you, I will show you how you shall
conquer King Bucar, as Saint Peter did promise me."

Then the Cid betook himself to the church of Saint Peter. There all the
people assembled, and he bade them farewell, weeping sore. After
confessing his sins and receiving absolution, he went back to the
Alcazar and cast himself upon the bed, and never again did he rise up.
Seven days before the end of the thirty he bade them bring him a gold
cup, and in it he mixed with rose-water a little balsam and myrrh, sent
him by the Sultan of Persia, and drank the mixture.

This he did each day, as was the custom of Moorish princes; and so his
body and face became fresh and healthy-looking, though he grew weaker
every hour. At last he called his wife, Ximena, Bishop Hieronymo, and
his three most trusty friends, and said,--

"As soon as I be dead, ye shall wash my body many times with rose-water
and balsam. And thou, Ximena, take heed that thou and the women cry not
aloud nor wail for me so that the Moors get knowledge of my death. And
when Bucar is come, bid all the folk of Valencia go forth on the wall
and sound trumpets, and show great glee. Also bid the people get
together their goods in secret, that the Moors know it not, for ye may
not tarry here after my death, but must needs go back to Castile. Thou,
Gil Diaz, deck my body with care, and saddle Babieca, and bind me on him
so that I fall not, and place in my hand my sword, Tizona; and thou, Don
Hieronymo, shalt ride by my side; and thou, Bermudez, bear my banner as
thou wast wont to do; and thou, Don Fanez, shalt draw up the host as
thou hast ever done. Then go ye forth and battle with Bucar, for be
assured and doubt not that ye shall win the battle."

Having said these words, the dying hero received the sacrament, and then
prayed, weeping:

"Lord Jesus Christ, I pray Thee of thy grace that Thou wilt pardon my
sins, and that my soul be placed in the light that hath no end."

And so saying, "the Cid gave to God his soul."

Then the faithful friends and loving wife did even as he had commanded
them. The body had been embalmed by the myrrh and balsam, and thus
remained fresh-looking as in life. So they clothed the dead warrior in
all his armor of war, with coat of arms and shield, and placed in his
hand the precious sword, Tizona. His arms were raised aloft, and tied up
so cunningly that he held the sword straight and even. When bound
strongly upon his good horse, Babieca, any man not knowing the truth
would have sworn the knight to be alive.

At last all things were in readiness. And at midnight a strange
procession rode through the silent, deserted streets of the city. First
went forth Pero Bermudez, bearing aloft the great green banner of the
Champion, that had never yet failed to strike terror into the hearts of
his foes. Then all silently, in battle-array, the warriors of the Cid
passed through the gates of Valencia; and with them, as of old, rode
their dead leader, Ruy Diaz de Bivar. A hundred chosen knights pressed
close about the Champion; and before him, with breaking heart, but
tearless and quiet as her lord had commanded, rode the high-hearted
Ximena. So went forth to his last conflict the ever-victorious Cid, the
great conqueror of banners.

At daylight the little army fell upon the sleeping camp of King Bucar,
and slew many Moors before they could mount or arm. And it seemed to
King Bucar and the other kings that there joined the host of the
Christians full seventy thousand knights, all white as snow. Ahead of
all rode a tall knight on a white horse. In his left hand he held a
white banner, and in his right a sword of fire; and he slew many Moors
as they fled. So terrified were King Bucar and his men that they drew
not rein until they reached the sea; and more than twenty thousand were
drowned. Bucar and those who escaped to the ships hoisted sails and sped
away, nor did they dare look back.

Then the Christians rode back in triumph to the presence of the dead
Champion, and laden with the treasure of the Moorish camp, marched in
peace to Castile.

All along the way the people came forth in multitudes to see the great
Champion on his last journey; and much they marveled at his lifelike
appearance, and greatly they mourned for him. But the Cid's own men, as
he had bidden them, made no open show of grief. And so, with banners
flying, with gleam of spear and sound of trumpet, the strange funeral
train passed through the land, until it came at last to the church of
San Pedro de Cardenas. There they placed the Cid on a horse of wood,
before the high altar. After many masses had been sung for the repose of
his soul, a tabernacle was built on the right of the altar, and in it
was placed the ivory throne on which the Cid was wont to sit. There,
clothed in royal purple, with right hand clasping his mantle and the
left grasping Tizona sheathed, sat the Champion like a king and lord for
ten long years. And each day until her death, Ximena knelt for hours,
morning and evening, at the feet of her lord, and wept and mourned and
would not be comforted.

At last, seated thus on his ivory throne, the Cid was entombed in a
vault before the high altar. His hand could never be unclasped from his
sword, and thus, says the legend, it remains to this day. Well might the
people believe that even in death the great warrior would not loose his
hold on his cherished sword Tizona; for with it he had done such
marvelous deeds that even his enemies looked on him as "a miracle of the
miracles of God," and bestowed on him the proud title of "The Conqueror
of Banners."



THE CID'S WEDDING


    Within his hall of Burgos, the king prepares a feast,
    He makes his preparation for many a noble guest.
    It is a joyful city, it is a happy day;
    'Tis the Campeador's wedding, and who will bide away?

    Layn Calvo, the Lord Bishop, he first comes forth the gate,
    Behind him Ruy Diaz in all his bridal state.
    The crowd makes way before them as up the street they go;
    For the multitude of people, their steps must need be slow.

    The King had given order that they should rear an arch,
    From house to house all over, in the way where they must march:
    They have hung it all with lances, and shields, and glittering helms,
    Brought by the Campeador from out the Moorish realms.

    They have scattered olive branches and rushes on the street,
    And the ladies fling down garlands at the Campeador's feet;
    With tapestry and broidery their balconies between,
    To do his bridal honor, their walls the burghers screen.

    They lead the bulls before them all covered o'er with trappings;
    The little boys pursue them with hootings and with clappings;
    The fool, with cap and bladder, upon his ass goes prancing
    'Midst troops of captive maidens with bells and cymbals dancing.

    With antics and with fooleries, with shouting and with laughter,
    They fill the streets of Burgos--and the Devil he comes after;
    For the King has hired the horned fiend for sixteen maravedis,
    And there he goes, with hoofs for toes, to terrify the ladies.

    Then comes the bride Ximena--the King he holds her hand;
    And the Queen; and, all in fur and pall, the nobles of the land.
    All down the street the ears of wheat are round Ximena flying,
    But the King lifts off her bosom sweet whatever there was lying.

    Quoth Suero, when he saw it (his thought you understand),
    "'Tis a fine thing to be a King, but Heaven make me a _hand_!"
    The King was very merry, when he was told of this,
    And swore the bride, ere eventide, must give the boy a kiss.

    The King went always talking, but she held down her head,
    And seldom gave an answer to anything he said;
    It was better to be silent, among such crowds of folk,
    Than utter words so meaningless as she did when she spoke.

    _Ballad translated by J. G. Lockhart
    from "Poems of Places."_



GODFREY AND THE FIRST CRUSADE


    I sing the pious arms and Chief, who freed
    The Sepulchre of Christ from thrall profane:
    Much did he toil in thought, and much in deed;
    Much in the glorious enterprise sustain;
    And Hell in vain opposed him; and in vain
    Afric and Asia to the rescue poured
    Their mingled tribes; Heaven recompensed his pain,
    And from all fruitless sallies of the sword,
    True to the Red-cross flag, his wandering friends restored.

    _Tasso._



GODFREY AND THE FIRST CRUSADE

(1060-1100 A. D.)


It was a bright autumn day of the year 1095 A. D., and since early
morning the inhabitants of the little French village of Clermont had
been astir, and feasting their eyes on the unusual spectacle of
strangers from all France, Germany, and Italy. It was the day appointed
by the Pope for a council to consider the state of the Christians in
Palestine; and loyal sons and daughters of the Church had gathered from
far and near. Outside the limits of the town for miles around, their
white tents and many-colored banners gleamed in the sunshine, for the
village could not accommodate the throngs of visitors.

Now the tents and houses were deserted, as all had crowded into the town
to witness the proceedings of the Council. No building could contain the
thousands of people, so the Pope had decided to hold the meeting in the
great public square of Clermont. Here the vast crowds had assembled. As
far as the eye could reach, down every street leading into the square,
extended a closely packed multitude. They stood silent, almost
motionless, their faces turned toward the platform in the center of the
wide square.

People of all classes, ages, and conditions were there: nobles, clad in
rich dress or glittering armor; priests in dark robes; peasants in
coarse frieze; ladies of rank, merchants, beggars,--all stood side by
side, forgetful of everything worldly, listening eagerly to the words of
the man who looked down on them from the high stand in their midst.

This man was small and mean in his appearance. His bony figure was
covered by a woolen tunic and a coarse serge gown that reached to the
bare feet. From the neck drooped a monk's hood. His thin, haggard face,
burned brown by long exposure to the hot sun and winds of the East,
would have been ugly but for the deep, dark, flashing eyes, lit up with
wild enthusiasm and fiery earnestness. The monk held erect with the left
arm a great wooden cross that overtopped his head. Gesticulating
fiercely as he addressed the absorbed multitude, his slight frame
quivered with the violence of his emotions, and tears rolled down the
sunken cheeks. In a voice often broken by sobs he cried:--

"Men of Clermont, people of France, Christians of all nations, come
hither at the call of our Holy Father, the Pope! I tell you not of
things learned by hearsay; I myself have beheld all these horrors in the
Holy Land of Palestine. Through the ancient streets of Jerusalem the
accursed infidels stalk in the evil pride of conquest. They insult and
oppress, they torture and murder the followers of Christ. They rob and
maltreat the pious pilgrims from all lands who toil through desert and
over mountain to worship at the tomb of their Lord. Scarcely will these
heathen suffer the adoration of Christ in the blessed city of His cross
and passion. Nay, not content with persecuting our brethren, the vile
crew of Mohammed, accursed of God, attack the very majesty of the most
high God. They cast down and burn the churches of Christ; they tear His
ministers from the very altar and drag them to a shameful death; they
profane the holy places; they mock and spit upon the symbol of His holy
religion,--this blessed cross, the sign of our redemption.

"O people of Christ, God hath already stretched forth His hand to the
destruction of the wicked. To me, the most humble of His servants,--to
Peter the Hermit, despised of men,--hath He revealed His purpose. For
while I lay prone upon the rock before the Holy Sepulchre, calling upon
God for mercy, the voice of the Lord Christ came to mine ears,--

"'Peter, arise! Hasten to proclaim the tribulations of my people. It is
time that my servants should receive help, that the holy places should
be delivered!'

"When I heard this, I hastened in fearful and joyful obedience to tell
to Christian nations the sore straits of Christ's land and followers.
Here stands God's priest to call the people of God to this holy
work,--Christ himself calls you to the rescue of the Holy Land. Arm
yourselves and hasten to Palestine! There shall ye cast out the heathen!
There shall ye restore Jerusalem and the Holy City to the keeping of
God's people!"

As Peter sank down exhausted with emotion, the Pope, Urban II., in all
the splendor of his pontifical robes, arose from his throne in the midst
of the prelates of the Church, and came forward. It was he who had
called this solemn council of priests and nobles to consider the state
of the Holy Land and to devise means for its rescue. Now, with dignity
and eloquence, Urban added the sanction of the Church to Peter's wild
appeal, saying:--

"I will not seek to dry the tears which images so painful must draw from
you. Let us weep, my brethren; but evil be to us if in our sterile pity
we longer leave the heritage of the Lord in the hands of the impious.
For I called ye hither, not to weep over the afflictions of the Holy
Land, but to gird on your swords and go forth to its deliverance.

"Christian warriors, rejoice! for to-day ye have found a true cause for
battle. Go forth and fight the barbarians. Go and fight for the delivery
of Jerusalem,--that royal city which the Redeemer of the human race has
hallowed by His passion, has purchased by His blood, has distinguished
by His burial. She now demands of you her deliverance. Men of France,
men from beyond the mountains, nations chosen and beloved of God, right
valiant knights, recall the virtues and greatness of Charlemagne and
your other kings. It is from you, above all, that Jerusalem awaits the
help she invokes, for to you, above all, has God given glory in arms.
Take ye, therefore, the road to Jerusalem for the remission of your
sins,--for all sins shall be forgiven to the warrior of Christ,--and
depart assured of the deathless glory that awaits ye in the kingdom of
heaven!"

As the Pope ceased speaking, the people cried aloud in wild
enthusiasm,--

"The cross! the cross! Give us the cross!"

Adhemar, Bishop of Puy, was first to receive the holy symbol. Then all
the multitude, pressing eagerly forward, received from Pope or priest a
red cross of silk or cloth. Fastened on shoulder or breast, it
henceforth stamped the wearer as one sworn to fight for the delivery of
the Holy Land,--a Crusader.

In the throng surrounding the platform on which stood the Pope, Peter
the Hermit, and many princes of the Church, was a certain young knight.
His dress betokened high station. He bore himself modestly, with easy
grace; and yet a peculiarly stern dignity of mien, and the air of one
used to command, bespoke the military leader. He gave close heed
throughout to the speech of the poor monk and that of the proud Head of
the Church. As Peter spoke of the persecuted Christians and the wretched
state of the Holy Land, the calm and steadfast eyes of the young man
kindled with rage or glistened with sorrow. When the Pope mentioned the
renowned Charlemagne, the knight's smooth, pale cheek flushed with
pride, for the blood of that great emperor flowed warm in his veins.
When the pardon of all sins was promised by Christ's vicar to the
soldier of the cross, the listener started. To his mind came the
recollection of past exploits,--deeds glorious in the eyes of the world,
but which left a sting in that tender conscience. And the troubled
knight mused:--

"The cause of my emperor was just when he warred against Rodolphe of
Rhenfield; and the many slain in that quarrel trouble me not. I was glad
when my lance pierced the breast of the upstart who dared to claim the
throne of Germany and the crown of Henry. Alas! if but the emperor had
not warred against the Holy Father! If I had not drawn my sword against
Holy Church! When Henry stormed the battlements of Rome, my young blood
was hot with the joy of battle. I thought not of sin, but of glory, in
that wild charge, and I was first to plant our banner on the city wall.
Henry himself gave me thanks and saluted me as Duke of Antwerp and
Lorraine. But, alas! God rebuked me soon for my pride in that warfare
against His Holy Church by sending me a most grievous sickness. Then I
swore to atone for my impiety by an humble pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
But _now_, God be thanked! Godfrey de Bouillon goes not with scrip and
staff to Jerusalem, there to weep over the captivity of Zion--with sword
and spear will he march to the Holy Land and wrest the Sepulchre of the
Lord from the hands of the infidels!"

Thus determining, the knight, with a look of high resolve, strode
forward to the feet of the Pope. Urban received him joyously.

"Now God be praised!" he said fervently, "that the valiant Godfrey de
Bouillon turns his erstwhile hostile arms to the cause of Holy Church.
His young renown shall be increased a thousandfold, for God will give
yet greater victories to his banner."

Then after fastening the cross upon the shoulder of the kneeling knight,
Urban bestowed upon him a sword with these words,--

"Son Godfrey, receive this sword consecrated by God's high priest to the
service of Christ. Draw it not save against the enemies of His holy
religion; but strike and spare not the infidel. So shalt thou advance
the glory of God, cleanse thy soul from every sin, and purchase
Paradise!"

Godfrey's pious heart throbbed within him at these great promises. He
heeded not the crowd about him, nor the congratulations of his friends
upon this signal honor, but betook himself to solitude, there to pray,
and to plan the execution of this high enterprise.

Erelong the Pope held council with Godfrey and other great princes who
had taken the cross, and it was decided that the Crusaders should not
start on their expedition until the following August, for it was then
November and much was to be done. The armies were to march in several
divisions, each by a different route, but all were to meet at
Constantinople. Having arranged these matters, the princes and lords
bade one another farewell and proceeded to their several domains, each
to collect and prepare an army for the coming Crusade.

But Peter the Hermit, impatient of delay, set out at once for Palestine
at the head of a vast, undisciplined multitude, ill-clad, lacking arms
and provisions, unprepared in every way for the perilous undertaking,
but confident that God would supply all their needs, guide them, and
deliver the Holy City into their hands.

When Duke Godfrey reached his duchy of Lorraine, he found that the wave
of enthusiasm started at Clermont had already dashed over his people.
There was no need to urge them on to the holy work. Each and every one
was eager to don the cross and set out to the rescue of Palestine. Men
gave their gold, their land; women sold their jewels, their costly
raiment, to provide means for the equipment of God's soldiers. The Duke
of Lorraine himself pledged his province of Bouillon to the Bishop of
Liège for money to fit out the thousands who flocked to his banner from
Bouillon and Lorraine, from both sides of the Rhine, from northern
France and western Germany.

Knowing both Frank and Teuton,--able to greet each in his native
tongue,--Godfrey was well fitted by birth and education to lead the vast
army that now gathered on the banks of the Meuse and Moselle. Indeed,
all the qualities of a great general and of "a very gentle, perfect
knight" were Godfrey's. From his father, Eustace, Count of Boulogne, a
notable warrior, he inherited valor and wisdom, and learned early "to be
among the first to strike the foe." His mother, Ida de Bouillon, a most
learned and pious lady, taught him to fear God, to be gentle, courteous,
just, and merciful. "Even in youth," says the old chronicler, "a rival,
on seeing him, was forced to exclaim, 'For zeal in battle, behold his
father; for serving God, behold his mother!'"

Such was the character of Godfrey de Bouillon, Duke of Lorraine, "in
whom the luster of nobility was enhanced by the splendor of the most
exalted virtues." Nor was his appearance less to be admired. He was of
tall, powerful frame and most dignified bearing. He was "beautiful in
countenance," and the glance of his dark gray eyes, though usually
gentle and kind, could command respect and obedience from the most
lawless.

Godfrey was indeed an imposing figure when he rode forth that autumn day
of September, 1096, at the head of his army of Crusaders. He wore the
usual dress and armor of a knight. On his head was a silver casque,
surmounted by a black plume. A hauberk, or coat of mail, composed of
steel rings, protected his body. He carried on the left arm a round
buckler, which bore simply the red cross of the Crusader,--the same
symbol as that worn on his breast. A sword and lance, borne by his
squire, completed the knight's equipment of arms.

With the duke were his brothers, Baldwin and Eustace, his kinsman,
Baldwin du Bourg, and his squire, Sigier. Before the leader, rode the
standard-bearers with the banner of Lorraine and the great standard of
the Crusade, emblazoned with a blood-red cross.

Ten thousand knights on horseback followed, attired like Godfrey, but
with gayer ornaments and colors. Their shields, from which floated
scarfs of red, green, or white, were ornamented with painted leopards,
lions, birds, towers, or other fanciful devices. From each lance a
pennant drooped.

After the knights, marched eighty thousand foot-soldiers, carrying long
oval shields and armed with lances, swords, cross-bows, or heavy clubs.
Behind these soldiers, trudged thousands of women and children.

On every breast shone the red cross and from every lip rang the
Crusader's battle-cry, "God wills it!" So the army of Godfrey de
Bouillon marched forth from Lorraine to the rescue of the Holy Land.

After traveling many long days through Germany, the Crusaders reached
the country of the Hungarians, a rude though Christian people. There the
army was stopped on the border by armed forces. Godfrey, attended by
only a few followers, sought the presence of the king. Carloman received
him with simple but courteous hospitality.

"I have come," said the Duke, "to ask that the soldiers of my army,
bound to the rescue of the Holy Land, be allowed to pass through thy
country in peace and safety."

"Truly," said Carloman, "I would fain grant thy request, but it is not
long since a great multitude, also Crusaders, were suffered to
pass,--they robbed and murdered my people. Then came hundreds of
thousands who fell upon us--in revenge, they said, for the death of
their brethren, many of whom, in truth, had been justly slain by my
ill-treated subjects. How can I dare to let loose thy soldiers upon my
land?"

"Nay," said the just Godfrey, "I come not for war, or to avenge those
unhappy pilgrims,--God pardon them! They were but ignorant and misguided
peasants; for their leader, the monk, Peter, though a man of God, is
often too fierce in his zeal. I pledge thee my faith as a Christian that
thy land and thy people shall not suffer if thou let my army march
through Hungary."

Now Godfrey's speech and look were so noble and sincere that the king
put faith in his word, but as was the custom, demanded hostages,--the
duke's brother among the number. Baldwin demurred, saying aside to
Godfrey,--

"How do I know that thou canst hinder thy soldiers from plunder? And if
thou do not, my life is forfeit. Thou knowest that I risk it with joy
on the battlefield, but I care not to die a shameful death in this
barbarous land."

"And will it be a shameful death to die thus in aiding the march of the
deliverers to Jerusalem?" asked Godfrey, reproachfully. "Nay, say no
more; I myself will be hostage," and he turned toward the king. But
Baldwin, at this generous offer, was sorry and ashamed, and he said,--

"Not so, Godfrey, thou shalt not risk thy life; it is more precious than
mine. I will stay."

Thus it was arranged, and so potent was the influence of the beloved
leader that his men marched through Hungary harming neither land nor
people. At the border, Baldwin and the other hostages were returned, and
the king and his people, giving Godfrey abundant supplies, parted from
them in good-will and friendship.

       *       *       *       *       *

Now when Godfrey neared Constantinople, he learned that Hugh, Duke of
Vermandois, brother to the King of France, and leader of an army of
Crusaders from that country, was held prisoner by the Greek emperor,
Alexius. The Duke of Lorraine sent at once to Alexius, demanding the
release of the French prince. Alexius immediately set free the captive
duke, whom in truth he had treated with much courtesy, and also
promised aid to Godfrey, and allowed his army to encamp near
Constantinople. Shortly after, however, the emperor made a move
indicating treachery. Godfrey at once sounded the trumpets and prepared
to assault the city; but when Alexius quickly sought peace, the placable
duke accepted his explanations and assurances of friendship. Then
Alexius entertained Godfrey with unheard-of splendor, and soon thought
so highly of the knight as to adopt him as a son, according to Eastern
custom.

Here the Duke of Lorraine was joined by other armies, one commanded by
Raymond, Count of Toulouse,--a tried warrior who had fought in youth
under the banner of the Cid; the other led by brave and crafty Bohemond,
Prince of Tarentum. In the host of Crusaders from France, Germany,
Italy, Spain, England, and even far-off Ireland, were many renowned
princes, prelates, and nobles: Adhemar, Bishop of Puy, the Pope's
legate; Robert, Duke of Normandy, the heroic and reckless son of William
the Conqueror; Count Robert of Paris, wild and ferocious; the gallant
Count of Flanders; Stephen of Blois, Count of Chartres; and the pure and
perfect knight, Tancred.

All these leaders Alexius flattered and cajoled with soft words and
magnificent gifts, promising them help and support on condition that
the cities in Asia Minor formerly belonging to his empire, if captured
by the Crusaders, be returned to him. But Alexius was a weak and
deceitful prince, caring naught for anything save his own interest, as
the Crusaders soon discovered. So it was without regret, in spite of his
sumptuous entertainment of them, that Godfrey and the other leaders took
leave of the Greek emperor and crossed the Bosphorus. This took some
time, for the immense armies numbered one hundred thousand knights on
horseback, clad in armor, five hundred thousand foot-soldiers, and
numerous priests, women, and little children. They outnumbered "the
sands of the sea, the leaves of the forest, the stars of heaven," writes
the daughter of Alexius.

This vast host soon encamped before the large city of Nicæa, its strong
walls and hundreds of towers swarming with Turks. Here, Godfrey's men
found, wandering in the desert, Peter the Hermit and a few wretched men
who had escaped when their companions were slaughtered by the Turks.
These few were the remnant of the hundred thousand pilgrims--men, women,
and children--whom the wild monk had undertaken to lead to Palestine
soon after the Council of Clermont. So numerous were the bones of these
slain Crusaders, near Nicæa, that the soldiers of Godfrey used them in
building the walls and divisions of his great camp before that city.

Scarcely had this camp been completed when the Sultan of Nicæa,
Kilidge-Arslan, the "Sword of the Lion," swept down from the mountain on
the Christian army. "Then the two armies joined, mingled, and attacked
each other with equal fury. Everywhere glittered casques and shields;
lances rung against cuirasses; the air resounded with piercing cries;
the terrified horses recoiled at the din of arms and the hissing of
arrows; the earth trembled under the tread of the combatants; and the
plain was for a vast space bristling with javelins."

Godfrey was here, there, everywhere, in the fiercest of the fight,
slaying the infidels on all sides. His high contempt of danger and death
inspired his men to fight with equal ardor. At last the Turks were
driven back, but they returned next day to the attack, nor did they
retreat until the Crusaders had slain four thousand of them. The heads
of these Turks were cut off and thrown over the walls of Nicæa, there to
inform the garrison of the Crusaders' victory and to frighten them into
surrender.

But the Turks held out long, in spite of the many brave assaults made by
the besiegers. In these attacks the Crusaders used many strange machines
of war,--great rams of wood to batter down the walls; ballistas for
casting stones, beams, and arrows; and catapults for throwing fire and
huge stones into the city.

The Turks had similar machines and also great iron hands with which they
reached down from the walls, seized the Crusaders, and drew them up into
the city. Then, killing these luckless captives and stripping the
bodies, the infidels would hurl them back by machines into the camp of
the Christians. These cruelties and the vengeance of the Crusaders made
the warfare very horrible.

Wonderful deeds were performed on both sides. A huge giant among the
Turks made himself admired and dreaded by his great skill and
extraordinary strength. With every cast of his javelin he slew an enemy,
and he destroyed scores of the besiegers by hurling down upon them great
masses of rock. One day he stood on the city wall and, single-handed,
held at bay a great number of Christians. While fighting, he shouted
defiance to the whole army of Crusaders, ridiculing them and grossly
insulting their religion. Hundreds of arrows flew at him, but still he
remained unhurt. Then Godfrey, who had been in another part of the
field, came rushing up to discover the cause of the tumult. The infidel,
poising an arrow, exclaimed,--

"Dog of a Christian, thou too shalt die! Let us see if thy crucified God
can save thee!"

Enraged at this insolence and blasphemy, Godfrey seized a cross-bow and
took aim quickly. Through the heart of the scoffing giant went the
arrow, and down into the ditch tumbled the dreaded infidel. Cries of
distress from the Turks and shouts of joy from the Christians greeted
this deed of the valiant Godfrey.

After seven weeks of almost continuous fighting, the Crusaders were on
the point of taking Nicæa, when to their astonishment they saw the
standard of Alexius raised on the city wall. The cunning Greek emperor,
learning that the city was about to surrender, had sent an envoy and
persuaded the Turks to deliver Nicæa to him. So the indignant Crusaders
received no reward for their hardships and valor. Swearing vengeance on
the emperor at some later day, they took up the march to Jerusalem.

Over mountains, beside deep precipices, through swift torrents, they
toiled, suffering agonies from heat, hunger, fatigue, and thirst. On
the plain of Dorylæum, in Phrygia, part of the army under Bohemond,
Prince of Tarentum, was attacked by Kilidge-Arslan with two hundred
thousand Turks, and was on the verge of defeat when Godfrey, at the head
of a small body of knights, rushed to the rescue and put the Turks to
headlong flight. The conquerors found the camp of the enemy near by, and
took possession of large stores of provisions, tents, horses, camels,
and treasures of all kinds. Rejoicing, the leaders divided the spoils,
and after a short rest took up the march once more.

Soon the Crusaders suffered terribly, for only a land made waste met
their eyes,--smoking villages and crops swept away.

The "Sword of the Lion" had gone before and cut down and destroyed
everything in their path. The vengeful Turk had even poisoned the wells,
and in this desert country of Phrygia the pilgrims died by thousands.

The tender heart of Godfrey was wrung by the pitiable distress of his
people. All that was possible of help and comfort he gave them, but he
could not quench their thirst.

Almost in despair he sat in his tent one day, grieving bitterly, for the
moans of the suffering came to his ears.

[Illustration: "'Look, my lord, my dear lord! the hound hath found
water!' cried Sigier!"]

"O Christ, save Thy people," he prayed devoutly. Suddenly the hound of
his faithful squire, Sigier, bounded into the tent and threw himself
upon his master, who stood in sad silence near Godfrey.

"Look, my lord, my dear lord! the hound hath found water!" cried Sigier;
and, in truth, the paws of the dog were covered with wet sand.

Already, ere the two could step outside, they heard the wild shouts and
tumult of the people, racing madly in the tracks of the dogs. It was in
vain that Godfrey and the other leaders strove to check that multitude.
Dashing to the brink of the river so opportunely found by the dogs of
the camp, thousands threw themselves bodily into the water, many
drinking so greedily that they perished. Yet the timely discovery saved
the army from total destruction.

At last the almost exhausted host reached Antiochetta,--a city in a
fertile plain, where the Christians were kindly received. Here they
rested and regained the strength lost during their long and perilous
journey. Many of the surrounding cities sent supplies to Godfrey and the
other princes, and swore obedience to them.

In the midst of these pleasant happenings the army narrowly escaped a
terrible loss. Godfrey and a few companions went hunting one day, taking
their falcons and dogs. While the duke was riding in advance of his
comrades, he heard savage growls, then piteous cries of distress, "Help,
help, for the love of God!"

Galloping in the direction of the sounds, Godfrey soon came upon a
pilgrim engaged in a struggle with a huge bear. The poor man was about
to be killed. Drawing his sword, Godfrey spurred his horse fiercely on
the bear; but the steed, frightened by the sight of the strange beast
and its angry growls, reared back, and threw its rider to the ground. In
a moment, however, Godfrey was on his feet, and as the bear turned upon
him, met the attack with a mighty blow. Now a fearful struggle took
place; but finally, with a fierce thrust of his sword, Godfrey killed
the beast, just as Sigier and others, summoned by the pilgrim, came
hurrying up.

"Alas, my lord, you are wounded!" cried Sigier; and indeed so badly was
the knight hurt that he fainted away and was thought to be dead. The
soldiers were grieved beyond measure, and the camp resounded with
lamentations; great was the joy when it was found that Godfrey would
recover. For weeks, however, he had to be carried on a litter,--saved
by a miracle, said the people.

Now came the march over Mount Taurus, which was almost as difficult and
dangerous as that through the desert. Over one steep mountain, which the
Crusaders called "The Mountain of the Devil," there was only a narrow
footpath, up which the soldiers could scarcely scramble in single file.
Many horses lost their footing and fell over the precipice. Numbers of
the Crusaders became so weary that they threw away their arms; and many
were left to perish by the wayside, though Godfrey strove to have the
weak and exhausted carried forward by the strong.

But still struggling on bravely, the Christian host at last found
themselves before the rich and splendid city of Antioch. It was strongly
fortified with high walls and more than four hundred towers. Many of the
leaders thought that it would be prudent to wait to besiege the place
until spring, when new Crusaders were to arrive, and when the army would
not be exposed to famine and to the rains and tempests of the winter
season now approaching. But Godfrey spoke eloquently against this delay.

"Why," said he, "should we wait for others to come and share the
glories of this army without having shared its labors and dangers? It is
an insult to the army of Jesus Christ to think that they cannot endure
cold and rain and famine. Are we like those birds of passage which fly
away and conceal themselves on the approach of the bad season? Moreover,
abundance awaits us in the city of Antioch, which will soon open its
gates to us."

Moved by these brave words, the princes decided to begin the siege at
once. But the city held out; and when the winter came, the army suffered
most fearfully. A pestilence broke out, and thousands died of disease,
in addition to those who perished of hunger or were killed in daily
battles with the Turks.

The Crusaders had not time or space to bury their dead. Many deserted
the army. Peter the Hermit could not bear the hardships, and reproaches
of the suffering, and fled from the camp. He was pursued and brought
back by Tancred; and the soldiers, who had been as much astonished by
Peter's desertion as if "the stars had fallen from heaven," made him
swear on the Bible not to abandon them again.

Godfrey and the good Bishop of Puy strove earnestly to put heart into
the soldiers.

"God will soon deliver us," said the duke. "He has sent these
afflictions upon us because we took merit to ourselves for the victory
of Dorylæum and gave not all the glory to Him." But in vain his hopeful
words; the army gave way to despair.

Long days of misery, each more wretched than the last, dragged slowly
by, when suddenly the courage of the Crusaders was revived by a great
victory. A body of the troops who had gone to the seaport of St. Simeon
to buy provisions was unexpectedly attacked by a body of Turks and
compelled to retreat. Godfrey, hearing of the battle, sallied forth and
defeated the enemy, but was attacked by a large force sent out from
Antioch. Then Turks and Crusaders battled desperately beneath the very
walls of Antioch and in sight of the people on its ramparts. The fight
was man to man, without order or plan. The Christian leaders all
performed wonderful deeds. Godfrey seemed to possess more than mortal
strength and valor. No enemy could stand against his attack; and before
the terrible stroke of his great sword, lances, helmets, and armor flew
to pieces.

A bold Saracen offered battle to Godfrey, and with the first blow dashed
to pieces the shield of the Christian knight. Enraged, Godfrey rose up
in his stirrups, and with all his force delivered such a mighty blow on
the shoulder of the Turk as to divide his body into two parts. One fell
to the ground, while the other part remained upright in the saddle. The
frightened horse rushed back into the city, where the horrible sight
added to the terror of the inhabitants.

So great was the number of Turks slain in this battle, that the people
of Antioch were greatly cast down, while the Crusaders renewed their
assaults with fresh vigor and spirit. Daily conflicts were fought, in
which many women took part. Even the children formed companies, and
challenged the Turkish boys to combat. These battles of the children
were watched with fierce interest by the Saracens on the city walls and
the Crusaders in their camp, each party cheering on its small champions.
At last the city became so reduced that it would doubtless soon have
surrendered had not the Crusaders imprudently consented to a truce.

While this truce was in force the soldiers gave themselves up to
rioting, and the Christian princes disputed among themselves, for there
was a spirit of rivalry among them, and some were haughty and
quarrelsome.

Bohemond received by mistake a magnificent tent sent by an Armenian
prince to the Duke of Lorraine. The Prince of Tarentum was very
avaricious and pretended that the gift was intended for him. Now the
Duke of Lorraine, though gentle and generous, and never haughty in his
bearing toward the other princes, was not at all meek, nor inclined to
suffer any trespass upon his rights or dignity. He at once demanded his
property of Bohemond in peremptory terms, and when refused, would have
seized it by force of arms, had not the prince, seeing that all sided
with Godfrey, reluctantly delivered the tent to him, its rightful owner.

While these disputes were going on, the people of Antioch had received
fresh supplies of provisions and arms, and now, refusing to surrender,
again resumed the conflict. Bohemond, however, had found a traitor
within the walls. This man, Phirous, had formerly been a Christian, but
had become a Mohammedan. He told Bohemond that Jesus Christ had appeared
to him and commanded him to betray the city into the hands of the
Christians. The leaders of the Crusade were not willing to win the city
by treachery, and for some time rejected the offer of Bohemond to lead
them into it by the aid of Phirous. But at last, in June, 1098, the
rumor that a vast army of Turks was approaching, led the princes to
consent to the stratagem.

On the night appointed by Phirous to admit the Crusaders, rain poured in
torrents, peals of thunder shook the air, lightning flashed
continuously, and the entire western sky was strangely illuminated. But
the Crusaders were undaunted by the storm. They even deemed it an omen
of success when a fiery comet flamed across the heavens. Silently,
stealthily, the appointed soldiers crept up close to the wall; but when
they found the frail rope-ladder, let down by Phirous, dangling against
the wall, a strange fright seized upon them. Not one made a move toward
it; all hesitated to dare the ascent. But Bohemond, as daring as he was
crafty and ambitious, soon shamed his men by setting foot on the ladder.
All followed and scrambled up to the tower where Phirous awaited them.
He yielded it to them, and then pointed out a gate that could easily be
forced. Into the city poured the Crusaders; and the people of Antioch,
waking in terror, were slaughtered or made prisoners. The city was soon
in the hands of the Crusaders, though the citadel, a strong tower on a
steep hill in the center of the town, could not be taken.

But scarcely had the victors ceased to rejoice over their conquest, when
they found themselves besieged in turn by an immense army under the
command of Kerbogha, Sultan of Mossoul, a celebrated Turkish warrior.
Then the Christians, with an enemy in their city and surrounded by
countless enemies without, endured the most dreadful hardships. Food
became so scarce that even the horses were eaten. Godfrey generously
shared his means with his soldiers, and was finally compelled to kill
his favorite war-horse for food. So wretched were the Christians that
many threw themselves over the battlements. Others deserted to the
enemy, letting themselves down at night by cords from the city walls.
These latter traitors were cursed most bitterly by their indignant
comrades for such base cowardice and were called in derision
"Rope-dancers." But truly it was only the stoutest hearts and strongest
bodies that could stand the misery to which the Crusaders were now
reduced. In spite of the brave efforts of Godfrey and some of the other
princes, most of the wretched people gave up all hope. They hid
themselves in their houses to await the end, and the silence of death
settled down upon the stricken city.

It is said that several of the leaders proposed to secure their own
safety by fleeing in the night from the beleaguered city, and were only
prevented from taking this step by the appeals of Adhemar and Godfrey,
who represented to them in strongest terms the everlasting disgrace that
such a step would bring upon them. Kerbogha had scornfully refused any
terms of surrender except "Death or captivity for all," and it seemed
that such must be the fate of the Crusaders, when the aspect of affairs
was suddenly changed by a miracle.

A priest, Bartholomew by name, announced that Saint Andrew had appeared
to him three times, saying,--

"Go to the church of my brother Peter in Antioch. Dig up the earth near
the altar, and there you will find the head of the lance that pierced
the side of our Redeemer. This sacred sign borne at the head of the army
shall deliver the Christians and pierce the heart of the infidels."

All the army believed in this vision, and after three solemn days of
fasting and praying, Bartholomew, in the presence of twelve priests and
knights, directed the workmen where to dig beneath the altar of the
church. All day the digging went on, while the great crowd outside
waited in silent impatience. At midnight, Bartholomew threw himself into
the hole, and soon reappeared, bearing a spear-head in his hand. The joy
of all was frantic, for they firmly believed that this holy relic would
insure them a victory. Famine and fear were forgotten! All demanded to
be led at once against the enemy.

The next day the gates of Antioch were thrown open, and the army marched
forth in solemn and imposing procession. At the head walked the priests,
bearing aloft the holy lance, and chanting, "Let the Lord arise and let
His enemies be scattered." The army followed in twelve divisions, each
led by one of the princes in such state as he could muster. Godfrey had
given away his all and rode a horse borrowed from the rich Raymond. Many
of the soldiers were without weapons and were so weak from want of food
that they could scarcely walk; yet their faith gave them courage, and
they surveyed the vast army of the Saracens with calm confidence in
victory,--for was not God himself with them? Not a sound was heard in
the ranks.

The Saracens, seeing this strange procession, at first supposed that the
Christians had come out to surrender; but soon perceiving their error,
they let fly a shower of arrows. A strong wind blew back these infidel
darts and seemed to the Crusaders yet another sign of heavenly favor;
and they awaited with renewed confidence the attack of the Turks. It
soon came. The bodyguard of Kerbogha, three thousand strong, both man
and horse clad in complete steel armor, hurled themselves against the
Christian ranks, beating down the soldiers with ponderous clubs armed
with steel points. Behind these warriors followed the immense host of
Saracens. The battle raged for some time without decided advantage on
either side, but the Sultan of Nice at last ordered burning flax to be
thrown among the bushes and grass of the plain. At once the blaze and
smoke surrounded the Christians. Stifled and confused, they fell back,
and the sultan was about to drive them from the field, when suddenly a
body of soldiers was seen descending the mountain-side, led by three
knights in glittering white armor.

"Behold," cried the Bishop of Puy, "the holy saints, George, Demetrius,
and Theodore, come to fight for us!"

To the Christians this sight gave irresistible valor. With a mighty
shout, "God wills it!" the army hurled itself as one man against the
Saracens. Nothing could withstand that inspired charge. The Turks fell
back, broke their ranks, and fled in terror, leaving a hundred thousand
dead.

Their camp was found rich in treasures of all kinds. The gorgeous tent
of Kerbogha, arranged in streets, like a city, lavishly decorated with
gold and jewels, and large enough to shelter two thousand men, was
captured by Bohemond. This vast pavilion was sent to Italy, where it was
an object of even greater wonder and admiration to the Italians than it
had been to the Crusaders. The leaders now found themselves rich, and
for some time remained in peace at Antioch, enjoying the relief from
want and warfare.

But again a pestilence broke out, and carried off thousands. Among these
victims was the good and beloved Adhemar, Bishop of Puy. The soldiers
believed that God was angry because of the inaction and delay of the
princes that were sworn to deliver the sepulchre of Christ. Then news
came that Jerusalem had been taken from the Turks by the Khalif of
Egypt, and the Christians were struck with deep remorse that the Holy
City had been again captured, and not by the followers of Christ.
Ashamed of their delay and forgetfulness of their sacred mission, the
Crusaders resumed their march to the Holy City, eight months after the
capture of Antioch.

But the army lacked some of its former leaders. Count Stephen, of
Chartres, and the Count of Vermandois, weary of hardships, had returned
to France,--there to face the bitter scorn of all Europe. Bohemond
remained in Antioch as ruler of the city his cunning had won. Baldwin,
who had established himself as prince of the rich city, Edessa, thought
no more about Jerusalem. This conduct of Baldwin grieved his brother
deeply, and it was with a saddened heart that the pious Godfrey now led
his army toward Jerusalem.

Marching along the coast, the Crusaders soon neared Ptolemais. The emir
of that city sent them supplies, and promised to surrender it to them as
soon as they should conquer Jerusalem. The princes had not intended to
attack Ptolemais and were delighted at this unexpected promise. But the
falseness of the Mohammedan was soon revealed to them in a strange way.
For soon after, while the army was encamped near Cæsarea, the Bishop of
Apt, sitting before his tent one day, saw a large falcon in pursuit of a
dove. Fluttering swiftly downward, the tiny bird escaped the claws of
its pursuer and fell at the feet of the bishop. The kind priest picked
it up carefully, and was tenderly smoothing its ruffled plumage when he
saw a letter tied under its wing. Setting the trembling bird free, the
bishop hastened to the tent where the princes were holding council.
Godfrey broke the seal, and with an exclamation of surprise read the
letter aloud.

It was from the Emir of Ptolemais to the Emir of Cæsarea, and ran
thus:--

     "The cursed race of Christians have just passed through my
     territory, and will soon reach thine. Let the chiefs of all the
     Mussulman cities be warned of their approach and let them take
     measures to crush our enemies."

The princes were much astonished on hearing this, and Godfrey
exclaimed,--

"Surely we cannot doubt that God is with us, since He sends the birds of
the air to reveal to us the secrets of our enemies!"

So said all the soldiers when the letter was read to them, and they
pursued their journey with new enthusiasm and stronger hope.

On a night not long after, the Crusaders were watching with awe an
eclipse of the moon. Suddenly the momentary darkness passed away, and
the lurid light of a _blood-red_ moon shone down. But their terror at
this strange sight was changed to joy when "those familiar with the
signs of the stars" said,--

"This doth portend the fall of the infidels and the triumph of Christ's
army!"

The following day, at sunrise, the Crusaders climbed to the summit of
the hills of Emmaus, when--

"Lo! Jerusalem appears in sight. Lo! every hand points out Jerusalem.
Lo! a thousand voices are heard as one in salutation of Jerusalem!"

After the first moment of pure gladness, a feeling of deep awe and great
sorrow came over the Crusaders as they gazed at the city where Christ
had suffered and died for their redemption. Following the example of
their loved Godfrey, the Christians laid aside with tears and sighs
their gay scarfs and glittering ornaments of knighthood; barefoot, in
token of humility and reverence, they traveled the road once trodden by
the feet of their Lord. And as they marched, they sang the words of
Isaiah:--

"Jerusalem, lift up thine eyes and behold the liberator who comes to
break thy chains!"

At last the pilgrims were encamped before the city of their pious hopes
and dreams. But only a small remnant of the once magnificent army was
left,--a weak body of perhaps forty thousand, lacking provisions and all
machinery of war.

A few days after encamping, the Crusaders made a fierce assault on
Jerusalem, but having no engines of attack and no scaling ladders, they
were beaten back.

Realizing that the city could never be taken without these machines,
Godfrey set the army at work to construct them. But it was with the
greatest difficulty that wood, iron, and stone for making towers,
ladders, and catapults could be procured. Soon the soldiers suffered the
agonies of thirst, for most of the springs had been choked up or
poisoned by the enemy. A less determined army would have given up the
siege in despair. But though a few weak ones, unable to stand the
hardships, deserted, nothing could daunt the courage or lessen the zeal
of the greater part of the army.

When at last some reinforcements and supplies arrived, all the army,
women and children as well as men, set to work again with the greatest
spirit to build engines of war and to prepare for the assault. Godfrey,
Raymond, and Tancred constructed three movable towers, each higher than
the city wall. Godfrey's had three platforms, and on the topmost one a
drawbridge to be let down upon the wall.

After four weeks of hard labor, Godfrey decided that the attack could
be made. Three days the army fasted and prayed. Then all the Crusaders,
in full armor, led by the priests praying and chanting, marched around
Jerusalem, viewing with awe the holy places of the Lord's pilgrimage. On
the mount whence Christ ascended to heaven, the priests absolved and
blessed the multitude.

Meanwhile the Egyptians and Turks on the city walls mocked at these
ceremonies. The infidels raised crosses and spat upon them, insulting in
every way the symbol of Christ in the sight of His followers. Peter the
Hermit, on seeing this sacrilege, cried aloud to the Crusaders,--

"I swear to you by your faith that to-morrow these proud blasphemers of
Christ shall be frozen with fear! Their mosques shall become temples of
the Lord, and Jerusalem shall hear only the praises of the true God!" At
these words the whole army shouted with joy and triumph.

That night the wise Godfrey, with great labor and difficulty, removed
his immense engines of war to another position, where the Saracens had
not made such great preparations for the defence of the walls.

Then Godfrey and the other leaders planned the attack. Raymond was to
assault the southern wall; Godfrey himself the northern; and between
them the two Roberts and Tancred were to be stationed.

At daybreak, the Count of Toulouse came to Godfrey's tent. After
greeting Godfrey, Raymond exclaimed in surprise,--

"How is this, my Lord? Where is thy strong breastplate and the rest of
thy steel armor? Why hast thou put on this weak suit? Don thy vantbrace
and helmet, and thy steel casque, and mask thy face. Do not risk thy
life thus rashly."

But Godfrey replied calmly,--

"When Pope Urban girt this blade on me at Clermont, and bade me perform
the duties of a true knight of Christ in this divine Crusade, I made a
secret vow that on this day I would not fight as a prince and leader,
but would assume the arms and armor of a common soldier. I shall station
my men and see to all things as a general should; then, in this light
armor of a foot-soldier, I shall strive to plant the banner of the cross
on the ramparts of Jerusalem. God will protect my life."

When Raymond heard this resolution, he protested no more, but hastened
away and told the other princes, who all quickly decided to follow
Godfrey's example of brave humility.

Soon everything was in readiness, and from all quarters of the camp the
drums and trumpets sounded.

       *       *       *       *       *

With a mighty shout, the army rushes to the assault. The engines of war
are all put in motion at the same moment. Bands of men, under cover of
their upraised shields, drag the rams close to the wall. With these
battering-rams they hammer at the wall, while stones and arrows hurtle
down on their steel roof. Other companies rush intrepidly forward with
long scaling-ladders, and strive to hook them to the top of the wall.
The Saracens, with equal energy and courage, labor to cast them down. If
perchance a ladder be fixed, men swarm up, undaunted by the weapons
hurled at them. Scores, struck dead or wounded, loosen their hold and
fall to the ground; but as many more clamber over their dead bodies and
spring to their places. If a knight but reach the top of the ladder, he
is cut down by the scimitars of the Egyptians.

Huge stones, showers of sharp flints, and heavy beams cast from
mangonels and catapults, fly through the air in every direction,
crushing Saracens or Christians. The great towers, alive with soldiers,
roll forward nearer and nearer to the city wall, though its defenders
fight desperately to stay the advance of the dreaded machines,--casting
blazing arrows and balls of fire against the towers, aiming countless
weapons at the Christians upon them. Women and children mingle in the
fray, bringing missiles for the machines, or food and water for the
soldiers. They lay hold on the towers and help to drag them forward.

On the tallest tower, high above all, stands Godfrey, fighting
furiously, and urging his men to yet more heroic efforts. Above all
tumult--shouts of defiance and cries of triumph, shrieks of mortal
anguish, din and clatter of arms, and hissing of arrows--rings out his
battle-cry: "Christ and the Holy Sepulchre! God wills it!"

Now Christians raise a shout of joy as they gain the wall; now infidels
howl in derision as the besiegers are driven back. Through the smoke and
flame and flying weapons the horrified Crusaders behold two hideous
witches on the highest rampart. Their hair and garments stream in the
wind. With horrid curses and impious cries, they call upon the demons of
earth and air to smite the Crusaders. But their sorcery does not avail
to save themselves from death; pierced by countless Christian arrows,
they fall headlong from the battlements. With wilder zeal the exultant
Crusaders battle, and with greater fury the enraged infidels.

Hours pass. The tower of Raymond is set on fire, and the long flames
shoot up to heaven and brighten the darkening sky. Night falls, and
Jerusalem is still in the hands of the unbelievers. Exhausted and
bleeding, the Christians draw back from the walls; but it is not of
their suffering and losses they think. One long wail goes up from those
bursting hearts:--

"Alas! God has not yet thought us worthy to enter His Holy City!"

But those stout hearts are not long cast down. At daybreak the
Christians once more hurl themselves against the battered walls of
Jerusalem--with tenfold fiercer determination than before. Infidels and
Christians know that one or the other will this day be swept from the
face of the earth. The Christian leaders fight as even these knights of
the cross have never fought before. The veteran Raymond is on foot in
the midst of his men. He urges them against the wall where stands the
Emir of Jerusalem, and bids them aim their darts at the Egyptian prince,
whose splendid armor flashes golden in the sunlight. But though the
arrows fall thick about him, Iftikhar stands haughtily erect, and
continues to direct the efforts of his men.

Tancred and the two Roberts exhaust their arrows and at last stand
motionless on the tower, awaiting with fierce impatience the moment,
fast approaching, when they can pierce with lance or cut down with sword
the Saracens on the city wall, now almost within reach.

But the conflict centers about the great tower of Godfrey. If only that
tower reach the wall! On the summit shines a great cross of gold, and
beneath its arms stands Godfrey, his brother Eustace, his cousin,
Baldwin du Bourg, Sigier, and other knights. The sight of the sacred
symbol of Christ throws the followers of Mohammed into a frenzy of
impious rage. They hurl showers of blazing arrows, stones, and balls of
fire against its defenders. Godfrey remains unhurt, but the faithful
Sigier falls beside him. Slowly but surely the tower creeps nearer the
wall. The Saracens redouble their efforts. They throw down between the
wall and the tower, pots of burning oil, blazing wood, and Greek fire.
They fortify the wall with mattresses of lighted straw until it seems
one sheet of flame. The tower approaches this barricade of fire, but
the smoke and flame stifle the Crusaders. They falter and fall back.

The Crusaders on all sides begin to waver, and the infidels shout for
joy. But at this moment a knight in glittering white armor appears on
the Mount of Olives, and waves his fiery shield toward the Holy City.
Godfrey, first to behold the strange warrior, shouts exultantly,--

"Saint George! Saint George to our aid!"

At the same moment a strong wind suddenly blows the flame away from
Godfrey's tower and back upon the infidels, who stagger and retreat from
the fiery blast. Now is the Christians' opportunity. One mighty effort,
and the tower is within reach of the wall. The bridge of the tower falls
with a crash, and the Christian knights spring upon it. A brief, fierce
struggle,--and then, with a glad shout, "God wills it!" Godfrey de
Bouillon stands triumphant on the walls of Jerusalem!

It is Friday,--the day and the very hour of the death of his Lord.

       *       *       *       *       *

The city was won. Animated by Godfrey's triumph, beholding him plant the
banner of the cross on the wall of Jerusalem, Raymond and Tancred
redoubled their efforts. Soon from all points of attack the victorious
Crusaders poured into the city. Maddened by battle and the remembrance
of the cruel persecutions their brethren had suffered, the Crusaders
massacred all in their way.

Very rarely, in those fierce days, was mercy shown to a defeated foe;
and the Crusaders, fully persuaded that the slaughter of infidels is
pleasing to the Lord, shouted, while hewing down the Saracens, "God
wills it!"

But the merciful Godfrey did not take part in this bloody work. With
three companions he stole away from the army; and clothing himself in a
pure white robe, barefoot, and without arms, he sought the Church of the
Holy Sepulchre. There he worshiped at the tomb of Christ, and gave
thanks that it had been rescued from the infidels. When the other
Crusaders heard of this pious act, all followed Godfrey's example, and
offered up prayers at the Holy Sepulchre. But their piety did not soften
their hearts. For a week they hunted down and killed the Mohammedans and
the Jews of the city.

At last, when weary of slaughter, the Crusaders turned their attention
to matters concerning the safety and welfare of the city they had so
hardly won. It was decided to elect a king who should remain in the
Holy Land, and protect the city against the attacks of the infidels.
After long consideration, prayer, and inquiry into the private character
of the various princes, Godfrey de Bouillon was chosen as possessing in
the highest degree the requisite qualities of virtue, piety, wisdom, and
valor. In the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, before the assembled
Crusaders, Godfrey took an oath to rule justly and to defend with his
life the Holy City. But so great was his piety and humility that he
refused to be crowned, saying,--

"Never will I wear a crown of gold in the place where the Saviour of the
world wore a crown of thorns!" Nor would he be called king, but took the
title of "Baron and Defender of the Holy Sepulchre." Yet in history he
is called the first King of Jerusalem, and never was there a more kingly
man, one more fitted to wear a crown.

       *       *       *       *       *

Scarcely had Godfrey taken the vow to defend Jerusalem when he was
called upon to fulfill it. Tidings came that an immense army of
Egyptians and Turks was advancing upon the city. Realizing that
Jerusalem could not hold out if besieged, Godfrey wisely and boldly
marched out to meet the enemy, though both Raymond and Robert of
Normandy refused to go with him, affecting not to believe in the
reported approach of the infidels. But after Godfrey's departure these
princes yielded to the prayers of the people, and joined him at Ascalon.

There, countless thousands of the infidels were completely crushed by
Godfrey. He captured the sword and great standard of Afdhal, the
Egyptian leader, and hung them up as trophies in the Church of the
Sepulchre.

Godfrey soon conquered many parts of the surrounding country. During his
siege of Asur, a conquered city that had rebelled against him, Godfrey
inspired a touching act of heroism. He was advancing to attack the city
walls when a knight, Gerard of Avesnes, who had been left there as a
hostage by Godfrey, was bound by the Turks to a long pole and fastened
to the wall in such a manner that he must be killed by the weapons of
Godfrey's men should the assault be made. When Godfrey drew near, the
poor knight cried aloud with tears,--

"Godfrey, for the love of Christ, pity thy wretched friend. Alas! do not
cause me to die in this shameful way,--like a miserable felon, bound
and helpless! I do not fear death, but would fain die like a true
knight, sword in hand, on the battlefield!"

But Godfrey, though moved to the heart by the sad plight and piteous
appeals of Gerard, did not falter or fail in his hard duty. With tears
in his eyes, he besought the unfortunate knight to resign himself
bravely to the fate of a martyr.

"It is not in my power to save thee," said he. "The city must be taken.
If my own brother were in thy place I could not deliver him from death.
Die, then, illustrious and brave knight, for the safety of thy brethren
and the glory of thy Lord Jesus Christ!"

Inspired by these noble words, Gerard found the faith to meet death with
a splendid courage. He begged that his armor be offered up at the Holy
Sepulchre, and that prayers be said there for the repose of his soul.
Then bidding his friends farewell, he urged on their attack, and died
without a murmur under a shower of darts from their hands.

Many chiefs of the Turks visited Godfrey during this siege, and were
surprised to find the great prince living as simply as the poorest
soldier, without luxuries of any kind, his bed a pallet of straw. But he
gained the respect and admiration of these barbarians by showing them
his great strength and skill in arms. The fame of his valor traveled
over the land, and many emirs came of their own accord to swear fealty
to the ruler of Jerusalem.

The wisdom of Godfrey was as great as his bravery. He called a council
of the wise men of the kingdom, and with their help drew up good and
just laws for the government of the people. Not long after these laws
were drawn up and deposited in the Church of the Resurrection, Godfrey
was called to the help of his friend Tancred, ruler of Galilee, who had
been attacked by the Saracens. Godfrey quickly defeated this army, and
was on his way back to Jerusalem when he was met by the Emir of Cæsarea,
who made him a present of some fruit. Godfrey ate only one cedar-apple,
but was at once taken very sick, and his friends believed that he had
been poisoned by the emir. Though suffering greatly, the stricken hero
hastened on to his beloved city.

On the anniversary of the taking of Jerusalem, in that Holy City so dear
to his heart, the greatest of the Crusaders calmly passed away, and "The
Lord received him into Paradise."

Near the sacred tomb of his divine captain, the body of this true and
loyal soldier of Christ was laid to rest. Never had he wavered in his
devotion to the cause of his Lord. Hardships of desert and mountain,
suffering by pestilence and famine, agonies of thirst, labors and perils
of the battlefield,--all had failed to daunt this soldier of the Cross.
What matter if his ideals of duty and religion seem fantastic to our
modern minds? He gave his life for them; and so long as men admire the
brave deeds of a fearless heart, so long as they reverence a pure and
selfless purpose, so long will they honor the name and fame of The Great
Crusader.



THE TROUBADOUR


    Gaily the Troubadour touched his guitar,
    As he was hastening home from the war,
    Singing, "From Palestine hither I come,--
    Ladye-love, ladye-love, welcome me home!"

    She for her Troubadour hopelessly wept,
    Sadly she thought on him whilst others slept,
    Sighing, "In search of thee, would I might roam,
    Troubadour, Troubadour, come to thy home!"

    Hark! 'twas the Troubadour breathing her name,
    As under the battlement softly he came,
    Singing, "From Palestine hither I come,
    Ladye-love, ladye-love, welcome me home!"

    _Old Song._



THE CARRIER DOVE


    Fly away to my native land, sweet dove,
    Fly away to my native land,
    And bear these lines to my ladye-love,
    That I've traced with a feeble hand.
    She marvels much at my long delay,
    A rumor of death she hath heard,
    Or she thinks, perhaps, that I falsely stray--
    Then fly to her bower, sweet bird!

    I shall miss thy visit at dawn, sweet dove,
    I shall miss thy coming at eve,
    But bring me a line from my ladye-love,
    And then I shall cease to grieve.
    No friend to my lattice a solace brings,
    Except when your voice is heard,
    As you beat the bars with your snowy wings,
    Then fly to her bower, sweet bird!

    Oh! fly to her bower and say the chain
    Of the tyrant is over me now,
    That I never shall mount my steed again,
    With helmet upon my brow.
    I can bear in a dungeon to waste away youth,
    I can fall by the conqueror's sword,
    But I cannot endure she should doubt my truth,
    Then fly to her bower, sweet bird!

    _Old Song._



THE CAPTIVE KNIGHT


    'Twas a trumpet's pealing sound!
    And the Knight looked down from the Paynim's tower;
    As a Christian host, in its pride and power,
    Thro' the pass beneath him wound.
    "Cease awhile, clarion! clarion, wild and shrill!
    Cease, let them hear the captive's voice! be still, be still!

    "I knew 'twas a trumpet's note!
    And I see my brethren's lances gleam,
    And their pennons wave by the mountain stream,
    And their plumes to the glad wind float.
    Cease awhile, clarion! clarion, wild and shrill!
    Cease, let them hear the captive's voice! be still, be still!

    "I am here with my heavy chain!
    And I look on a torrent sweeping by.
    And an eagle rushing to the sky,
    And a host to its battle plain.
    Cease awhile, clarion! clarion wild and shrill!
    Cease, let them hear the captive's voice! be still, be still!

    "Must I pine in my fetters here?
    With the wild waves' foam, and the free bird's flight,
    And the tall spears glancing on my sight,
    And the trumpet in my ear?
    Cease awhile, clarion! clarion wild and shrill!
    Cease, let them hear the captive's voice! be still, be still!

    "They are gone! they have all passed by!
    They in whose wars I have borne my part,
    They that I loved with a brother's heart,
    They have left me here to die!
    Sound again, clarion! clarion, pour thy blast!
    Sound, for the captive's dream of hope is past!"

    FELICIA HEMANS.



RICHARD COEUR-DE-LION


    Honor enough his merit brings,
      He needs no alien praise
    In whose train, Glory, like a king's,
      Follows through all his days.

    _Itinerarium Regis Ricardi._



RICHARD COEUR-DE-LION

(1157-1199 A. D.)


There was once a prince of England who was married when only five years
old. This youthful bridegroom was Richard, the son of Henry II. and
Eleanor of Aquitaine; and his bride was a maiden of three, Alice,
daughter of Louis VII. of France. The ceremony was a curious one, for of
course such babies could not really take the marriage vows. But the
parents of the small couple made the required vows in the name of their
children, and solemnly promised that the little prince and princess
should marry as soon as they were old enough. Though the children were
too young to understand the meaning of the ceremony, it was considered
as binding upon them as if they had been a man and a woman.

It seems strange for such babies to be married, but it was the custom in
those days for kings to arrange marriages for the royal children in
order to increase their own power and dominions, or for other reasons
connected with the welfare of the country. Thus Henry II., by this
marriage, obtained possession of lands in France, and the City of
Gisors, given by Louis as a dower to Alice. The little girl and her
lands were placed in the hands of Henry to be guarded for Richard until
the boy should be old enough to claim his bride.

Doubtless the tiny bride of three and her little groom played together
happily after their marriage, with little thought of the imposing
ceremony; for it meant nothing to them then, though destined to have sad
consequences for both in later years. But not for long were the married
children together. Alice was taken to England, while Richard spent most
of his early life in France. He was destined to be duke of his mother's
French province of Aquitaine; and it was thought best that he should be
educated in the country of which he would be ruler.

Richard was a sturdy, bold, and adventurous lad. He engaged in all the
boyish sports of the day, and later in those chivalric pastimes that
formed part of the training of a noble youth. He was taught every
accomplishment deemed necessary for a knight,--to ride like a centaur,
to cast a lance, to wield the sword, and to swing the battle-axe. He
even learned to bend the great cross-bow, the weapon of the English
peasant, and could send an arrow straight to the mark. These exercises
were severe training for the young prince, but they developed the
prodigious strength and skill in arms that later made him the greatest
warrior of his age.

In addition to these knightly accomplishments, Richard learned to read
and write,--not such common acquirements in those days as now. From his
brilliantly educated mother the prince inherited a taste for literature,
poetry, and music. It was an age of poetry, and poets were held in much
honor, influencing men to great deeds by their stirring songs. Richard
took great delight in the songs of the troubadours of Aquitaine and
Anjou. Several of these poets, especially Blondel de Nesle, were his
warm friends, and taught him the arts of verse-making and music, in
which Richard acquired admirable skill.

In the rich land of Aquitaine, with its gay, pleasure-loving people,
Richard was surrounded by luxury and splendor, but, alas! not by an
atmosphere of peace or love. His mother was a frivolous woman, and his
father, Henry, a violent-tempered, despotic, and wicked man. The two
did not love each other, and when together quarreled continually in the
most violent manner. So Richard and his brothers--Henry, Geoffrey, and
John--passed their youth in an atmosphere of strife; and all that was
violent and contentious in their natural dispositions was fostered by
their home life and the bad example of their parents.

The princes quarreled among themselves, and as they grew older,
naturally took part in the bitter disputes continually taking place
between Henry and Eleanor. As Geoffrey once said, it was their
inheritance _not_ to love one another. The princes were all proud,
headstrong, and selfwilled, and hence little disposed to obey their
imperious father; and Henry, though in some ways weakly indulgent to his
sons, was most autocratic in disposition. As his sons became young men,
he gave them certain provinces in France to rule. But he would allow
them no real power, and the proud young princes were determined not to
submit to their father's authority, but to be rulers in fact as well as
in name. So they rebelled against Henry time and again, and fierce wars
took place between the father and his sons.

Their mother, Eleanor, encouraged the princes in their attitude of
rebellion against Henry, for he had long treated her with great
indignity. He neglected his wife for other fair ladies, and at last put
her in prison, where she remained nearly sixteen years. This severe
treatment of Eleanor served to enrage her sons and to alienate them
still more from Henry; for they loved their mother dearly in spite of
all her faults. So the strife continued in the royal family until two
sons, Henry and Geoffrey, died while at enmity with their father. Then a
reconciliation took place between the other members of the family; but
it lasted only a short time.

Richard, who was then of age, wished to claim and really marry his
child-bride, Alice; but Henry made excuse after excuse for not giving up
Alice to his son, though he maintained that Richard was legally bound to
her and could not marry any other woman.

It is said that the wicked old man had himself fallen in love with
Alice, and intended to obtain a divorce from Eleanor and marry the young
princess. Whether this be true or not, it is certain that Richard's
demands to be given his bride, or else to be declared free to marry whom
he pleased, were treated with contempt by the old king. Meanwhile the
gallant and handsome young prince had met at the court of Navarre the
Princess Berengaria, daughter of King Sancho, and had been much charmed
by her beauty and grace; but the entanglement with Alice prevented a
serious love affair.

At last Richard became weary of his absurd position,--supposed to be
married and yet without a wife.

He appealed to the brother of Alice, Philip of France, who readily
consented to aid him. The two demanded of Henry that he give up Alice to
Richard, and also acknowledge him as heir to the English throne, for
they feared that Henry purposed to leave that kingdom to John. During an
interview between Henry and Richard, at which Philip was present,
Richard demanded that his father recognize him, the elder son, as the
future King of England. Henry made an evasive reply, whereupon,
referring to the rumor that _John_ would be heir to the English crown,
Richard exclaimed passionately,--

"Then I am compelled to believe that which I before had believed
impossible!" and ungirding his sword and handing it to Philip, he knelt
to him and said,--

"To you, Sire, I commit the protection of my rights, and to you I now do
homage for all my father's dominions in France!"

Philip accepted his homage, and gave to Richard all the cities taken
from Henry. Naturally, that king was enraged when his son thus haughtily
renounced allegiance to him, and war soon followed. Henry was defeated
several times, and many of his barons left him to join the cause of
Richard. Finally, the king was forced to make peace with his rebellious
son on very hard conditions; and this mortified his kingly pride so
sorely that he fell ill of grief and rage. During this sickness, he
could think of nothing save his own defeat, and raved constantly,
"Shame, shame on a conquered king!" When he learned that his
best-beloved son, John, had been a party to Richard's rebellion, the
blow was too severe for the old king's broken strength. He died of
grief, cursing his rebellious sons with his last breath.

No sooner had the fierce but affectionate Richard heard of his father's
death at Chinon than he was overcome with sorrow and remorse. He came to
take leave of the king's body, but as he drew near the bier, blood
gushed from the eyes and mouth of the dead man. Richard was
horror-stricken, and rushed away, exclaiming,--

"I have murdered him; his blood accuses me!"

The repentant son caused the corpse to be buried with due ceremony at
Fontevraud, the ancient burial-place of the Norman kings, and he showed
many signs of penitence for his unfilial conduct.

As soon as the unhappy old king had been laid away, Richard's thoughts
turned to his mother, Eleanor, who had been for many years a state
prisoner in Winchester Castle. Sending at once to England, he ordered
that the queen be released, and appointed regent of the kingdom. Indeed,
Richard was always a tender and dutiful son to his mother, who calls
him, "My brave, my generous, my high-minded, my all-worthy son,
Richard." If he were not a good son to his father also, it is some
excuse that Henry was a most unpleasant, tyrannical man, whose treatment
of his wife and children was not such as to beget love and dutiful
conduct.

After tarrying some months in France, attending to matters in his
provinces of Anjou, Poitou, Normandy, and Aquitaine, Richard crossed
over to England. There he was received most joyfully by his new
subjects.

In Westminster Abbey, on Sept. 3, 1189, his coronation took place with
great splendor. It is the first coronation ceremony of an English king
fully described by eye-witnesses.

The Archbishop of Canterbury and other bishops, richly robed, and
carrying the cross, holy water, and censers, led the stately procession
that escorted the king from his palace to the Abbey. After these
dignitaries of the Church, came four barons in court dress, bearing each
a golden candlestick; then four earls, carrying the king's cup, the
golden spurs, the scepter of state, and the royal rod of majesty--a mace
adorned with a golden dove. Four great earls walked next, brandishing
aloft their glittering swords; and behind these noblemen marched six
more, as bearers of the royal robes and regalia. William, Earl of Essex,
proudly carried the gold and jeweled crown immediately before Richard
himself, who walked beneath a magnificent canopy of state, upheld by
richly clad nobles.

Before the brilliant assemblage of lords Richard took the solemn oath to
be a just and righteous ruler. Then after the archbishop had anointed
him with holy oil, shoes of golden tissue were put on the king's feet,
the golden spurs were buckled on, and he was clad in the vestments of
royalty and led to the high altar. There he promised to be faithful to
his kingly oath, and was crowned with the royal diadem and given the
scepter and rod of office.

So Richard Plantagenet became King of England. No one beholding the
proud bearing of the new monarch would have supposed that his family
emblem, the lowly broom-plant (_Planta genista_), from which came the
name Plantagenet, had been adopted by an ancestor of Richard's in token
of humility. For, in very truth, the Plantagenets were an arrogant race,
and Richard was the proudest of his line.

As he strode down the aisle of Westminster in all the glittering and
jeweled splendor of his coronation robes, Richard's appearance was truly
royal. He looked every inch a king. The people gazed with delight on his
tall, powerful frame, graceful and strong as that of Mars himself; on
his proudly poised head, whose red-gold curls waved beneath the jeweled
crown; on the fair, haughty face with its square, determined jaw,
aquiline nose, full, proud lips, and fierce, restless blue eyes.
Heartily the multitude admired Richard's manly beauty, his lordly air;
and with a right good-will they shouted joyously: "Long live the king!
Long live our Richard Lionheart!"

Before his accession to the throne, Richard had determined to go as a
Crusader to the rescue of the Holy Land. From his mother, who had
herself taken part in the Second Crusade, he had heard many stories of
the East,--that land of wonders and marvelous adventures. Richard was by
nature a rover, a warrior, a knight-errant. So it seemed to him a most
delightful prospect to travel, to see strange lands and peoples, to
fight in a holy war; and thus to indulge his own love of adventure and
of battle while advancing the glory of God. Nay, to do him justice,
Richard was religious too, in the strange fierce fashion of those
days,--days when one could be pious without being good; when the warrior
prayed and fought with equal zeal, deeming both acts of equal merit in
the sight of heaven; when the Christian believed the slaughter of
infidels well-pleasing to God; when the knight of the Cross was
confident that Christ pardoned all sins to the warrior who did battle
for His Holy Sepulchre. So Richard, though far from pious or exemplary
in his daily life, was moved by a genuine and fervent desire to deliver
Jerusalem from the infidels, into whose hands it had fallen again after
its conquest by Godfrey de Bouillon.

When all the tedious and costly preparations necessary for the Crusade
had been completed, Richard sent his fleet around by the Strait of
Gibraltar. He himself crossed over to France with the troops, intending
to march through that country to meet his ships at Marseilles, and there
to embark for Palestine.

At Vézelai, Richard met Philip of France, who had agreed to join him in
the Crusade. The two kings and their great armies marched together for
some distance, but finally separated, and proceeded southward by
different routes,--the French to Genoa, the English to Marseilles.

When Richard reached that seaport, he was much disappointed to find that
the fleet had not arrived. Leaving the main body of troops there to
await the arrival of the vessels, he procured a ship, and proceeded on
his way by sea, sailing along the coast of France and Italy. He stopped
at many cities, and sometimes traveled on land with only a few
attendants, like a simple knight-errant.

When he reached the Gulf of Salernum, Richard was joined by his fleet,
and sailed toward Messina, a coast town of Sicily, where he was to meet
Philip. On approaching the city, Richard ordered every trumpet to be
sounded. The people, rushing to the walls, beheld with surprise the
great fleet of England, manned by thousands of steel-clad warriors, and
flying the red cross of Saint George, the lion-emblazoned banner of
Richard, and hundreds of gay baronial flags. The arrival is thus
described:--

        "O Holy Mary, no man ever saw
      Such galleys, such dromonds, such transports before;
        Rowing on, rowing on, across the deep sea,
      Rowing on, rowing on to fair Sicily!

    "What pennons and banners from the top of the spears
    To the fair winds are streaming all graceful and proud;
    What a great host of warriors, whose breasts know no fears
    Pace the decks, whilst the oarsmen are chanting aloud--
    Row on, lads, row on, lads, across the deep sea;
    Crowd the sail and row on, lads, to fair Sicily!

    "Hark, hark to the voice of the trumpets so clear
    As they enter the harbor and make for the pier;
    See what bright gilded beaks, what finely wrought bows,
    And what thousands of shields hang out on the prows.
    Oh! such a staunch fleet never sailed on the sea
    As this armament anchored off fair Sicily.

    "And now from his trim galley, named Cut-the-Sea
    The proud Richard lands midst uproarious glee;
    Clad in bright scale-linked mail with axe in his hand,
    He, the chief of his hero band, paces the strand,
    Whilst the people and warriors in wild ecstasy,
    Shout hurrah for King Richard and fair Sicily!"

Such was the brilliant spectacle of Coeur-de-Lion's arrival in Sicily.
When Richard had landed and camped near Messina, he sent envoys at once
to Tancred, the King of Sicily, who had usurped the throne and
imprisoned Richard's sister Joan, widow of the former king. These envoys
were bidden to demand of Tancred the instant release of Joan, the
payment of her dowry, and the delivery of a rich legacy which Richard
asserted had been left by her husband to Henry II. This bequest included
a gold table twelve feet long, twenty-four gold cups and saucers, a
large silk tent, and a hundred fine galleys. On receiving King Richard's
peremptory message, Tancred at once sent Joan to her royal brother with
a large sum of money, but denied any knowledge of the rich legacy that
Richard claimed.

Now the French king had previously arrived in Sicily, and the forces of
both kings were encamped about Messina. There was much jealousy between
the two monarchs. Philip was envious of Richard's greater fame as a
warrior, and Richard resented the fact that as Duke of Normandy he was a
vassal of the French king. This feeling of ill-will extended to the
soldiers of the two armies, hostile from birth, and gave rise to much
quarreling and continual brawls. The French contrived to arouse in the
people of Sicily a suspicious dread of the King of England. So when
these natives saw Richard building and fortifying strongholds, they
concluded that he intended to take possession of their island. Then
fierce disputes arose between them and the English soldiers.

At length, the trouble ended in an open fight; and Richard promptly
attacked the city of Messina. Though the French sided with the natives,
who were fifty thousand strong, "King Richard got possession of Messina
quicker than any priest could chant matins. Aye, and many more of the
citizens would have perished had not the King in his compassion ordered
their lives to be spared."

After the capture of the city, King Tancred agreed to give Richard forty
thousand ounces of gold in lieu of all claims against him in behalf of
Joan. Richard accepted this offer, and peace was restored. One-third of
the money he gave to Philip, and the two kings made a new compact of
friendship, solemnly swearing to be faithful to each other in all things
during this Crusade.

A period of peace followed, during which the kings and nobles amused
themselves in various ways while awaiting a favorable season for their
voyage to Palestine.

One day while riding, Richard and Philip met a peasant bringing a load
of tough canes to town. The two kings and all their knights took each a
reed, and using it as a lance, began to tilt against one another.
Richard and a French knight, William des Barres, charged each other. The
reeds were shattered, and the headpiece of Richard was broken. Enraged
at this mishap, the king dashed furiously on William, but his own saddle
was upset, and he fell to the ground "quicker than he liked."

Hastily mounting a fresh horse, Richard again attacked Des Barres, but
could not unhorse the knight, who stuck fast to his saddle. Then the
Earl of Leicester attempted to aid Richard, but the king cried, "Let be,
Robert; hold off and leave us alone!" But when, after many vain efforts,
he had failed to overthrow the stout French warrior, Richard flew into a
terrific rage, and cried, "Get thee hence, and appear no more before me,
for I shall be thine enemy hereafter!" Whereupon William des Barres
withdrew in much distress of mind, and asked the intercession of the
King of France. Not until Philip, all the bishops, and the chiefs of the
army had repeatedly besought Richard for grace, would the mortified king
consent to the peaceable return of the knight. So unwise is it to
successfully combat a king!

Soon after this episode fresh trouble arose between Richard and Philip.
The King of France was brother to Alice, the betrothed bride of Richard.
When he heard that Queen Eleanor was on her way to Sicily, bringing
Berengaria, daughter of the King of Navarre, as a bride for the English
king, Philip was enraged. He insisted that Richard was legally bound to
Alice and could not marry any one else. Richard, who had been much
charmed with Berengaria some years before while visiting her father's
court at Pampeluna, now flatly refused to marry Alice. He accused her of
most wicked conduct, such as rendered her unworthy to be his wife.
Probably these charges were well founded, for Philip finally agreed, on
certain conditions, to release Richard from the engagement with Alice.
The French princess, then held prisoner in England by Eleanor, was to be
returned to France, and Philip was to receive a large sum of money. An
ecclesiastical court was then held, and it adjudged that Richard was no
longer bound to Alice, but was free to marry as he pleased.

These matters settled, Philip set sail for Palestine on the very day
that Eleanor arrived with Berengaria. The two royal ladies received a
joyful welcome from the king, who went to meet them in his gayly
decorated galley, _Trenc-le-Mer_.

He found Berengaria even lovelier than the young girl he had admired so
long ago in Navarre. His heart yielded at once to the charms of the
dark-eyed Spanish beauty, and the princess could not help loving such a
handsome, brave, and eloquent prince; for Richard was no less ready with
his tongue than with his sword, and won hearts as easily as battles. He
had long before won the devotion and friendship of Berengaria's brother
Sancho, a renowned warrior and poet; and this friendship doubtless
commended him to Berengaria. At any rate, the betrothed pair were soon a
pair of lovers and as happy as humbler sweethearts.

As it was then the solemn season of Lent, they resolved to postpone the
wedding until after Easter. Richard, however, in token of his joy, gave
a sumptuous betrothal feast, at which he instituted a new order of
knights, vowed to deeds of valor in the Holy Land. Queen Eleanor, after
remaining a few days with her dearly loved daughter and son, gave
Berengaria into the care of Queen Joan, and herself returned to England.

Richard then made final preparations for the voyage. Before leaving, he
gave Tancred, to whom he had become reconciled, "that best of swords,
which the Britons call Caliburne (Excalibur), formerly the sword of
Arthur, once the noble King of England."

At length the great fleet of busses, dromonds, and galleys set sail for
Palestine. Berengaria and Joan sailed first in a large ship under the
care of Stephen de Turnham, and Richard embarked last on _Trenc-le-Mer_.
Erelong a storm arose, and the fleet was dispersed. Berengaria was very
much alarmed for her lover's safety.

    "She sighed not for her own,
    But King Richard's safety;
    And kept crying, 'Oh! look out,
    For sore is my fright,
    Whilst the King and his galleys
    Are all out of sight!'"

Two ships escorting the vessel of the princess and Joan were wrecked on
the coast of Cyprus. Isaac, the emperor of that island, plundered the
ships and imprisoned the survivors. He also refused to allow the vessel
of the royal ladies to take shelter in the harbor of Limasol (now
Limoussa).

Meanwhile, Richard's galley had taken shelter at Rhodes. As soon as the
king learned of the straits in which the princesses were, he came to
their aid with many war galleys. When he found them outside of the
harbor, exposed to the violence of wind and sea, he was greatly
enraged. But restraining his anger fairly well for so passionate a man,
he sent messengers thrice to Isaac, "humbly begging him for the love of
God and reverence for the life-giving cross" to free the captive
Crusaders, and to restore their goods. The emperor, evidently not
knowing with whom he had to deal, returned a haughty refusal.

Then Richard, very wroth, called his men to arms, and said: "Follow me,
and we will take vengeance for the wrongs which this villainous emperor
has done to God and to us in thus unjustly keeping our pilgrims in
chains!" Without delay the forces rowed to the shore, where Isaac had
drawn up his army to oppose them.

The English archers landed first, and their arrows fell upon the enemy
"as a shower upon the grass." The doughty King Richard and his knights
then rushed in, and quickly drove the Greeks before them like a flock of
sheep. After Isaac's affrighted army had taken refuge in the mountains,
he tried to make peace, but could come to no agreement with Richard, and
fled from Limasol. The English king then stormed the town and took
possession. Here he first used his famous battle-axe, for the old rhymer
tells us:--


      "The valiant King Richard, as I understand,
      Before he departed from old England,
      Made an axe to slaughter that infidel band,
      The Saracen dogs in the Holy Land.
      The head in sooth was wondrously wrought,
      Of steel twenty pounds, the best to be bought.
      And when that he landed in Cyprus land,
      He first took this terrible axe in hand;
    And he hewed and he hewed with such direful slaughter,
    That the blood flowed around him like pools of water."

With such a valiant leader, it is small wonder that the English were
soon masters of the whole island of Cyprus. Isaac, after making a treaty
with Richard and immediately breaking it, was captured by the English
king, who bound him with silver fetters, kept him in prison, and gave
his beautiful daughter to Berengaria as an attendant.

Ere this, Richard and Berengaria had been married with pomp and ceremony
at Limasol, and crowned king and queen of Cyprus. The bride was simply
attired in a white lawn dress, but wore a splendid girdle of jewels; and
her flowing black tresses were adorned with a double crown. Richard wore
a rose-colored tunic of satin, belted with jewels. A mantle of silk
tissue, brocaded in silver crescents, fell from his shoulders, and on
his head was a scarlet brocaded cap. By his side hung a Damascus blade
in a silver-scaled sheath. Before the king was led his beautiful
Cyprian steed, Favelle, gorgeously caparisoned, and bitted with gold,
the saddle adorned with two little golden lions.

Not long after this grand ceremony, word came to Richard that Acre, a
city of Palestine long besieged by the Crusaders already in the Holy
Land, was about to surrender. Exclaiming, "Heaven grant that it be not
taken before I arrive!" Richard immediately set sail for that port.

When near Beyrout, the English fell in with a large Saracen ship, and
after a desperate but vain attempt to board the vessel, pierced its
sides with the iron beaks of their galleys. The ship sank, and its crew
were slain or drowned. Among the floating bodies that covered the sea,
were seen many deadly serpents, which the infidels "had destined to work
havoc among the Christians" besieging Acre.

Cheered by this victory, Richard and his men rejoiced still more when
the walls and citadels and the great "accursed tower" of Acre came in
sight. For long months this famous city, its walls lapped by the blue
Mediterranean, had been girt round by a vast host of Crusaders,--"men of
every Christian nation under heaven." Their camp was like an immense
city, with streets and walls, and strong fortifications, especially on
the landward side; for beyond this vast Christian camp, crowned by the
high tower from which floated the great white banner of the Crusaders,
lay a countless body of Turkish troops, swarming over the adjacent
plains and mountain-sides. Thus the besieging Christians were themselves
besieged.

The tents of the infidels were gay with colored devices and the yellow
ensigns of Islam. As Richard neared the shore, these hated emblems of
Mohammed and the famous black standard of Saladin, Sultan of the
Saracens, were plainly visible to him, and stirred him to deep wrath.
His anger burned the hotter when he recalled the stories told of the
terrible havoc wrought by these infidels on the Christian hosts
besieging the city. Night and day these fierce warriors of Saladin
swooped down on the Christian camp. Scores of bloody battles had taken
place. Almost beyond belief was the suffering that had been patiently
endured by the soldiers of the Cross. Battles, hunger, and disease had
thinned their ranks and sorely tried their souls. No wonder they hailed
with joy the arrival of that famous warrior, Richard Coeur-de-Lion,
for they believed that he would soon lead them to victory.

So amidst the din of drum and trumpet and clarion, and the deafening
shouts of exultant thousands, King Richard set foot upon the Holy Land.
And the red glare of huge bonfires and numberless torches carried the
alarming tidings to Saladin and his army.

The King of France and the many princes met Richard, and welcomed him in
a manner befitting his rank and his renown as the "most skilful warrior
among Christian men." The camp was that night a scene of rejoicing and
merriment. "Richard Coeur-de-Lion has come; Acre will soon be ours!"
was the universal cry.

But, alas! the hopes built on the arrival of Coeur-de-Lion were not
speedily realized. Richard fell ill of a fever, and could not lead the
assault. Then Philip also became sick; so that the two kings could not
lead their armies against the city at the same time. The feeling of
jealousy between them also prevented united action. When one king
undertook an assault, the other sulked in his tent. All the princes and
leaders were at this time disputing about the rival claims of Guy de
Lusignan and Conrade, Marquis of Montferrat, to the throne of the
Kingdom of Jerusalem. Philip favored the Marquis of Montferrat, but
Richard supported Guy de Lusignan. These disputes were made more bitter
by the haughty bearing of the King of England, who wished to rule in
camp and council, and treated with scant courtesy the princes who
presumed to oppose him. So discord reigned among the leaders, and
prevented the united action that might soon have reduced the city.

Nevertheless, the fighting went vigorously on. Battle after battle was
fought on the plain between the forces of Saladin and the Crusaders;
assault after assault was made by the Christians on the beleaguered
city.

Even during his illness, Richard had directed the making of
stone-casters, slings, rams, and wooden towers for assaulting the walls
of the besieged city. As soon as he was well enough, the king caused
himself to be carried near the city wall and placed under the shelter of
a kind of wooden hurdle. Seated there, he directed the movements of his
men, who were endeavoring to undermine and carry by storm a tower of the
fortifications.

As his soldiers rushed to the assault, Richard shouted that he would
give three goldpieces to every man who should detach a stone from the
tower wall. So the hope of reward, as well as the love of glory, led to
deeds of reckless daring. While some soldiers dug underground, trying to
sap the tower foundations, others plied the stone-casters and hurled
immense stones into the city,--at one time killing twenty Turks with a
single huge missile. Other bands of Christians strove to tear down or
scale the walls; while the Turks, equally valiant, strained every nerve
to hurl them back. The Christians "climbed the half-ruined battlements
as wild goats climb precipitous rocks, while the Saracens threw
themselves on the besiegers like stones unloosed from the top of a
mountain." Huge stones and Greek fire rained down on the Crusaders.

Meanwhile King Richard, weak though he was, plied his great cross-bow
vigorously and slew many Turks. One of the infidels was disporting
himself on the wall, clad in the well-known armor of Alberic Clement,--a
renowned and beloved Christian warrior, slain several days before by the
Turks, after he had fought his way into the city itself. Richard sent a
shaft through the very heart of this braggart Turk.

Now, when the tower had been almost battered down, other warriors from
the Christian camp gathered to the assault; but the watchers on the
city wall raised a cry of alarm, and all the Turkish warriors flew to
arms. Then followed a fierce hand-to-hand conflict. In spite of most
heroic efforts, the Crusaders were finally driven back. "Never," says
the Christian chronicler, "has there been such a people for prowess in
battle as these Turks."

Though wroth at this repulse, Richard continued to make frequent attacks
of the same sort, and kept his stone-casters and other engines of war
busy night and day until the defences of the city were much weakened.
The inhabitants, disheartened also by famine and other hardships,
finally sent envoys to Saladin, requesting permission to surrender the
city. After much parley about conditions, the city capitulated, and the
two Christian kings took possession. Soon the red-cross standard of the
Crusade, the oriflamme of Saint Denis, and the banner of Saint George
crowned the walls of Acre. The standard of Austria was also raised by
the Archduke Leopold; but not long did it wave. The haughty
Coeur-de-Lion flew into a rage on seeing the ensign of a mere duke
flying beside the banners of kings. With his own royal hands he tore
down the offending flag, and contemptuously ground it beneath his royal
heel. Nor did the outraged archduke dare to resent the insult, though he
cherished the memory of it in his heart, and well avenged himself at a
later day.

The kings of France and England divided the city between them. Philip
lodged himself in the splendid palace of the Templars,--a military order
of Christian knights; and Richard established his court in the royal
palace, with the two queens, Berengaria and Joan, and their ladies. Here
for some time the kings lived in luxury and splendor, while all the
Crusaders took their ease and rested from warfare.

But again quarrels arose over the kingship of Jerusalem. Finally it was
agreed among the princes that Guy de Lusignan should be recognized as
king, and the Marquis of Montferrat as his successor to the throne.
After this agreement, Philip fell sick, and actually suspected Richard
of having poisoned him. Weary of battle, exhausted by sickness, and
mortified by the knowledge that Richard's fame as a warrior far
surpassed his own, Philip resolved to return to France. As bound by
treaty, he requested the consent of the English king to his departure.

"Eternal shame on him and all France if for any cause he leave the holy
work unfinished!" cried Richard, when the messenger of Philip had
spoken. But finally he was persuaded to give a reluctant consent in
these words,--

"Well, let him go if his health require it, or if he cannot live without
seeing Paris."

So the King of France, abandoning the Crusade, gladly set sail for his
own country; but he left a large force under the Duke of Burgundy to aid
Richard in the conquest of Jerusalem.

Now, Saladin had failed to carry out the terms of the surrender of Acre.
At the time agreed upon, he had not delivered to Richard the stipulated
sum of money, the Christian captives, or the true cross, which was in
his possession. So the English king and the Duke of Burgundy led all
their Saracen prisoners outside the walls of Acre and put them to death.

After this massacre and a fierce battle with the outraged warriors of
Saladin, who in vain attempted to prevent the execution of their kinsmen
and friends before their very eyes, Richard and his army set out by way
of the coast for the city of Ascalon, the fleet accompanying them.
Saladin, frenzied with rage at the massacre before Acre, though he
himself was partly to blame, followed Richard, with vengeance in his
heart. At every favorable opportunity, the sultan attacked the
Christians and slew all who fell into his hands.

Never was there a more dreadful or fatal march. Countless arrows rained
down on the soldiers from the Turks on the mountain heights. The
scorching sun of Syria blazed upon their weary bodies by day, and deadly
tarantulas poisoned them by night. Ever and anon the Turks, mounted on
horses swifter than swallows, swooped down on the struggling ranks of
Christians and wrought bloody havoc among them, escaping vengeance by
the speed of their steeds. Thus tormented and harassed, it is little
wonder that when encamped at night, the distressed Crusaders should all
join with tears and groans and heart-felt fervor in the thrice-repeated
evening cry of the heralds: "Help us, O Holy Sepulchre!" Sorely did they
need divine help.

King Richard did all that valor and kindness could prompt for the
protection and aid of his people. He led the van and was ever in the
front of every fight, heedless of danger. In one of these battles he was
painfully wounded. In another combat that French knight, William des
Barres, who had incurred the king's displeasure at Messina,
distinguished himself so greatly by his valor that he was fully restored
to the favor and friendship of Richard. The king caused the pilgrims
who fell from exhaustion or wounds to be carried to the ships and thus
saved from death at the hands of Saladin.

When the exhausted Crusaders reached the plain of Arsur, Saladin, with a
vast host of Saracens, hemmed in and attacked the Christian army. Never
was there a more terrible battle. All day it raged, so furiously that
the old chronicler confesses that "in the stress and bitter peril of
that day, there was not one who did not wish himself safe at home with
his pilgrimage finished." At one time the Hospitallers who were
defending the rear, and who had been forbidden by Richard to charge the
enemy, were so harassed by the Turks that they sent and besought the
king's permission to attack the Saracens. But he forbade the move,
commanding them to close their lines and wait in patience. Finally these
tormented knights, stuck full of arrows, beaten with mallets, pierced by
lances, crushed by maces, became frenzied with rage and shame at their
inaction. They cried aloud, "Alas! we shall be convicted of cowardly
sloth and disgraced forevermore!" Then, suddenly, exasperated beyond
endurance, they faced about, and with a loud shout, "Holy Sepulchre aid
us!" charged furiously into the midst of the infidels. Hundreds they
slew, but their disobedient act threw the entire army into confusion.

Coeur-de-Lion, seeing this, put spurs to Favelle and galloped into the
ranks of the Hospitallers. Then he bore down upon the Turks, "thundering
against them, and mightily astonishing them by the blows that he dealt."
Right and left they fell. Pressing on furiously and alone, Richard cut a
wide path for himself through the Turkish ranks, brandishing his sword
and mowing them down like grass before the sickle. For half a mile the
ground was strewn with the bodies of those who dared to oppose the
irresistible warrior. At last the terrified Turks fled in every
direction before the attack of Richard. In vain Saladin strove to rally
the Saracens. In vain his brazen kettle-drums and trumpets called to the
flying infidels. The battle was lost, and the defeated sultan sadly
retreated before the exultant Christians.

After this famous victory, Richard marched to Jaffa, where the army
encamped in a fair olive orchard, and there abode some time in peace and
plenty. Richard sailed to Acre, where he stirred up slothful pilgrims
and entreated them to join his army at Jaffa for the march to Jerusalem.
On his return, he brought with him Queen Berengaria and Joan. While
waiting for recruits to the army, Richard occupied his time in
excursions around Jaffa, and met with many romantic adventures.

One day he rode out with his falcons and a few knights to hunt, and also
to spy on the Turks. When tired out by the chase, he lay down in the
shade and fell asleep. Some Turks, hearing that he was thus off guard,
rode swiftly up, hoping to take the dreaded king prisoner. Richard and
his knights, roused by the noise of the hoof-beats, had barely time to
mount their horses when the Turks were upon them. Coeur-de-Lion and
his comrades met the attack fiercely; and the Turks, making a pretence
of flight, drew the little band into an ambush, where it was surrounded
by a great number of the infidels. Richard, in spite of his prowess,
would certainly have been taken prisoner, had not one of his comrades,
William de Préaux, called out, "I am the king; save my life!" The
Saracens, knowing no better, quickly seized the generous knight and
galloped off, thinking they had captured King Richard. The king, thus
saved, returned to his camp, where he found the army in great distress
over his reported capture.

Every effort was made to rescue William de Préaux, but in vain, and
there was universal sorrow for the knight who had purchased the safety
of the king by the sacrifice of his own freedom and the risk of his own
life. "O fealty worthy of all renown! O rare devotion! that a man should
willingly subject himself to danger to save another!" exclaims the
chronicler. Surely there must have been much that was fine and lovable
in the character of a king who called forth such rare devotion in a
follower,--one who was not a vassal of his own.

As soon as possible, the grateful Richard ransomed his friend by
exchanging ten noble Turkish captives for the brave French knight.

The king's friends now tried to persuade him to be more prudent and not
to expose himself so rashly to danger. But Coeur-de-Lion delighted in
danger, rejoiced to be first in onset and last in retreat. He loved to
make the most perilous sallies against the Turks with but a few of his
followers, and whether "by reason of his valor or the divine aid," he
usually succeeded in capturing or slaying the infidels.

Meanwhile Richard was in communication with Saladin, trying to persuade
the sultan to deliver Jerusalem to the Christians. Saladin steadfastly
refused to surrender the city, but the two kings became friendly, and
frequently sent each other rich gifts. Though they had a sincere
admiration for each other, strange to relate, these warring kings never
met. Though often opposed in battle, a meeting did not take place on any
field; perhaps because Saladin, though personally brave, did not
consider it the province of a king to fight in person, as did Richard.
This Saracen sultan was a wise, just, and humane ruler,--a most
admirable character, and much loved throughout his vast empire, an
empire stretching from the Nile to the Tigris.

His brother Saphadin (Saf-ad-Din), a famous warrior, came often to visit
Richard, who became very fond of him. The English king proposed to
Saladin that Saphadin should marry Queen Joan, and the two be made
sovereigns of Jerusalem. But this projected union of heathen and
Christian was detestable to both nations, and the plan served only to
bring reproach on Richard, who was much blamed for his friendly dealings
with the unbelievers. All negotiations with Saladin came to nothing, and
Richard finally marched on toward Jerusalem, which had meanwhile been
strongly fortified by the sultan. When the army had reached Bêit-Nuba,
about twelve miles from the Holy City, a council of the chief men
decided that it would be neither prudent to besiege Jerusalem at that
time nor possible to take it. The army was smitten with grief at this
decision, and it was a sad host that marched back to Ascalon.

This city had been destroyed by Saladin, and the English king thought it
necessary to rebuild the town as a base of supplies for his army when
the siege of Jerusalem should be undertaken. Richard and his nobles
worked with their own hands at rebuilding the walls. But many of the
French, unwilling to labor thus in menial fashion, left the army and
went off to Acre. Leopold, Archduke of Austria, refused to join in the
labor, and when reproached by Richard, replied sulkily, "I am not the
son of a mason." Richard, justly incensed, abused him in no gentle
terms, and even went so far as to strike the titled shirker. Whereupon
the archduke straightway left the camp and hied him back to his own
country.

Other bitter disputes broke out among the chiefs, and actual fighting
took place between the troops of different countries. Conrade of
Montferrat and Richard fell out again, and the marquis left the camp and
entered into a secret treaty with Saladin, who agreed to aid him in his
schemes of conquest.

Now, Richard, hearing that his brother John was conspiring against him,
thought at first that he must return to England. It was necessary to
have a leader in Richard's stead, and the council of chiefs elected
Conrade to be chief of the armies, and also declared him King of
Jerusalem. Richard consented to this choice, though he had no love for
Conrade. But shortly afterwards, ere the coronation could take place,
the marquis was murdered in the streets of Tyre. It is most probable
that he fell a victim to the hatred of "The Old Man of the Mountains."
This mysterious and dreaded personage was Sinan, the chief of a strange
and fanatical sect of robbers and murderers, called the Ismaelians. He
had many castles and strongholds in the mountains of Syria, and his very
name struck terror to the hearts of its inhabitants. For this Sinan held
despotic rule over his followers, and at his slightest word they were
ready to kill themselves or any one else. He was accustomed to send
these deluded disciples of his to assassinate any person who displeased
him, promising paradise to the murderers in reward for their deed.

This Sinan sent two of the assassins to murder Conrade, who had seized
goods from one of his followers. But some of the friends of the marquis
accused Richard of the infamous deed,--as if the bold King of England
would have stooped to rid himself of an enemy in that cowardly way. The
suspicion, though without any foundation, strengthened the enmity that
many of the chiefs felt for the English king, because of his
haughtiness.

When at last Richard had led them within a few leagues of Jerusalem the
second time, disputes arose about the advisability of then attacking the
Holy City. Many of the princes did not wish Richard to have the glory of
the conquest. Finally, the council of twenty knights, to which the
matter was referred, decided that the siege should not be attempted at
that time. So the order was given to retreat. It was sadly obeyed by the
soldiers, who groaned and wept at giving up their cherished hopes of
visiting the Holy Sepulchre.

One of these pilgrims, while the army was near Jerusalem, reached the
summit of a hill, and called to Richard in much excitement, "Sire, sire,
come hither and I will show you Jerusalem!" But the king, casting his
coat-of-arms before his eyes, wept as he cried out, "Fair Lord God, I
pray Thee not to let me see Thy Holy City, if so be that I may not
deliver it out of the hands of Thine enemies."

As sadly grieved as their king at thus leaving the Holy City in infidel
hands, the army marched despondently back to Jaffa, and thence to Acre,
the French and English mutually accusing each other of having been the
cause of the failure to take Jerusalem. The Duke of Burgundy vented his
spite by composing a scurrilous song about Richard, which was sung in
the French camp. The King of England, much annoyed, revenged himself in
a similar manner by writing a few stinging lines, in which he answered
these "_trumped-up scandals_ with a few plain truths" about the duke and
his other enemies. The singing of these princely satires did not add to
the harmony of the camp.

When Richard reached Acre, he began to make preparations to return to
England, for John was again conspiring to seize the throne. As the king
was about to embark, envoys came in great haste, and besought him to
come to the relief of Jaffa. They related that the town had been taken
by Saladin, and that only the citadel yet held out. The king cut short
the entreaties of the messenger by exclaiming, "God yet lives, and with
His guidance I will set out to do what I can."

The French refused to go with him, but some noble knights started to the
rescue by land, while the king and a few chosen comrades set out by
sea. When the galleys reached Jaffa, the Turks, by thousands, swarmed to
the shore, ready to destroy all who should attempt to land. The king's
friends said to him, "It will be vain to attempt a landing in the face
of so many enemies." But when a fugitive priest, leaping from the wall,
swam to the galley and told Richard that some of his fellow-Christians
were still alive and holding the citadel, Coeur-de-Lion exclaimed,--

"Then, even though it please God, in whose service I come hither, that
we should die here with our brethren, let him perish who will not go
forward with me." So saying, the king, with a shout of "Saint George!
Saint George!" leaped from his red galley into the water, with shield
hung round his neck and huge battle-axe in hand. Unheeding the countless
darts of the enemy, he gained the beach, followed by a few faithful
knights. There the redoubtable Richard actually put to flight the
thousands of Turks, dashed into the town, rescued the citadel, and drove
every infidel out of the gates of Jaffa.

The story seems incredible, but it is true.

Next day the generous Saladin, hearing that Richard had no horse,
exclaimed, "It is a disgrace that so great a king should lack a steed!"
So he sent one of his men with a charger to Richard. The king accepted
the gift and bade one of his men mount the beautiful Arabian.
Immediately the spirited steed took the bit between its teeth and
galloped back to the Saracen camp. "Right shamefaced was Saladin when
the horse returned," for he knew that some would suspect him of trying
to entrap Richard. He sent another horse to the king, and many apologies
for the bad behavior of the first. Richard, incapable of treachery
himself, had no suspicion of Saladin's good faith. He thanked the
messenger, and to show his confidence in the sultan, at once mounted and
rode the horse.

A few days afterwards, a large body of Turks unexpectedly attacked
Richard, who was encamped outside the walls of Jaffa with only fifteen
knights and a few thousand foot-soldiers. It was early morning, and a
soldier flew to Richard's tent, crying, "O king, we are dead men!"

"Silence," ordered the suddenly aroused king, "or I will kill you!"
Richard and his knights, throwing on their armor, mounted their horses
amid a shower of arrows from the Saracens. Hurriedly the king posted his
men to receive the attack. While doing this, he exhorted them to courage
with many brave words.

"Hold out stubbornly," he cried. "It is the duty of brave men to
triumph bravely or to die gloriously! Death threatens, but if it come,
let us receive martyrdom with a thankful mind. But before we die we will
take vengeance, and yield God thanks for granting us the martyr's death!
This is the true reward of our toils,--the end at once of life and
battles!"

Then this heroic Richard, grasping his lance, rode _alone_ across the
whole front of the enemies' lines, defying them to combat; and not one
dared to do battle with him single-handed. But they set his armor as
thick with javelins as "a hedgehog with bristles," and his horse was
soon covered with innumerable arrows sticking to its harness. The Turks,
charging the little band of Christians, fought with desperate bravery.
They made many attempts to slay Richard, ever pressing on by scores
toward his lion-emblazoned banner. But the "incredible valor" and
strength of the king not only preserved his own life, but won the
battle. After hours of conflict, Richard put the Turks to flight.

Now, these Saracens had boasted to Saladin that they would bring him the
captured King of England. After the battle, when they had fled before
Richard, the sultan mockingly inquired of these warriors,--

"Where are those who are bringing me Melek (King) Richard as my
prisoner? Who was first to seize him? Where is he, I say, and why is he
not brought before me?"

The shamefaced Turks were silent at this mockery, until one plucked up
the courage to reply thus:--

"Know, O king, for a surety, that this Melek of whom you speak is not
like other men. Truly, we tried hard to capture him, but all in vain,
for no one can bear the brunt of his sword unharmed; his onset is
terrible, and it is death to encounter him. His deeds are more than
human."

Though unharmed in this battle, as in so many others, the heroic Richard
was soon after laid low by an attack of fever. He grew steadily worse,
and despairing of recovery in the unwholesome air of Jaffa, determined
to leave the city. But the other chiefs refused to try to hold the town
if he should depart. So Richard, not able to fight, was compelled to
make a truce of three years with Saladin. The conditions were that
Ascalon should be abandoned, and Jaffa remain in the possession of the
Christians, who were also to be allowed free access to Jerusalem and the
Holy Sepulchre without payment, and without hindrance from the
infidels.

When this treaty had been concluded, and Richard had recovered, he held
a magnificent tournament at Acre, in celebration of peace. This festival
was attended by many Turks, as well as by Christian knights.

His preparations having been completed, Richard set sail from Acre in
October, 1192, having sent the queens ahead in another vessel. As the
shore of Palestine faded from his sight, Richard prayed: "O Holy Land,
to God I commend thee. May He of his mercy only grant me such space of
life that by His good-will I may yet bring thee aid. For it is my hope
and intention to bring thee aid at some future day!"

Long did the memory of the king thus bidding farewell to the Holy Land
linger in the memory of its people. A hundred years afterwards, the
Saracen mother frightened her child into silence by the words, "Hush,
King Richard is coming!" And if a horse started aside, the rider would
cry, "What! is the King of England in front of thee?"

Perils of battle and sickness had been escaped, but greater dangers were
in store for the returning Crusader. After being tempest-tossed for
weeks, the vessel of Richard was wrecked on the Adriatic coast. Knowing
that the Archduke of Austria had good reason to hate him, Richard tried
to make his way through that country in the disguise of a Templar.

After many adventures, he stopped at an inn near Vienna, and sent his
only attendant, a young boy, to the market to buy provisions. The youth,
in paying, displayed so much money and bore himself so haughtily that he
was arrested. But on telling the magistrate that he was the servant of a
rich merchant, who would not arrive in the city until three days later,
the boy was set free. Returning secretly to the king's retreat, the
youth told of his misadventure, and begged the king to flee. But the
rash Richard, weary and exhausted, decided to risk remaining a few days
longer.

The lad, while visiting the market again, was imprudent enough to carry
under his belt the fine embroidered gloves of his master. Knowing these
gloves could not belong to a merchant, the suspicious magistrates seized
the boy again, and after torturing him, threatened to cut out his tongue
unless he revealed his master's name. On learning the truth from the
frightened lad, they informed the archduke, who sent soldiers to
surround the inn. When the troopers questioned the landlord, he said:--

"There is no one here except a poor Templar, who is now in the kitchen
turning the spit for the cook." Going into the kitchen, the soldiers saw
the Templar sitting before the fire, industriously turning a fowl on the
spit. But one of the soldiers who had been in the Holy Land knew
Richard, and he shouted, "That is the king; seize him!" Richard sprang
up, and using the spit for a weapon, defended himself valiantly; but he
was overcome by numbers, and carried prisoner to the castle of
Tyernstern. There for months he was kept a close prisoner, loaded with
chains. The archduke then gave him up to the German emperor, who
imprisoned him at Trifels.

For a long time no one except his jailers knew where the King of England
was. Berengaria, who had seen a jeweled belt of Richard's on sale at
Rome, knew that some misfortune had happened to him, and she and his
mother, Eleanor, were wild with anxiety.

[Illustration: "There for months he was kept a close prisoner, loaded
with chains"]

Finally, Blondel de Nesle, the minstrel friend, who had been with
Richard on the Crusade, journeyed through Germany, looking for his lost
king. One day, beneath the walls of a castle where he had heard that a
prisoner of rank was held captive, Blondel halted and sang a verse of
a song that he and Richard had composed together:--

    "Your beauty, ladye faire,
    None views without delight,
    But still so cold an air
    No passion can excite;
    Yet this I patient see,
    While _all_ are shunned like me."

Instantly the king's well-known voice took up the strain and sang the
next stanza:--

    "No nymph my heart can wound
    If favor she divide
    And smile on all around,
    Unwilling to decide;
    I'd rather hatred bear,
    Than love with others share!"

Then the overjoyed Blondel hastened back to England, and told the queen
and people of Richard's sad plight and his place of imprisonment.

Berengaria and Eleanor immediately besought the emperor to release
Richard, and also implored the intercession of the Pope and the
sovereigns of Europe. The emperor was at last compelled to bring Richard
before the council of the empire. To these princes and lords he accused
the king of many crimes, among them the murder of Conrade. Richard
defended himself with so much force and eloquence that these groundless
charges were dropped; but the emperor still refused to liberate his
prisoner, except upon payment of a ransom of one hundred and fifty
thousand marks,--nearly a million dollars.

The people of England, who loved their heroic king, gladly raised this
large sum; and in 1194, Eleanor journeyed to Germany, paid the ransom,
and had the happiness of seeing her son set at liberty. She accompanied
her beloved Richard to England, where he was received most joyfully.
After being crowned again in Westminster, the king made a royal progress
through the kingdom. Those nobles who had joined in the rebellion of
John were called to account; but on profession of repentance, all were
generously pardoned. Richard then set out for Normandy to subdue John,
who had fled to that country on receiving King Philip's warning message
after Richard's release, "Look to yourself; the Devil is unchained."

But the craven John dared not battle against Coeur-de-Lion. He came to
meet Richard, and, falling at his feet, implored pardon. The king,
stretching out his hand to the penitent, said,--

"Arise, John, I forgive thee; and may I forget thy misdeeds as quickly
as thou wilt my pardon."

Now, Richard fell in with evil companions in Anjou and lived a very
dissipated life. But at length some good priests moved him to
repentance, and he forsook his evil ways and joined his good Queen
Berengaria, whom he had not seen since his release, though she was at
Poictiers. Berengaria readily forgave his neglect, and, if we may
believe a friendly chronicler, Richard was ever afterwards faithful and
kind to her.

The ill-will that had always existed between Richard and the King of
France now led to constant petty wars between them. To secure his Norman
province, Richard built on its border a splendid fortress, which he
called his Château Gaillard,--"Saucy Castle." Amazed and enraged at the
wonderful strength of this stronghold, perched on a rocky mount five
hundred feet high, the French king exclaimed,--

"I would take it if its walls were of iron!"

Richard, with all of his old insolence, retorted, "And I would hold it,
were its walls of butter!"

But the final struggle that both kings were planning never took place.

Richard, who was in much need of money for his army, heard that a
vassal of his had found a hidden treasure of great value, including
twelve gold knights seated around a golden table. This Vidomar, Lord of
Chaluz, when Richard demanded that, according to law, he share the
treasure with his lord the king, replied that nothing had been found
except a pot of ancient coins. The king did not believe this story, and
set siege to the castle of Chaluz, determined to obtain the golden
knights. There Richard was struck down by an arrow from the bow of
Bertrand de Gourdan, a nobleman of Poictiers. The wound proved to be a
mortal one. The king, when assured that he was dying, sent for Bertrand,
for the castle had meanwhile been taken and the knight captured.

"Wretch," said the dying king, "what have I done to thee that thou
shouldst attempt my life?"

"Thou hast had my father and two brothers put to death, and hast
threatened to slay me," replied the undaunted youth. The prostrate king,
looking at him in silence a moment, said,--

"I forgive thee." Then turning to his captain, Richard added, "Let his
chains be removed, set him free, and give him a hundred shillings."

This act of noble forgiveness was the last deed of the erring but
great-hearted king.

The death so often defied on the battlefield, Richard met calmly, with
the courage that had never failed him in life,--that splendid courage
which won for him the heroic title of Lionheart.



RICHARD'S LAMENT


    No captive knight, whom chains confine,
    Can tell his fate and not repine;
    Yet with a song he cheers the gloom
    That hangs around his living tomb.
    Shame to his friends!--the king remains
    Two years unransomed and in chains.

    Now let them know, my brave barons,
    My English, Normans, and Gascons,
    Not one liege-man so poor have I,
    That I would not his freedom buy.
    I'll not reproach their noble line,
    Though chains and dungeon still are mine.

    The dead,--nor friends nor kin have they!
    Nor friends nor kin my ransom pay!
    My wrongs afflict me--yet far more
    For faithless friends my heart is sore.
    Oh, what a blot upon their name,
    If I should perish thus in shame!

    Nor is it strange I suffer pain
    When sacred oaths are thus made vain,
    And when the king with bloody hands
    Spreads war and pillage through my lands.
    One only solace now remains--
    I soon shall burst these servile chains.

    Ye troubadours and friends of mine,
    Brave Chail and noble Pensauvine,
    Go tell my rivals, in your song,
    This heart hath never done them wrong.
    He infamy--not glory--gains,
    Who strikes a monarch in his chains!

    _Written by Richard I. while prisoner in Germany._

    (_From_ SPOFFORD'S _Library of Historic
    Character and Famous Events_.)



THE LAST CRUSADER


    Slowly The Last Crusader eyed
    The towers, the mount, the stream, the plain,
    And thought of those whose blood had dyed
    The earth with crimson streams in vain!

    He thought of that sublime array,
    The hosts, that over land and deep
    The hermit marshall'd on their way,
    To see those towers, and halt to weep!

    Resign'd the loved, familiar lands,
    O'er burning wastes the cross to bear,
    And rescue from the Paynim's hands
    No empire save a sepulchre!

    And vain the hope, and vain the loss,
    And vain the famine and the strife;
    In vain the faith that bore the cross,
    The valour prodigal of life.

    And vain was Richard's lion-soul,
    And guileless Godfrey's patient mind--
    Like waves on shore, they reach'd the goal,
    To die, and leave no trace behind!

    "O God!" The Last Crusader cried,
    "And art Thou careless of Thine own?
    For us Thy Son in Salem died,
    And Salem is the scoffer's throne!

    "And shall we leave, from age to age,
    To godless hands the holy tomb?
    Against Thy saints the heathen rage--
    Launch forth Thy lightnings, and consume!"

    Swift as he spoke, before his sight
    A form flashed, white-robed, from above;
    All Heaven was in those looks of light,
    But Heaven, whose native air is love.

    "Alas!" the solemn vision said,
    "_Thy_ God is of the shield and spear--
    To bless the quick and raise the dead,
    The Saviour-God descended here!

    "Ah! know'st thou not the very name
    Of Salem bids thy carnage cease--
    A symbol in itself to claim
    God's people to a house of peace!

    "Ask not the Father to reward
    The hearts that seek, through blood, the Son;
    O warrior! never by the sword
    The Saviour's Holy Land is won."

    EDWARD BULWER LYTTON


    Deep is the bliss of the belted knight,
    When he kisses at dawn the silken glove,
    And goes, in his glittering armour dight,
    To shiver a lance for his ladye-love!

    Lightly he couches the beaming spear;
    His mistress sits with her maidens by,
    Watching the speed of his swift career
    With a whispered prayer, and a murmured sigh.

    WINTHROP MACKWORTH PRAED



THE CHEVALIER BAYARD

   "_The Adopted Son of Dame Courtesy_"
   _and_
   "_Le Chevalier sans Peur et sans Reproche._"


"Bayard was perhaps the only hero of the middle ages who deserved the
unmingled praise and admiration bestowed upon him. Simple, modest, a
sterling friend and tender lover, pious, humane, and magnanimous, he
held together in rare symmetrical union the whole circle of the
virtues."



THE CHEVALIER BAYARD

PIERRE BAYARD DE TERRAIL (1476-1523 A. D.)


In the reign of Louis XI. there was born in southern France a little
dark-eyed boy who was destined to be known in all subsequent ages and in
all climes as "the knight without fear and without reproach." Pierre
Bayard de Terrail was his real name, but in song and story and history
we know him as "The Chevalier Bayard."

Bayard was of gentle birth, and had the good fortune to be descended
from a long line of valiant gentlemen who ever held king and country
dearer than self, and honor a thing to die for. He also had a good and
pious mother. If to his knightly forefathers he owed his fearlessness,
it is an everlasting monument to his mother's influence that he lived
without reproach.

He first saw the light in the beautiful Château Bayard, in Dauphiny.
Here he spent his boyhood much as other little boys of his time spent
theirs, and soon developed into a sturdy youth.

When Bayard attained his fourteenth year, his father, then nearing
death, called his children around him, and asked each what profession he
wished to choose. The eldest boy spoke first, and said that he preferred
to remain on his father's estates, leading the life of a quiet country
gentleman. But the young Pierre was more ambitious. When it came his
turn to speak, he told his father that there was nothing he so much
desired as to become a soldier and a knight, and to win glory and honor
to the name already made illustrious by his noble ancestors.

His father was much pleased with Pierre's choice, and answered,--

"My son, thou art already very like thy noble grandfather, and I am
rejoiced that thou shouldst choose to follow in his footsteps. I shall
try immediately to place thee as page in the house of some prince, where
thou canst be in training for knighthood."

The father lost no time in fulfilling his promise. The very next day he
sent for his brother-in-law, the Bishop of Grenoble, to ask his advice
about Pierre.

The good bishop came, attended by many noble knights, and a great
banquet was prepared in his honor.

Now, in days of chivalry, a boy's dress and manners were considered of
no slight importance. Indeed, most of his early training was especially
designed to give him ease and grace in the company of great ladies and
gentlemen. As may be easily imagined, the little Pierre's education had
not been neglected. He did not fail to array himself in a manner
befitting the occasion; and at the banquet he served his father's guests
with so much modesty and grace that he drew forth praise from all the
company.

The gratified father then told them of Pierre's ambition to become a
knight, and asked their advice about his education.

Each gave his friendly counsel, and then the Bishop of Grenoble said,--

"Brother, the good Duke of Savoy, who hath ever been friendly to our
house, will be at Chambéry to-morrow; and if it please thee, I will ride
thither with my nephew and present him as page to his Grace. I will also
take pleasure in equipping the lad properly, so be at no expense."

Amid the applause of the company, Aymond Terrail presented his son to
the good bishop, and said with tears in his eyes,--

"I give him into thy hands, and pray God that wherever thou place him,
he may do thee honor."

The bishop, true to his promise, provided his nephew with an outfit, and
gave him a well-caparisoned horse. Then they made ready to go to
Chambéry to meet the Duke of Savoy.

It was with no little interest that the bishop and his friends watched
the young page mount his new steed, for it was a mettlesome one, and
used only to a man's weight. When Pierre bounded into the saddle, the
horse reared and plunged; but the boy kept his seat, and soon, with the
aid of bit and spur, had the animal under complete control. The guests
praised him greatly, and his father asked him if he felt no fear.

"I hope," answered the young Pierre, "by God's help, to manage my horse
among the enemies of the prince I am going to serve."

Then he bade farewell to father and mother and to home and childhood,
and went forth to enter upon a chivalric career.

Arrived at Chambéry, the bishop and his company were graciously received
by the Duke of Savoy. The duke maintained a brilliant court, and was
always the faithful ally of France. He invited the uncle and nephew to
dine with him, and again Pierre's graceful manners commended him to the
notice of his elders. The duke was gracious enough to notice him
especially, and asked who the boy was.

"Sir," said the bishop, "it is my nephew, Pierre de Terrail, whom I have
brought to present to thee if thou shouldst like to have his services."

"I accept him at once," answered the duke. "I should indeed be hard to
please if I declined such a gift."

So it was that Pierre became attached to the household of Savoy. He
remained in the duke's service for some time, and easily surpassed his
fellow pages in all the knightly exercises in which they were being
trained. Yet with all his prowess he was so modest and so manly that he
excited no envy among his companions, and the duke and duchess came to
love him as if he were their own son.

Pierre's chivalric traits won to him the hearts of his fellows and his
patrons; but it was perhaps his personal beauty and his charm of manner
that went furthest toward winning him yet another love--a love that he
valued more than all others. There was in the train of the good duchess
a little maid of honor, whose heart soon went out to the handsome youth.
At service in the same palace, the two saw much of each other, and soon
Pierre had no eyes for any maid but this one.

The little coquette did not fail to make Pierre quite miserable by
repelling his attentions for a time, when she saw that she had won him;
but at length, one day, while not in waiting on her mistress, she was
captured by the little page, and made to listen to the story of his
love.

"I am going to make myself a great knight some day," he declared with
the pride and faith of youth, "and then I am coming back for thee, and
we shall be married."

"Alas," cried the damsel, now quite as earnest as he, "thou art of an
illustrious house, and canst marry some great lady who can advance thee
in the world. I am but a poor maid, and if I accept thy love, I destroy
thy hopes."

"What care I for that?" cried the impatient lover. "The question is,
dost thou _love_ me."

"Yes," she whispered.

"Then I shall not give thee up," he declared, "and I shall tell the
duchess all about it."

The maid was more worldly wise than he, however, and insisted that for
the time they should be only friends. Shortly after this a change took
place in Pierre's affairs,--a change which was to separate him for years
from the maid he loved.

The young page had been with the house of Savoy only six months when it
pleased the duke to pay a visit to King Charles VIII. of France. The
king had moved his court to Lyons--a beautiful city in southeastern
France--and was holding high revel there. When Charles heard of the
approach of his friend and ally, the Duke of Savoy, he sent the Count of
Ligny with a number of attendants to meet him. These met the duke at a
place about two leagues from Lyons, and welcomed him heartily in the
name of the King of France.

Now Pierre was in close attendance on his master, and the Count of Ligny
at once noticed him and remarked to the duke on his good horsemanship.

The duke, much pleased, explained who the boy was, and then called out
to him,--

"Spur, Bayard, spur!"

Without waiting for explanations, Bayard obeyed his master, returning
from his run with his horse completely under control. Afterwards,
Pierre's fine horsemanship won for him the nickname "Piquet"--a spur.

The count was surprised and charmed, and told the duke that the King of
France would be glad to have the boy in his service.

Through the influence of Ligny, the youth was brought to the notice of
King Charles; and the king was so charmed with his manners and his
horsemanship that he at once persuaded the Duke of Savoy to permit the
boy to be transferred to the royal service.

The good duke granted the king's request, for he knew it would be a
great advancement for the lad; and Pierre was placed under the Count of
Ligny for training.

Though Pierre loved the Duke of Savoy, he was very glad of this change
in his own fortunes; for he had all the romantic devotion to king and
country that chivalry was wont to implant in the hearts of men, and he
was first, last, and always a true Frenchman.

The next several years of Pierre's life were spent in service as page to
Ligny; after which the count made him a man-at-arms in his own company
and a gentleman of his household. This meant that the page, Pierre, had
become a knight, and was thenceforth to be known as "the Chevalier
Bayard."

Bayard's first exploit as a knight was to challenge and meet in
tournament the invincible Lord of Vaudray. The young chevalier was then
only seventeen years of age, and was weak and delicate in appearance,
while his opponent was reckoned one of the most powerful knights of the
time.

When the combatants entered the lists, it was easy to be seen that the
yellow-haired, black-eyed knight of seventeen was the one on whom every
lady's glance was bent. Men watched him too, but not on account of his
good looks; they had laughed at him scornfully when he presumed to
strike in challenge the shield of the celebrated Vaudray, and they now
looked to see him ignobly defeated.

To the astonishment of all, however, Bayard won the day. The men said
that he was too bold for one so young; but "the ladies praised him
enthusiastically," and the king exclaimed to Ligny,--

"By my faith, cousin, he hath given us to-day a foretaste of what he
will be as a man!"

The next several years of the young knight's life were spent in training
for the stern services of war. He failed in nothing that he conceived it
his duty to perform, and he neglected nothing that he felt would tend
to his own development, for he bore always in his heart the admonition
of the king he so reverenced: "Piquet, my friend, may God develop in
thee that fearless manhood which thy noble youth so graciously
promises."

At this time Italy was not under one government, but was separated into
six great divisions--the Duchy of Milan, the Kingdom of Naples, the
Kingdom of Piedmont, the Republics of Venice and Florence, and the Papal
States. There were also several petty states which were always more or
less dependent on some one of the greater powers. Unfortunately for
themselves, there was little sympathy or unity among the Italian States;
and the nations around were constantly stirring up strife between them,
or invading the peninsula for the sake of conquest. So it was that for a
long time Italy was the field on which the contests of Europe were
waged.

It was during this period--when the French, the Spanish, the Germans,
and the Italian States were variously pitted against one another, and
variously allied--that Bayard made his name forever an emblem of
chivalry. In those days "king" stood for "country" in the mind of the
loyal knight; and in following his king on whatever fantastic campaign,
Bayard believed that he was only performing his sacred duty to his
beloved France.

He served successively under three sovereigns--Charles VIII., Louis
XII., and Francis I.,--and distinguished himself in Italy, Spain, and
France, holding his own against Italian, Spaniard, German, and Briton
alike.

"I hope one day to be worthy the name of soldier," was the chevalier's
modest, yet truly exalted, ambition; and he proved unquestionably his
right to the title in his very first campaign. Bayard's first service
was with Charles VIII., when that king invaded Italy and conquered the
Kingdom of Naples.

The young chevalier, though then only eighteen years of age, and slender
and boyish in appearance, soon became the admiration of even old and
experienced warriors. Wherever there was hottest fighting--wherever
there was greatest danger--there was this black-eyed, fair-haired youth.
And there was hardly an engagement with the enemy which was not
signalized by some brilliant feat of the young knight's.

After conquering the Kingdom of Naples and leaving there the larger part
of the French army to maintain his sovereignty, King Charles returned
to France at the head of only a small force. But his exodus from Italy
was not so easy as his invasion into that country had been. The Pope,
the Doge of Venice, the Duke of Milan, and other Italian princes, had
formed a league against the ambitious Charles, and had gathered a large
army in northern Italy to cut off his return to France.

As King Charles advanced to within a few miles of Fornovo, the allies
unexpectedly descended on him with a force six times as great as his
own, and a bloody battle ensued. The plan of the allies was to destroy
the French army and take King Charles prisoner. So anxious were they to
make the king their captive that they offered a prize of a hundred
thousand ducats to the man who would bring him, dead or alive, to their
camp.

But the annihilation of the French army and the capture of King Charles
were not such light tasks as the allies had expected. The little band
met their all but overwhelming onset with a stubborn resistance that was
wonderful to behold. By charge and counter-charge the field was
contested, and victory still hung in the balance when suddenly out of
the French ranks rode a fair-haired boy knight, calling on his company
to follow him. Instantly his men caught the infection of his wild
daring, and in the face of almost certain death they swept to the charge
with the dashing Bayard.

"A greyhound for attack, and a wild boar in defence," Bayard fell upon
the enemies of his king with such splendid courage that none whom he met
could withstand his prowess.

Two horses were killed under him, but he mounted a third, and, dashing
alone into the thickest of the fight, captured an ensign from fifty
men-at-arms.

Thanks to the valor of such knights as Bayard, the French gained a
signal victory, laying low in the dust full as many men as King Charles
had led to Fornovo.

After several more encounters with the allies, in which Bayard won added
laurels, the king led his much-diminished army back to France.

Shortly after this campaign Charles VIII. died, and was succeeded on the
throne by Louis XII.

The new king busied himself with the internal affairs of state; and
Bayard, whose business was that of a soldier merely, was for awhile left
free to do as he chose. He accordingly occupied the time in visiting
friends in Savoy. The good Duke of Savoy was now dead; but the duchess
received the chevalier at her court with her oldtime friendliness.

Here for a second time Bayard met the love of his boyhood. But alas for
him! she had become the wife of the Lord of Fluxas.

When the two met, the lady received Bayard with every sign of
friendship. She praised him greatly for the noble part he had borne in
the king's service--for all France had heard of the chevalier's great
deeds in Italy--and then they talked over their youthful love-affair.

In the course of his stay, the Lady Fluxas asked Bayard to give a
tournament, for she very much wished to see him engage in some of the
knightly exercises in which he had become distinguished.

The chevalier was delighted to comply with her request, and promised
that the tournament should be arranged to take place in a very short
while; then, kissing the hand of his fair sponsor, he asked for one of
her sleeves. When the lady gave him the favor he treasured it carefully,
intending that it should be the victor's prize in the coming joust.

The tournament was held in good time, some fifteen gallant gentlemen
taking part and acquitting themselves much to the satisfaction of the
lady for whose amusement the entertainment had been devised.

When the trial at arms was ended, the duchess bade the Lord of Fluxas
invite the combatants and the judges and a number of ladies to sup with
her. According to her wishes, the judges reserved their decision until
the guests were gathered about the table that evening.

As every one expected, the prize was awarded to Bayard. The chevalier
blushed and declined to take it, saying further that the lady who had
provided the sleeve should be the one to bestow it.

As the giver of the tournament, Bayard was, in a sense, the host of
those who accepted the challenge; and it was very like his extreme
courteousness to decline to carry off the prize from them, however much
he may have wished in his heart to possess this particular lady's favor.

Lady Fluxas, thus called upon to make the decision, paused a moment,
then said she would keep the sleeve herself "for the sake of the
victor." She then gave a beautiful ruby pendant to the Lord of
Mondragon, who, next to Bayard, had been the most successful in the
combat.

However much the chevalier's heart may have inclined him to linger near
the home of the lady he still loved, his stern sense of duty soon
summoned him away. News had come to King Louis that the people of Milan,
who owed fealty to the French king, had revolted, and made Ludovic
Sforza their duke.

On hearing this, the king at once despatched the Count of Ligny with a
large force to besiege the disloyal city. Bayard, as a member of Ligny's
company, went of course with his commander.

The French had been encamped before Milan for some time, when one day
Bayard learned from a spy that three hundred horse of the Milanese were
at the little town of Binasco; and, always on the lookout for a skirmish
with the enemy, he persuaded about fifty of his companions to join him
in a descent upon that town. They set off early the next morning, but
the Milanese learned of the intended surprise, and were ready for them.

With the cry, "France! France!" the chevalier and his companions flung
themselves upon the whole three hundred; but the Milanese were no
cowards, and for one hour they withstood even the firebrand impetuosity
of Bayard himself. They were not many who could stand so long before
Bayard. At length the knight, impatient at this stubborn resistance,
cried out to his fellows--

"What, my comrades! shall we let these few keep us fighting all day?
Courage! Let us multiply our strokes and give wings to their feet!"

At the sound of his deep voice the French rushed to the attack again,
and with such enthusiasm that the enemy wavered--fell back--then fled,
pell-mell, toward Milan. The victors followed in hot pursuit, with the
peerless knight far in the lead.

The fugitives reached Milan scarcely ahead of their pursuers, and
thundered in through the gate. One of the leaders of the French, seeing
the danger into which he and his companions were rushing, cried out just
in time,--

"Turn, men-at-arms, turn!"

The order was obeyed by all except Bayard, who had ears for nothing but
his own battle-cry, and eyes only for the enemy. Right into the heart
of the city, nay, up to the very steps of the duke's palace, he chased
the flying Milanese; then he suddenly found himself surrounded by an
angry populace, who, when they saw the white crosses of France upon him,
cried,--

"Seize him! Seize him!"

He was soon disarmed and taken prisoner by the commander he had just
pursued from Binasco. When Cazache--for such was the Milanese captain's
name--got his enemy thus in his power, he did not, as might be supposed,
wreak any petty vengeance on the head of the chevalier. He treated
Bayard as a soldier and a gentleman, and by so doing evinced a
chivalrous spirit close akin to the chevalier's own.

Ludovic, Duke of Milan, hearing the uproar before the palace, asked the
cause thereof, and was soon told that the Milanese at Binasco had been
defeated, and that a young chevalier had pursued Cazache and his company
to the very palace door.

"By my sword, but I'd like to see this daring Frenchman!" roared the
duke. "Captain, fetch the prisoner hither."

Cazache obeyed in fear and trembling for his captive. The captain--a
generous-hearted fellow--had conceived a deep admiration for Bayard, and
he feared for the chevalier's head; for Duke Ludovic was of a most
uncertain temperament.

When, however, he ushered the knight before the duke, Cazache realized
that his fears were groundless. Instead of flying into a fury, as he
too often did, Ludovic surveyed the handsome figure of the captive and
said, not unkindly,

"My brave young gentleman, come hither and tell me what brought thee to
Milan."

Bayard was used to surprises, and answered frankly--

"I came in the footsteps of some of thy men for a little adventure. I
did not know that I was alone, for I thought my comrades were close
behind me. They are wiser in the ways of war than I, or they too would
have been captured. In the mean time, I thank God that I have fallen
into such good hands; and I do assure thee that if anything could make
captivity pleasant to me, it would be such treatment as I have received
from this good captain."

The duke smiled kindly, and then asked him the number in the French
army.

"Sir," replied the knight, truthfully, "there are not more than fourteen
or fifteen hundred men-at-arms, and from sixteen to eighteen thousand
foot-soldiers; but they are all picked men, and are resolved to win back
the Duchy of Milan to the king, their master. As for thee, sir, let me
warn thee that thou wilt be safer in Germany than in this city."

Instead of being incensed by Bayard's frankness, Ludovic answered him in
the same friendly strain, and assured him that there was nothing he so
much desired as an encounter between his own and the king's troops.
Bayard replied that such an event would be a great pleasure to himself
also, provided he were not in prison.

"Do not let that trouble thee," replied the duke, "for I intend to set
thee free. If there is anything else thou desirest of me, thou hast only
to ask it."

This unexpected kindness on the part of Ludovic took the knight
completely by surprise. Up to that time he had stood before his enemy
proud and erect; but when Ludovic announced his generous intention
toward him, the young knight sank on his knee to thank him.

"Sir," said he, "the greatest favor thou canst grant me is to restore my
arms and my horse, and allow me a guide to the French garrison." He
paused a moment and then added earnestly, "Believe me, sir, I shall
always be ready to serve thee, if I can do so in honor to my king and to
my country." And after again thanking the duke for his generosity, the
young knight rode away with the promised guide.

When Bayard arrived at the French camp, the Count of Ligny was
astonished and overjoyed to see him, for all had heard of Bayard's
solitary descent on Milan and his consequent capture.

"What, Piquet!" exclaimed the count, "thou out of prison! How didst thou
pay thy ransom? I was about to send a herald to pay it, and bring thee
back."

"Sir," replied the knight, "I thank thee most sincerely, but Ludovic
Sforza hath spared thee the trouble, and in doing so, he hath proved
himself a rival in courtesy and generosity even to thyself--he hath made
me a present of my freedom, and provided me with a guide hither."

Milan afterwards fell into the hands of the king, but Bayard was not
able to return the great kindness Ludovic had shown to him.

After conquering Milan, King Louis turned his attention to the Kingdom
of Naples, which had, during the last days of Charles VIII., thrown off
the yoke of France and raised a Spanish prince to the throne.

Bayard counted it great good fortune to be allowed to go on the
expedition sent by the king into Naples; and there he performed such
wonderful feats of arms that the Spanish allies of the Neapolitans
declared him to be a devil instead of a man. It was, indeed, through no
fault of Bayard's that the French ultimately lost Naples.

The fame of Bayard's exploits spread. The Pope, a bitter enemy to the
King of France, sent for the chevalier, and tried to persuade him to
renounce the service of King Louis for that of the States of the Church.
In order to make his proposition exceedingly tempting, the Pontiff
offered to load the knight with riches and honors, and make him
Captain-General of the Church. To all this Bayard gave the simple,
earnest answer,--

"I have but one master in heaven,--God,--and one upon earth,--the King
of France."

Once, while the good Duke of Nemours commanded the French army in Italy,
he and several of his officers had occasion to spend a few days in the
little town of Carpi. While there, they were hospitably entertained by
the Count of Carpi, who provided many amusements for them. For their
diversion, the count one day caused an astrologer--a little withered
black man--to appear at court, and read the future for the distinguished
guests.

The astrologer came, and astonished all by the accuracy with which he
related past events in their lives. Then he told them that on the next
Good Friday or Easter Day the French and Spanish armies would come
together in a battle which would be one of the bloodiest ever fought. He
said that the victory would remain with the French, but that it would be
bought with the best blood of France. And he said to Bayard, privately,

"Your prince"--meaning the Duke of Nemours--"seems very dear to you; be
near him on the day of battle. I see that he is threatened with a sad
fate."

Bayard had little faith in the seer's powers, and laughed when it came
his turn to question the mystic; however, it was amusement for the
company.

"My master," he said with a twinkle in his eye, "shall I ever be a man
of consequence? And shall I become rich?"

The astrologer looked at him sharply and answered,

"Thou wilt be richer in noble qualities than ever French gentleman was
before thee, but thou wilt have few of fortune's goods. Thou wilt serve
yet another king of France, who will love and esteem thee much; but the
envy of those about him will prevent his bestowing on thee the wealth
and honors thou wilt so richly deserve."

"But," asked Bayard, "shall I escape from this bloody battle thou hast
predicted?"

"Yes," answered the seer; "but twelve years hence thou wilt die in
battle of an arquebuse-shot,--in no other way, for thy soldiers do so
adore thee that they would die to the last man to save thee."

It chanced that in the fortunes of war the French once captured and held
for a long time the beautiful Italian town of Brescia. This city was in
time recaptured by the Venetians, to whom it had first belonged, and
again possessed by the French,--albeit, at the cost of many valuable
lives.

At this retaking of Brescia by the French, Bayard again distinguished
himself. The first skirmish before the town was won by the chevalier,
who was so eager to attack that he went into battle in his
night-clothes.

When the time came for a general assault, the question arose as to whom
should put himself in front, at the mercy of the enemy's arquebuses.

"I will," responded Bayard to the Duke of Nemours's question; "and I
promise thee that the company I command will do good service to the
king, our master."

This was no idle boast, for Bayard's company was composed of picked
men, the greater number of whom had been commanders themselves, but who
preferred the honor of serving under the noted chevalier to leading
companies of their own.

So it was arranged that the chevalier and his company should open battle
by storming the first fort that protected Brescia. A better selection
could not have been made, for the very name of Bayard had become a
terror to the enemies of France.

When the Venetian commander saw who was leading the assault, he cried
out to encourage his men,--

"Hold fast, comrades! If this _Bayard_ but be defeated, all the rest
will be easy."

But Bayard was not defeated. The splendid charge of his company was met
with a blinding storm of shot from the Venetian guns, but not a man gave
back. Right up to the cannon they charged, shouting in the face of the
fire--"France! France!"--but the cry was changed to "_Bayard_!
_Bayard!_" as the chevalier leaped the ramparts, crying,

"Follow me!"

And they did follow.

Only for an instant Bayard's tall form was seen in the thick of his
enemies, his black eyes blazing with the fire of battle. The next moment
he fell, face downward, in the struggling mass, with a Venetian pike
thrust through his thigh.

When word was carried to the Duke of Nemours that Bayard had fallen, he
exclaimed,--

"Let us go, my friends and comrades, and avenge the death of the most
accomplished knight that ever lived." And they swept forward with the
brave duke, completing the victory that Bayard had so well begun. The
Venetian loss in this battle exceeded twenty thousand, while the French
loss was less than fifty men.

When the French occupied the town, they gave themselves over to all
kinds of excesses, perpetrating atrocious cruelties on defenceless women
and children, and pillaging convents and churches for their riches.

The soldiers in those days were, in the main, rough and brutal men; but
there were always among them many knightly gentlemen, who never failed
to use their utmost power to protect the defenceless. Such a gentleman
was Bayard, and he was never known to allow cruelties where it was in
his power to prevent them. But--alas for the wretched city--the knight
without reproach was now helpless!

Having been mortally wounded, as all supposed, the chevalier was carried
by two of his men to a large mansion within the town, that he might
receive needed attention.

The Brescian citizen who owned the house had fled upon the entry of the
French, leaving his wife and two beautiful daughters alone and
unprotected.

Now when Bayard's men brought their wounded captain to the house, the
lady herself opened the gate, and assisted the men in making the knight
comfortable. Bayard's first order to the two soldiers was that they
station themselves at the gate, and, on pain of death, admit no one save
his own men.

"I am sure," he said, "that when they know I am lodged here, they will
not force a passage."

When he had despatched his soldiers, the lady fell upon her knees at
Bayard's feet and said--

"Noble lord, this house and all that it contains is thine by the laws of
war; but I beseech thee, by the Holy Mother, to preserve the safety of
myself and my daughters."

"Madam," answered the almost fainting chevalier, "I may not recover from
the wound I have received, but as long as I live neither thou nor thy
daughters shall sustain more injury than myself. I assure thee that no
one shall enter the house contrary to thy wish; and for myself, I
promise thee all respect and friendship. But fetch me help, I pray thee,
and that quickly!"

The lady was much relieved by the knight's assuring words, and went
herself, attended by one of his soldiers, and fetched a surgeon to him.
When the Duke of Nemours learned where Bayard had been carried, and that
he still lived, he sent his own surgeon to attend him.

As soon as Bayard was sufficiently recovered to give the orders, he
caused the husband of his hostess to be sought out and conducted back in
safety to his home and family.

For six weeks the knight lay ill, and during that time he was the
recipient of many kindnesses from the members of the household. The
ladies were especially attentive, and spent many hours by his bedside,
ministering to his needs or amusing him. These days of convalescence
were pleasant indeed to the great-hearted man who had known so little of
the comforts of home and the tender ministrations of women. But he grew
impatient of his captivity when he heard that there was probability of
a fight between the French and a large army of Spanish then in northern
Italy.

"Meseems that I am well," he said to his surgeon; "and I assure thee
that biding here will harm me more than mend me, for I do most
grievously fret."

The surgeon knew him too well to doubt his word, so he taught Bayard's
valet how to dress the wound, which was now almost healed, and the
knight made ready to rejoin his company.

Now when the lady and her husband heard of Bayard's approaching
departure they were much concerned lest the knight should demand at
least ten thousand ducats as a ransom for their property. The two
discussed their dilemma earnestly, and decided that the lady should go
to Bayard with twenty-five hundred ducats and beg him to be satisfied
with this sum. Accordingly, she took the gold and sought the knight's
presence.

"My lord," she said, "myself and family shall always thank God that it
pleased Him, in the midst of the horrors of war, to lead such a noble
knight to our house for our protection. We shall ever remember that it
is to thee we owe our all. Since thou camest among us, we have received
naught but kindness at thy hands. We are thy prisoners; the house, with
its contents, is thine by right of conquest, but thou hast ever been so
graciously generous that I have come to beseech thee to have pity on us
and be content with this little gift that I have the honor to offer
thee."

She opened her coffer and showed its contents to Bayard, who smiled as
he asked,--

"How much is it, madam?"

The lady, not knowing how little he valued riches and fearing he thought
the gift too small, said hastily--

"My lord, there are only twenty-five hundred ducats; but we will strive
to make up the sum that thou desirest, if thou wilt mention it."

"Thou didst not understand me, lady," replied the knight. "Thou hast
already paid me many times over, in kindnesses such as money cannot
purchase. Keep thy gold; and remember that I am forever thy debtor, thy
champion, and thy friend."

The lady, much pleased and astonished at this unexpected reply, begged
him again to accept her gift.

"I shall be, indeed, a most unhappy woman," she declared, "if thou
refuse it."

Bayard was too gallant to withstand a woman's pleadings, so he said--

"Since thou desirest it so much, lady, I yield." Then he requested her
to send her daughters in.

The lady went to call the two damsels; and while she was gone, Bayard
divided the money into three lots,--two of one thousand ducats each and
one of five hundred.

In a little while the young girls came, and threw themselves on their
knees before the knight; but he at once made them rise and be seated
near him. Then they too strove to express their gratitude to him, and
promised to pray to God for him so long as they should live.

Bayard was much affected, and thanked them in turn for their kindly
ministrations. Then he said to them gently--

"Dear demoiselles, you know that fighting men are not ordinarily laden
with jewels and pretty things to present to ladies, but I have here a
sum of money which your lady mother hath just compelled me to accept. I
give thee each a thousand ducats to form part of thy marriage portion."

The damsels would fain have declined his generous offer, but he would
not hear nay; and he said to their mother, who had once more entered--

"Madam, these five hundred ducats I leave to thee to distribute amongst
the convents that have suffered most from the pillage. And I must now
make ready to depart."

Again they fell on their knees, this time pressing his hands and weeping
as if their hearts would break; and the mother exclaimed through her
tears--

"Too generous knight, God alone can reward thee!"

Then, amid tears and farewells, he departed.

On leaving these good ladies, the knight took his way to the French
camp, where he was received with as much joy as if he were a
reinforcement of ten thousand men.

Now at that time the French were masters of the Duchy of Milan, in
northern Italy, and the presence of the Spanish army in that part of the
country was adjudged by Louis to be a constant menace to his interests
there. The king was in France, but his nephew, the Duke of Nemours,
commanded the French army in Italy.

Scarcely had Bayard arrived in camp, when Nemours determined to give
battle to the Spanish. All was soon astir in the French camps, in
preparation; and Bayard and the duke were in high spirits.

Nemours admired the chevalier extravagantly. He was too truly great to
be envious of Bayard's fame, and nothing delighted him more than to hear
the knight's praises.

"My Lord Bayard," he said, shortly after the chevalier's arrival, "I am
told that the Spanish fear thee more than they fear any other man on
earth, and that they are constantly asking if thou art in camp. I wish
thou wouldst go out and show thyself to them."

"By thy leave," answered the knight, laughing, "I will pay them a little
visit to-morrow."

On the next morning, which was Good Friday, Bayard paid the "little
visit" he promised. He had a way of calling on his enemies very scantily
attended, and this time he took with him a mere handful of men.

The two armies were encamped within a few miles of each other before the
city of Ravenna, which the Spaniards had undertaken to defend against
King Louis's forces.

It is needless to say that the Spanish were not expecting Bayard's
visit. They were in readiness, however, for another skirmishing party of
French had descended upon them only an hour before. It seems that these
earlier visitors were being badly worsted when the fearless knight
appeared on the scene. In an instant the tide of victory turned. Bayard
rallied the flying French and reversed the pursuit, chasing the
Spaniards back to their garrison. Nor did he stop at that. Mindful of
the visit he had promised to make the enemy, he dashed into the midst of
their camp, knocked down tents and pavilions, laid men flat to right and
to left, and made good his escape before the Spanish had time to realize
what was happening to them.

When the laughing chevalier got back from his adventure, the Duke of
Nemours exclaimed in admiration--

"Thou art the man, Lord Bayard, for skirmishes. No one knows so well as
thou dost either how to begin or how to end them. Thou art our master in
the art of war."

Two days later, on Easter Sunday, the French and Spanish met in the
terrible battle of Ravenna,--one of the most cruel and bloody
engagements in all history. The field remained to the French,--sixteen
thousand out of an army of twenty thousand Spanish being slain or
captured; but the victory was too dearly bought, for the "best blood of
France" was the price paid for it.

Probably the knight Bayard forgot the gloomy predictions of the
astrologer of Carpi. He did not keep near the duke that day, but went
dashing about wherever his venturesome spirit led, performing almost
incredible feats of arms. But, alas! he came back from his last
brilliant charge to find the gallant Nemours dead on the field. The
noble duke had been fairly cut to pieces by the many strokes received in
his last brave stand against the enemy.

In the year 1513, Henry VIII., King of England, and Maximilian I. of
Germany, invaded northern France and captured several towns. In the
beginning of this campaign occurred what is known as the "Battle of
Spurs;" and this engagement is of special interest on account of
Bayard's part in it.

The English were investing the town of Terouana, in which there was
almost a famine.

A French force under the Lord of Chabannes had been sent to the relief
of the city, but it was found to be much too small to hurl against the
outnumbering allies in open battle. Still was it imperative to revictual
the suffering town, so Chabannes decided on a difficult stratagem.

A body of cavalry--under Bayard and others--was to feign an attack on
the besieging English, and then retreat rapidly, to draw the enemy in
pursuit, in order that other troops might take advantage of the
confusion, and provision the invested town.

This plan was put in execution; but the English and their German allies
played their unconscious part in their adversaries' program so well that
they not only pursued the decoy cavalry, but fell upon other companies
of French, throwing them into utter confusion.

As may be imagined, the seemingly ignoble flight of his cavalry was
galling to a spirit like Bayard's. To "the knight without fear" it was
almost impossible to refrain from fighting when an enemy was within
striking distance; and now, as had often been the case, his warlike
instinct got the better of his sense of obedience.

He was under orders not to fight, but to retreat at full speed when the
enemy should give chase. The latter command he obeyed; the former might
as well have been given to the storm. He would fly with his company
awhile,--till his fiery spirit could no longer be curbed,--then he would
wheel about and charge the pursuing English with such impetuous courage
that numbers would be compelled to fall back for an instant before his
matchless prowess.

At length the chevalier and his company reached a bridge which spanned a
swift torrent. He could not resist the temptation of making a stand
against the enemy, though he had a mere handful of men about him, so he
whirled his horse about and faced the foe. It mattered little how great
were the odds against him, for the spirit of battle possessed him. He
gave one glance at the remnant that rallied to him, then said to a
messenger quickly,--

"Go tell my Lord of Chabannes that I will hold this bridge and whip them
if he will but send me reinforcements."

The reinforcements did not come; but Bayard and his little company held
the bridge with sword and lance till they saw a large division of German
troops fording the stream in their rear. Seeing that they were thus
surrounded, and by overwhelming numbers, Bayard said to his men
cheerily--

"Let us give ourselves up, comrades; further resistance were but a
bootless sacrifice." Not the least noteworthy of Bayard's many fine
qualities were his rare good sense and his cheerfulness under
misfortune. If he won, he enjoyed his victory; if he lost, he accepted
defeat like a philosopher.

His men now followed his advice, each surrendering to the nearest enemy.

Now it chanced, in the confusion, that Bayard saw an exhausted German
throw himself down under a near-by tree and unbuckle his sword. In an
instant the chevalier sprang to him, snatched up the sword, and
presented its point to the officer's throat.

"Surrender or die!" he demanded of the astonished man-at-arms.

Not caring to give up his life, the officer surrendered himself captive
to the chevalier, saying,

"As I am without weapon, I render myself to thee. But tell me, pray, to
whom I have surrendered."

"To Captain Bayard," replied the chevalier, enjoying the joke, "and I am
in turn thy prisoner, by the result of this battle."

So saying, Bayard unbuckled his own sword and handed it to the fellow
with mock gravity.

The officer was mystified; but Bayard soon made him see the philosophy,
if not the fun, of the situation, and the two marched off together to
the English camp--each captive to the other--each bearing the other's
surrendered sword.

Here the chevalier remained for some days as prisoner to the man he had
captured. But he soon tired of this restraint, and one morning said to
his captor with suspicious gravity--

"My worthy friend, I am beginning to tire of doing nothing. Thou wilt
oblige me much if thou wilt have me escorted to the camp of my king."

The other was astounded.

"What? eh?" he exclaimed. "But thou sayest nothing of thy ransom!"

"Nor thou of thine," answered the knight, with a grave face. "Art thou
not my prisoner and bound to obey me? I have thy word of surrender, and
thou shalt keep it. If not, I shall challenge thee."

His captor hardly knew how to take this sally, or what answer to make to
it. However, he did know that the last thing in the world he desired was
a duel with the invincible Bayard, so he said--

"Sir Captain, let us report our case to higher authority. I will abide
by whatever decision is made."

So, according to agreement, the case was reported to the King of England
and the Emperor Maximilian, who were in camp together. Bayard, who had
a witty mind and a ready tongue, laid the matter before their Majesties
very drolly; and the judgment rendered by them goes to show that even
great princes can appreciate humorous situations. They agreed that as
Bayard and his captor-captive were prisoner each to the other, they were
"quits;" and that Bayard should have the liberty of returning to his
commander without ransom. King Henry, however, stipulated that the
knight should remain _en parole_ in Flanders for six weeks. Bayard
cheerfully consented to the terms, and being "le chevalier sans
reproche," kept his promise to the letter.

After this interview, the King of England secretly offered to take
Bayard into his own service, promising to load the knight with riches
and honors if he would desert the cause of France and cast his fortunes
with the English.

Bayard answered the King of England as he had before answered the Pope
of Rome,--

"I have but one master in heaven--God, and one upon earth--the King of
France."

On the first of January, 1514, Louis XII. died. He was succeeded by
Francis I., who was then only twenty years of age.

Francis, like his predecessors, was haunted by the idea of his Italian
rights, but was never able to maintain them for any great length of
time. One of his first acts of sovereignty was to raise a large army and
invade Italy to recover the Duchy of Milan, which had again been wrested
from France.

Bayard was with the king on this expedition. Indeed, he preceded Francis
into Italy, and by a brilliant stratagem took prisoner Lord Prospero
Colonna, Lieutenant-General of the Pope. Prospero it was who had boasted
that sooner or later he would take Bayard like a bird in a trap.

Soon afterwards, King Francis crossed the mountains with a great army,
and marched upon Milan, at that time defended by a large body of Swiss.
The two armies met in a hard-fought battle, and the French were
victorious, driving the Swiss entirely out of the duchy.

In this battle, as in many others, Bayard's splendid courage won the
day. No other knight could equal him in arms, and none other could so
rouse the spirit of the French soldiers; but his greatest service to
France that day was the lesson in chivalry he taught her boyish king.

Fired by the noble example of the chevalier, young Francis bore himself
in battle like a king indeed, and made old soldiers wonder at his
fortitude and courage.

When the battle was over, the gallant young king was the first to
ascribe the honor of the victory to Bayard, and the nobles and captains
agreed with him heartily.

Anxious to show conspicuous honor to the knight, King Francis then
astonished the assembled company--and none more than the chevalier
himself--by a most strange request.

"Bayard, my friend," he exclaimed in loving familiarity, "I wish to be
knighted by thy hand this day; for thou hast fought on foot and on
horseback, in many battles against many nations, and better than all
others. Thou art indeed the most worthy knight of all."

Never before had monarch honored a subject with such a request.

The modest chevalier sought to decline this embarrassingly great
distinction, saying that such honor belonged only to princes of the
blood, but the enthusiastic Francis would not take refusal.

"Nay," he exclaimed, "quote me neither laws nor canons, chevalier; but
do my will and command, if thou wouldst still be numbered amongst my
loyal servants and subjects."

"Since my king commands, I can but obey," answered the knight, simply.

Then the King of mighty France knelt at the feet of the unassuming
chevalier,--a picture to the world forever of how that manhood which is
without fear and without reproach is above the majesty of kings.

"Sire," said the chevalier--his great heart too full for many
words--"may this be as efficacious as if done by Roland or Oliver,
Godfrey or Baldwin, his brother. God grant that in battle thou mayest
never flee!"

He laid the flat of his sword on the king's strong shoulder; and when he
removed the blade, he kissed it reverently, saying--

"Glorious sword, that to-day hath knighted the greatest of kings, I will
henceforth employ thee only against the enemies of Christ's name. And
thou shalt be kept as a sacred relic and honored above all others."[2]

[Footnote 2: Unfortunately, this blade has been lost; but there is still
preserved another sword of Bayard's. It bears the two legends "Soli Deo
Gloria" and "Vincere aut Mors."]

Bayard's next service to King Francis was the defeating of an invading
army of Germans,--forty thousand strong.

In recognition of this and other great services, the king did all that
his jealous nobles could not prevent to show honor to the valiant
chevalier. He made Bayard a knight of the king's own order, and gave him
command of a hundred picked men-at-arms,--a privilege which belonged
only to princes of the blood.

The people of France went wild with enthusiasm over their hero, giving
gorgeous _fêtes_ in his honor wherever he went; and the French
parliament actually sent a deputation of its members to congratulate him
upon the services he had rendered the king and the whole people.

Yet these were but empty honors compared to what the noble chevalier
deserved. As the astrologer had predicted, Bayard never received the
riches and great appointments he so conspicuously merited.

His last undertaking was another expedition into the troublesome Duchy
of Milan. During this campaign the Lord of Bonivet, Admiral of France,
was in command of the French, and Bayard and many other gallant captains
were under him.

The task before them was to subdue Milan, which had, with the aid of
Charles V., Emperor of Germany and King of Spain, again thrown off its
allegiance to France.

The French encamped before Milan in the little town of Biagras; but it
soon developed that they were no match for the powerful army of allied
Milanese, Germans, Spaniards, and Venetians. Moreover, their forces were
being daily depleted by sickness and desertion. Added to these
misfortunes were bad faith and bad generalship on the part of the
commander, Bonivet.

Matters in the French camp went from bad to worse, while on the other
hand the ranks of the emperor were being continually reinforced.

An attack from the powerful and well-equipped enemy was now daily
expected, so the admiral determined that there was nothing to do but
retire from his position at Biagras. In the retreat, however, he took
the post of danger with Bayard in the rear-guard, between the retiring
French and their allied foes.

As Bonivet had feared, the French had no sooner moved out of Biagras
than the hitherto passive enemy woke to action and gave pursuit.

It had been rumored in the emperor's army that the wonderful Bayard was
in the rear-guard of the French, and this report held the pursuers at a
respectful distance for some time.

On the morning of the second day, however, the allies determined to
force an engagement; and, supported by heavy artillery, made a furious
charge upon the retiring French.

If the allied foes had expected to rout the retreating forces, they must
have been sadly disappointed, for the French instantly faced about and
met their onset with stubborn valor. The odds were overwhelmingly
against the sons of France; but Bayard was among them, and where he was,
was always desperate courage.

In the very first of the engagement the Lord of Bonivet was wounded and
had to be carried from the field, thus leaving Bayard in command. As he
was being borne away, Bonivet said to the chevalier--

"I pray and conjure thee, for the honor and glory of France, to defend
the artillery and flags to-day. Thou alone canst save them!"

Bayard had had too much experience not to see that it was then
impossible to retrieve what the admiral had lost, but he answered
simply--

"Too late! But my life is my country's, and while I live, the flags and
the artillery shall not fall into the enemy's hands." That promise was
not broken.

Calm and collected in that supreme hour, the peerless knight put forth
his all for his beloved France. All that unexampled generalship and
courage and fidelity could accomplish in the face of overwhelming odds,
he performed that day.

Not content with merely repelling the attacks of the enemy, he charged
their advancing columns again and again, and with such fierce onslaughts
that each time they were compelled to give back. He had promised for the
honor and glory of his country to defend the flags and the artillery
that day; and while he lived not a flag was lowered nor a gun lost. But
alas for France that day!

Just as the fighting was hottest, and when it seemed that the
outnumbered French _must_ break, Bayard once more dashed forward against
the foe, as if by sheer force of courage, to wrest victory from
inexorable Fate. For one mad, glorious moment he and his company swept
irresistibly against the victors; the next, he was struck by a stone
from an arquebuse and mortally wounded.

With the cry "Jesus!" he reeled in his saddle. He would have fallen to
the ground had not some of his men rushed forward and helped him to
dismount. In their anxiety for him, his soldiers would fain have borne
him off the field; but Bayard, though dying, was Bayard still, and he
said to them--

"It is all over; but I do not wish in my last hour to turn my back to
the foe for the first time in my life. Place me beneath yonder tree with
my face toward the enemy."

Still did they beg that they might be allowed to bear him beyond danger
of capture--for the French had broken before the enemy when Bayard fell.
But the knight feebly answered them--

"Let me devote the short space that remains to me to thinking of my
sins. I pray you all to leave me for fear that you should be taken. My
Lord d'Alegre, commend me to the king, my master, and say to him that my
only regret in dying is my inability to render him further service."

As he ceased speaking, a body of Spaniards, under the Marquis of
Pescara, arrived where he lay. The gallant Pescara knelt beside his
wounded enemy, and with tears in his eyes exclaimed--

"Would to God, Lord Bayard, that I might have taken thee prisoner
unhurt! Thou shalt know how much I have always esteemed thy prowess and
thy virtues; for since I have held arms, I have never known thy equal!"

[Illustration: "As Bayard lay thus, there was hardly an officer among
the Spanish who did not come to speak kindly to him"]

The marquis then caused his own tent to be brought and placed for the
use of the wounded knight. Then he himself helped to lay Bayard in
bed. He smoothed the dying man's pillow, and kissed the hands that had
fought so valiantly against him. Pescara then placed a guard around the
tent and went himself and fetched a priest to console the dying
chevalier.

As Bayard lay thus, there was hardly an officer among the Spanish who
did not come to speak kindly to him. Among the distinguished men who
visited his bedside was the Constable of Bourbon, who shortly before had
deserted the cause of France for a position in the emperor's army. When
the constable beheld the expiring knight, he exclaimed--

"Ah, Captain Bayard, how it troubles me to see thee thus! I have always
loved and honored thee for thy great valor and wisdom. How I pity thee!"

Bayard looked at him steadily and replied--

"My lord, I thank thee, but thy pity is wasted. I die like an honest
man, serving my king. Thou art the man to be pitied, for bearing arms
against thy prince, thy country, and thy oath."

A little while longer he talked to them; then, feeling his strength
fleeting rapidly, he clasped his hands and prayed aloud--

"My God! my Father! forget my sins; listen only to Thine infinite
mercy----Let Thy justice be softened by the merits of the blood of
Jesus Christ--"

Death laid a gentle hand upon his lips; and the man who had dealt with
his fellow-man without reproach went fearless to his God.



SIR PHILIP SIDNEY


    Sidney, thou star of beaming chivalry,
    That rose and set 'mid valor's peerless day:
    Rich ornament of knighthood's Milky-way;
    How much our youth of England owe to thee!

    EDWARD MOXON



SIR PHILIP SIDNEY

(1554-1586 A. D.)


When Mary Tudor was Queen of England, and after she had become the wife
of Philip II. of Spain, there was born at "Penshurst Place," in the
valley of the Medway, the immortal Philip Sidney.

His mother's family were the powerful house of Dudley, and were among
the noblest in the land. The Sidneys were of high birth too,--not so
exalted as the Dudleys in point of lineage, but of impregnable honor and
integrity.

The little Philip's youth was spent under what would seem to have been
very happy circumstances. While he was yet only four years of age, Queen
Elizabeth came to the throne, and recalled the Sidneys from the social
and political exile to which her sister Mary had condemned them.

Philip's father, Sir Henry Sidney, was made Lord Deputy of Ireland, and
his mother became lady-in-waiting to the queen. Then, too, they owned
the beautiful and historic home, Penshurst Place, and had powerful
friends at court.

But there was another side to the picture. The Sidneys were not rich;
and holding the high position they did, they were obliged to live in a
way they could ill afford. This was bad enough; but, worse still,
Philip's affectionate parents were forced to spend many years of their
married life apart from each other and from their children. The mother
was, for the most part, at Whitehall or at Hampton Court with the queen,
and the father in turbulent, rebellious Ireland; while the children
were, perforce, left at home in the care of servants.

Though his loving father and mother were rarely at Penshurst, the little
Philip lived very happily there with his brothers and sisters.

He soon found other companions too,--companions who fired his young
blood and filled his boyish heart with dreams that were forever to haunt
him. Under the great trees at Penshurst he lay on the grass, by the
hour, and pored over stories of bygone days of chivalry. As he lay thus
and read, the present would fade from him, and the past with all its
glamour and its romance would steal up about him and claim him for its
own. The great trees that clashed their boughs together in the wind
became warriors struggling with each other; the blast of a hunting-horn
from the forest near by was Roland's call at Roncesvalles, while the
echoes that repeated the strain again and again were the answering
clarions of Charlemagne. Little delicate Philip Sidney no longer lay on
the grass in sunny England; in coat-of-mail and golden spurs he followed
the heroes of old,--now with the lion-hearted king at Arsur; now with
triumphant Godfrey on the walls of Jerusalem!

But Philip could not always read and dream; in a short time came the
reality of school-days and boyish struggles. But though he was called
away from the chivalric companionship of the knights of old, the
impression made upon his mind by their courage and fortitude and
devotion to duty ever after ran, like a thread of gold, through the warp
and woof of his character.

During the brief reign of Edward VI., Sir Henry Sidney had been
nicknamed "the only odd man and paragon of the court." The same stanch
virtues that made him "odd" in Edward's time rendered him a man apart at
the fawning, flattering, self-seeking court of Queen Elizabeth.

"Good Queen Bess," as she has been miscalled, cared little for blunt
honesty. She was a vain and selfish woman, fond of flattery and
capricious in the extreme. She liked the soft speeches and fulsome
compliments of such men as the Earl of Leicester far better than she
liked the simple sincerity of the honest Sir Henry. Then, too, the queen
was avaricious. The condition of Ireland was of less moment to her than
the condition of her exchequer; and she was continually at odds with Sir
Henry because he spent more money than she thought necessary on the
unfortunate people whom she had sent him to rule.

But though the queen had little love for Philip Sidney's father, she was
all too partial to his brilliant uncle. The most conspicuous figure at
Elizabeth's court for many years was Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester.
Leicester was own brother to Lady Sidney, but he had few of that lady's
noble qualities. He was a courtier of the most ignoble type, being a man
who ever sought his own advancement by flattery and cajolery--always
ready to "crook the pregnant hinges of the knee, that thrift might
follow fawning." For many years Leicester was the avowed lover of the
virgin queen, and there was some talk of a secret marriage having been
contracted between them, though there was probably no truth in the
rumor.

This much is certain, however--the queen favored Leicester in every
possible way, showering honor after honor upon him, and giving him great
riches.

When young Philip Sidney was not yet seventeen years of age, a dread
plague broke out in England and, reaching Oxford University, where he
was studying, necessitated the closing of that institution. Philip's
education was thus cut short before he had obtained his college degree,
but not before he had become one of the most scholarly men of the day.

Shortly after the closing of the university, he was summoned to court to
be in attendance on her majesty, and to take a place among the gay
company with which she was surrounded. This was considered a marked
advancement for him, and, at once, all thought that the queen would
specially honor him on account of his being nephew to the prime
favorite, Leicester.

The queen did favor Sidney--in her own capricious, selfish way--and he
shortly became the youngest darling of the court. He was only seventeen
when he took his place among Elizabeth's courtiers, but he was well
grown, and was exceedingly talented and handsome.

The power to win stanch and loving friends was inborn in him, and when
he left the quiet halls of Oxford for the frivolous court of Queen
Elizabeth, there was more than one heart that was anxious for him. The
Irish Sea lay between him and his sober, upright father; while the
voluptuous and insincere Earl of Leicester was to be his patron, and all
the hollow, glittering, pleasure-loving men and women of the court were
to be his daily companions. No wonder his friends watched the young
courtier's career with anxiety! But time soon showed how truly the young
Philip was stanch old Sir Henry's son. As was natural, Sidney loved the
brilliant Leicester, and failed to see his uncle's vices as plainly as
he might have seen another man's, but he did not make those vices his
own. It was natural, too, that he should feel a youthful enjoyment in
the gayety and glitter about him, but he somehow kept himself unstained
by what lay beneath.

There were two influences at work in the youth which, together, saved
him from the follies about him: first, and greater, the nobleness of
character which was his by heredity; and, second, the high ideals formed
in his boyhood.

Sidney had dreamed of a truth unsullied, of a manhood devoted to high
and noble deeds, of a faith that was stronger than death. He waked to
find himself, in satin and gold lace, dawdling about a vain and
licentious court.

Fortunately for the ambitious youth, a change now took place in his
affairs which enabled him to see something of the world, and to pursue
his studies further. Before he had been a year at court, he was sent to
Paris in the train of the Earl of Lincoln, whose mission it was to
arrange a marriage between the English queen and the Duke d'Alençon,
brother to King Charles IX. of France.

A clause from Sidney's passport, issued in the queen's name, shows for
what purpose her young courtier was sent abroad: "Her truly and
well-beloved Philip Sidney, Esquire, licensed to go out of England into
parts beyond the seas, with three servants, four horses, and all other
requisites, and to remain the space of two years immediately following
his departure out of the realm, for his attaining the knowledge of
foreign languages."

For reasons of Church and State, Lincoln's mission to France failed, and
Sidney was left free to spend the time of his voluntary exile at his
own discretion. He wisely chose to remain abroad, and spent nearly three
years traveling in France, Germany, and Italy. But these three years
were not given up to sight-seeing and social enjoyment. Sidney devoted
his time to studying literature, science, music, foreign languages, and
the politics of the day.

For two great reasons this last subject was of most vital interest to
him: it was the time of a great religious upheaval throughout Europe,
and also the time of the ambitious aggressions of Spain under Philip II.

Sidney, an ardent adherent of the Church of England, conceived the idea
of championing his beloved faith, even as the knights of old had
championed theirs. Then, too, his whole heart was with his native
country in her rapid rise to a place of power among the nations of
earth, and he recognized Spain as an ever-present menace to her
advancement.

His sympathies were especially aroused for the condition of the harassed
Netherlands, to the complete subjugation of which Spain was then bending
her strongest efforts. Then it was that Sidney's chivalric spirit took
fire with hope,--the hope that his beloved England would rise and
deliver the oppressed, and that he, her son, would be allowed to be her
humble instrument in the great and glorious work.

All that was seething in his fertile brain he wrote from time to time to
England; and he kept her statesmen informed of the state of foreign
politics in a time when newspapers and telegraph lines had not been
dreamed of. All unconsciously, he was making a name for himself in
England; and when he returned, at the age of twenty-one, he found that
he had established for himself a reputation as politician, statesman,
and man of letters.

While abroad, Sidney had been associated with "many men of many minds."
He had learned to think and feel deeply on deep subjects, and had formed
definite ideals as to a man's proper part in life. He came back to his
native land with his young heart filled with hopes that were never to be
realized--at least, not in the way that he had conceived. It is true
that he was one of a brilliant circle of men who made the England of
Elizabeth's time great by the very greatness that was theirs; but the
England of Elizabeth's time was not the England of Sidney's hopes, and a
courtiership under the virgin queen was the vanity of vanities to his
heroic spirit. From that time on, life was a struggle to him--a
struggle to live nobly amid a court given over to pleasure; a struggle
to revive the spirit of chivalry among men who were already forgetting
the very name.

Shortly after Sidney's return from abroad, and while he was in high
favor at court, it pleased the queen to make a "royal progress" through
a portion of her realm. These "progresses" were journeys through certain
parts of the kingdom, broken by visits to favored nobles at their
magnificent castles or halls. On these tours, the queen was always
brilliantly attended by ladies and gentlemen of her court; and the
subjects whom she pleased to visit devised for her the most gorgeous and
sumptuous entertainment.

Sidney had the good or bad fortune to be in attendance on her Majesty
during this progress, for it was then that he first met and admired
little Penelope Devereux. It was while her Majesty and train were
stopping to visit the Earl of Essex at Chartley Castle that the meeting
between the two young people took place. Lady Penelope, daughter of the
Earl of Essex, was then only twelve years of age, but she was a maiden
well grown for her years, and extremely beautiful; so it is not to be
wondered at that Sidney--so old in worldly wisdom, but so young in
years--should have been fascinated by the little maid's grace and
beauty. The two frolicked and danced together at Chartley, and though
there were no vows of love exchanged between them then, that visit was
the beginning of a friendship which was to ripen into the passion of
Sidney's life. It was also the beginning of another friendship, and one
which proved far happier for Sidney. The Earl of Essex conceived a deep
love and admiration for him, and invited him often to Chartley, making
him--young though he was--his bosom friend.

Afterwards, when Essex incurred the deep displeasure of Queen Elizabeth,
Sidney was one of the few courtiers who dared to show him open
friendship,--thus tacitly condemning the action of the queen, who, in
truth, was at fault.

During his visits to Chartley Castle, Sidney became more and more in
love with the little Penelope; but when he declared his passion, she
held him off, like the coquette that she was, while she took pains to
spin the web of her fascination more hopelessly about him.

The earl, her father, was always in favor of a marriage between the two;
and at his death, which took place in Penelope's fourteenth year, he
said of Sidney:--

"Oh, that good gentleman! have me commended unto him. And tell him I
send him nothing, but I wish him well,--so well that if God do move
their hearts, I wish that he might match with my daughter. I call him
son--he is so wise, virtuous, and godly. If he go on in the course he
hath begun, he will be as famous and worthy a gentleman as ever England
bred."

Two years after Essex's death, his widow was secretly married to
Sidney's uncle, the Earl of Leicester. This made a sad change in Philip
Sidney's fortunes. As long as Leicester was unmarried and childless,
Philip Sidney, as his natural heir, was a man of great prospects and a
very desirable match; but Leicester, married, with the probability of
children to inherit his titles and wealth, left Sidney only a poor
commoner.

[Illustration: Sir Philip Sidney and Penelope Devereux]

With Sidney's prospects ruined by her own marriage, Penelope's mother
decided that her daughter should make a more ambitious match, and
betrothed her to the powerful and cruel Lord Rich. Too late, the little
maid realized the value of the love with which she had been playing.
When she could no longer look forward to a match with the noble young
Sidney, she waked to the knowledge that her whole heart was bound up
in him; and she protested, even at the altar, against the marriage into
which her mother was forcing her. "Being in the power of her friends,"
as the Earl of Devonshire afterwards wrote concerning her, "she was by
them married against her will unto one against whom she did protest at
the very solemnity and ever after."

His love for Penelope was the supreme passion of Sidney's life. His was
a heart too true to change. And as Orpheus gave to his harp his love for
the lost Eurydice and charmed all nature into silence, so Philip Sidney,
bereft of the woman he loved, poured out his soul in poems that still
touch every loving heart.

From politician and courtier, Sidney rose to be one of the most
distinguished poets of his day. He wrote many poems which are still
considered of high order, but his "Astrophel and Stella," which contains
the story of his love for the Lady Penelope, is his most popular work.

Though possessed of all the grace and elegance of an Elizabethan
courtier, as well as of a gentle and artistic temperament, Philip Sidney
was no weakling. Under the costly trappings of his court finery beat a
heart as bold and passionate as King Richard's own.

Throughout all his varied experiences, public and private, he did not
once relinquish his double hope of aiding the Netherlands and crippling
the overshadowing power of Spain. Still did he implore help for the
oppressed. Long did he carry in his heart a picture of the queen--whom
he adored in spite of her unworthiness--as the zealous and devoted
champion of a great cause. But Elizabeth was no zealot, nor could she be
made one. When Sidney at length realized that the queen could not be
induced to move in the cause of the Netherlands, he made up his mind to
go as a volunteer to the assistance of William, Prince of Orange, ruler
of that country.

The idea had to be abandoned, however, for a while; for Sir Henry
Sidney--still too honest to please the queen--was again having stormy
times with her Majesty, and appealed to his son to assist him in
bringing her to a right view of his Irish policy. Sidney espoused his
father's cause with his characteristic boldness. Shortly after his
arrival at court he was met face to face by the Earl of Ormond,--a
bitter enemy to his father, and the man who had traduced Sir Henry to
the queen. Ormond approached Sidney with a suave and condescending
greeting, but the young courtier only stared at him coldly for a
minute, then turned his back squarely on him. As Ormond was one of the
peers of the realm, and Philip Sidney but a plain commoner, this was a
most daring act. But this was not the limit of his daring. Incensed at
the injustice done his father, Sidney indited a most memorable letter to
the queen, which was at once a masterly defence of Sir Henry and a
trenchant attack on the queen's favorite, Ormond. Strange to say, Queen
Elizabeth seemed to be influenced by Sidney's plain and fearless
statements, for she sometime thereafter treated his father with more
consideration.

But a greater trouble than that in connection with his father's business
now stirred the passionate Sidney to the depths. The Duke d'Alençon, who
had become the Duke of Anjou, renewed his proposition of marriage to the
English queen. Sidney despised the private character of the duke, and he
had, besides, come to object to the proposed alliance for deep and
patriotic reasons; so he opposed the projected union with all the
fearless strength that was his.

As by far the greater number of Elizabeth's advisers approved of the
match, and the queen herself inclined to it, Sidney's position soon
made him unpopular with both queen and court. Another thing happened
about this time that rendered his relations at court exceedingly
strained. The Earl of Leicester's secret marriage with the widowed
Countess of Essex, a twelvemonth before, now came out in a storm of
gossip, and threw the jealous queen into a rage. Leicester was dismissed
from court; and Philip Sidney, as his nephew, though not actually exiled
from the queen's presence, received treatment at her hands that was far
more galling to his proud spirit than would have been dismissal.

Nothing could have been more humiliating to Sidney's highstrung and
sensitive temperament than to be kept dangling about a court where the
queen turned but cold glances upon him, and where her nobles were
permitted to slight him, after the usual manner of courtiers who "kick
whom royalty kicks, and hug whom royalty hugs."

Philip Sidney was a most unusual courtier. He had more than once held
out a manly hand to one who had come under her Majesty's disfavor, but
whom he regarded as stanch and deserving; and he had not failed to
condemn where she smiled, if he felt that condemnation was deserved.

With his great patron dismissed from royal favor, and London full of gay
French and English courtiers who looked upon him as an enemy, Philip
Sidney stood almost alone. Yet was he in no whit daunted, nor did he
yield one hair's breadth of the high ground he had taken. His was that
finer courage that can dare the whole world for a principle and stand
alone upon the right.

As may be imagined, this independence of spirit was most distasteful to
the vain and fickle queen; but Sidney's grace and talents and personal
beauty rendered him a courtier with whom she was unwilling to dispense.
The queen had favored him for these lesser gifts, but the great heart of
the English people loved him for the chivalric spirit _she_ valued not,
and for the indomitable manliness that would not truckle--not even to
the queen.

During this period of her Majesty's displeasure toward him, Sidney was
often stung to the quick by petty slights from his fellow-courtiers, but
on one occasion the offender went too far. The brutal but powerful Earl
of Oxford--head of the party who favored the proposed marriage--had long
been a rival of Sidney's in the queen's favor, and there was no love
lost between them.

One day at Whitehall, as Philip Sidney and some of his friends were
engaged in a game of tennis, the Earl of Oxford entered the court,
uninvited, and demanded a part in the game. The presence of a number of
French courtiers as lookers-on and listeners led him to assume a tone
that was even more arrogant and offensive than was usual with him.

At first, Sidney took no notice of the intrusion; but the studied
rudeness becoming unbearable, he at length reproved the offender firmly.
At this, Oxford fell into a rage, and ended by ordering the players out
of the tennis-court. Sidney met the earl's haughty gaze with one of
proud defiance, and answered,--

"If your Lordship had been pleased to express the wish in courteous
terms, you would have been met with courtesy, and perchance might have
led out those who will not now be driven out with any scourge of fury."

"Puppy!" exclaimed the infuriated earl.

A coarse laugh went up from the spectators, and they immediately began
to crowd the tennis-court to see the end of the quarrel. This pleased
Oxford much, for he was seeking to make a fine show before them.

Sidney realized that he was surrounded by enemies; but the fact only
put him on his mettle, and he demanded, calmly,

"My Lord of Oxford, what is that which you called me?"

"A _puppy_," repeated the earl, and his followers laughed again.

"That is a _lie_!" answered Sidney, in tones that rang out clear and
sharp.

A bolt from the skies could not have taken his listeners more aback. The
spectators looked to see Oxford attack or challenge the slender young
courtier who had flung the lie in his teeth; and Sidney himself waited
in a fierce quiet for the answer which he, and all present, felt Oxford
was bound to make.

The answer did not come. Oxford contented himself with quarreling in a
loud voice; but those whom he was trying to impress were not deceived by
his bluster, and all present knew that he had proved himself a coward.

When Sidney saw that his opponent was not going to challenge him, he
made up his mind to throw down the gauntlet himself, for he was too
indignant to let the matter drop without a personal encounter.

"My Lord of Oxford," he said coolly, "this is a business that can be
settled better in a more private place." With that, he turned and
walked out of the court.

This, of course, was a challenge; and all the next day Sidney looked for
the message of acceptance which Oxford was bound, by the code of honor,
to send him. At length it became apparent that Oxford was trying to
avoid the duel. This, Sidney had no idea of allowing him to do; so he
sent a messenger to the earl, asking whether he should hear from him or
not, and adding--

"His Lordship's French companions can teach him, if he does not know,
what course he ought to take in this affair."

Thus goaded, Oxford sent an acceptance; but before the duel could take
place, the lords of the Privy Council forbade it, and besought the queen
to effect a reconciliation between the two.

The queen's way of reconciling them was to send for Sidney and scold him
roundly. She pointed out to him the difference between peers and
commoners and the respect that inferiors owed to superiors, then she
commanded him to apologize to the earl.

"That, your Majesty," he answered, steadily, "I _cannot_ do. No peer
has, by his rank, privilege to do wrong; and though the Earl of Oxford
be a great lord by virtue of his birth and your Majesty's favors, he is
no lord over Philip Sidney."

In spite of queen and court and Privy Council, Philip Sidney would not
retreat an inch from this position; and Oxford was compelled to take
refuge in her Majesty's order, to avoid fighting with the fiery young
courtier. Shortly afterwards, the earl sent a messenger--supposed to be
Sir Walter Raleigh--with the proposition to Sidney that their
disagreement cease. Thus was the coward peer compelled to humble himself
to the proud commoner.

Negotiations for the queen's marriage to Anjou progressed favorably for
a while, to the deep distress of Sidney. Actuated by his great distrust
of Anjou and his equally great dislike to any sort of alliance with
France, he at length addressed a letter to the queen, setting forth
without reserve his objections to her marriage. He warned her Majesty,
in the most unmistakable terms, of the worthlessness and viciousness of
her suitor, and ended with a passionate appeal to her not to enter into
an alliance which would so surely cripple the advancement of the English
Church. But Sidney's letter was not one of reproof and entreaty only.
All through its pages could be seen the romantic devotion of subject to
sovereign, and the chivalric respect of a man for the woman whom he
imagined to be possessed of all feminine virtues.

The "most excellent lady" to whom the letter was indited answered it by
flying into a rage and dismissing the writer from court.

This was scarcely punishment to Sidney. He hated the vanities of court
life with his whole heart, and when he was thus dismissed, he was as one
from whom heavy shackles had been struck. He spent the time of his exile
with his beloved sister, the Countess of Pembroke, and while at her
home, wrote some of his best poems.

The queen forgave Sidney, all too soon for him, for he had to be
persuaded, nay, almost forced back into her silken fetters. The Earl of
Leicester was already reinstated in her Majesty's good-will when Sidney
came back, with reluctant grace, to be again an ornament of her court.

But he was not an ornament merely. He was soon elected to Parliament,
and through his fearless and untiring zeal did much toward making
England great.

Sidney was now becoming more and more prominent as a literary man, and
was closely associated with Raleigh, Lyly, Hooker, Christopher Marlowe,
Sir Francis Bacon, and Edmund Spenser. He was also one of the first to
patronize a rising young actor and playwright by the name of Will
Shakespeare.

In 1583 Philip Sidney was knighted, and became "_Sir_ Philip Sidney,
knight, of Penshurst." This was, however, but a poor acknowledgment of
his virtues, his high attainments, and his services to the State. He was
appointed by the queen to several minor offices, but he was never given
what he merited at her hands--so much for being better and greater than
those who have the power to reward.

For some years Sidney's friends had been pressing him to marry, for they
felt that it would be an irrevocable loss to England for such a man to
die without sons to perpetuate his talents and sterling qualities. But
Sidney for a long time turned a deaf ear to their persuasions. He had
loved one woman passionately, and she had become the wife of another
man. Since that time he had paid devoted attention to none, though he
always held the gentler sex in deepest respect.

Considering his natural attractions, and the exalted place he had won
for himself among both the writers and the statesmen of the day, it is
not to be wondered at that he was much sought after. One chronicle
tells us that "many noble ladies ventured as far as modesty would permit
to signify their affections for him."

Sidney himself thought it his _duty_ to marry, and in the fall of 1583
took to wife the daughter of his old friend, Sir Francis Walsingham. The
queen objected bitterly, being selfish enough to want her courtier's
whole attention; but she finally relented. She afterwards stood
godmother to Sidney's only child--a daughter--who was named for herself.

Sidney's married life was a very happy one. Frances Walsingham made him
a good wife, and he was very tenderly attached to her.

Always jealous for his native country, Sidney now became much aroused by
the continued success of Spain in the New World. The then recent
discoveries in America, and the consequent advancement of the power of
Philip II., were a menace to the political prestige of England. Sidney
had been quick to perceive this, and had been stirred to a keen interest
in English colonization in the New World. He rightly believed that the
surest means of retarding the growth of the power of Spain was to plant
in the New World colonies of English-speaking people. Disappointed in
his desire to join in the warfare in the Netherlands against King
Philip, he conceived a great scheme for crippling that monarch's power
in America and on the high seas, and he threw himself into the project
with his whole heart.

It is interesting to know that in his colonization schemes Sidney was
intimately associated with such men as Martin Frobisher, Sir Humphrey
Gilbert, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Sir Francis Drake.

His connection with Sir Francis Drake came near involving him in serious
trouble, but ultimately ended by procuring him the commission he had so
long desired. Tired of a life of inactivity, anxious to foil the Spanish
in the New World, and sick to death of the busy idleness of the court,
Sidney at length determined to go with Drake to a new world and a new
career. Accordingly, he made ready, and actually went as far as
Plymouth, where he was to take ship, when he was overtaken by a
messenger bearing "grace in one hand and thunder in the other," and the
queen's command that he return to court.

The _grace_ was that he was to have his long-desired commission in the
Netherlands, if he would but return. Her Majesty had evidently learned
that she would have to compromise with her spirited subject.

Sidney did return, and received the commission promised. The queen
signed a patent making him governor of Flushing and Rammekins in the
Netherlands. Leicester she made commander-in-chief of the forces she had
at last agreed to send to the aid of the oppressed Dutch.

Sidney was not one-and-thirty years of age when he received his
appointment. He went into the project with all the fire of his youth and
chivalry. At last he was free from court fetters; at last he could play
a man's part in life. All the dreams of his boyhood now waked again. No
mimic warfare of joust and tournament for him now! With naked sword he
was to face the enemies of a weak and oppressed people.

When Sidney landed at Flushing, he had yet to learn that war demands
more courage than is needed in merely facing the foe--the courage to
endure delays, hardships, injustice, and all the cruel accompaniments of
a campaign. He learned his lesson well and shortly, for when he was
weighed in the balance, he was not found wanting in a single quality
that belongs to the hero.

Flushing, which had been assigned to English control, was at the mouth
of the Scheldt River, and on the opposite bank stood the Castle of
Rammekins. These were important points, as they commanded the entrance
from the sea. The people of the town hailed Sidney as a deliverer and
protector, for they were worn with the long struggle against the
Spanish, and were wellnigh disheartened. The defences of the place were
in wretched condition, and the town itself in a most unhealthy state, so
Sir Philip set to work at once to put the place in a more sanitary
condition and to strengthen its fortifications.

Shortly after Sidney had begun to get ready for real war, his uncle, the
Earl of Leicester, arrived in the Netherlands with the main body of the
troops sent by her Majesty, and made a spectacular tour through several
leading cities. He took up his position at the Hague, where he
immediately began to live in almost royal state, spending the funds sent
from England, wasting the resources of the people he had ostensibly come
to help, and making no move against the Spanish, who were daily gaining
ground.

If Sidney had hoped that, in changing her mind about assisting the
Netherlands, Queen Elizabeth had changed some of her personal
characteristics too, he was very quickly undeceived. The supply of men
and money sent by her Majesty was entirely inadequate to existing
necessities; and having shipped her small quota of troops, the queen
apparently washed her hands of them.

With his superior officer, Leicester, wasting time and the resources of
the troops, in dissipation, and the queen careless of their straits,
Sidney was reduced almost to despair. Yet if he had come to hope little,
he worked as if the whole responsibility of the cause rested on his
shoulders. He not only put the places of his own command in as good
condition as was possible, but he went from one city to another,
assisting and advising. He made journey after journey to the Hague to
rouse Leicester to a more active policy, and at one time went even into
Germany to implore help for the wretched country. All this time he was
writing to Leicester, to the queen, to her advisers, the most passionate
letters. He set forth the condition of affairs in language that stripped
truth of all dissembling, and implored her Majesty and her officers to
let him do the work for which he had been sent. Like the king of the
forest in the narrow confines of a cage, Sidney's fierce soul raged
against the orders that kept his sword idle while the Spanish were
wasting the land. There is not a more pathetically tragic figure in
history than that of the heroic Sidney in the power of the unworthy
Queen of England and of the doubly unworthy Earl of Leicester.

More than a year was wasted by the luxurious earl, Sidney the while
chafing at his idleness, and the Spanish gaining post after post. Time
and again, Sidney pleaded with Leicester to give him adequate troops and
leave to act, but the troops were not given; and when, on his own
responsibility, Sidney undertook to besiege Steenbergen, he was
forbidden to prosecute the plan.

It was not until he had spent nearly two years of hard work and
discouragement in the Netherlands that Sir Philip was at last allowed to
proceed against the enemy in active warfare.

A most unwilling permission being wrung from Leicester, Sidney joined
forces with Lord Willoughby and Count Maurice and proceeded against the
town of Axel, which was then in the hands of the Spaniards.

A moonless night was chosen for the expedition, and the advance was made
stealthily and swiftly. While the attacking forces approached the
sleeping town, Sir Philip spoke so earnestly to the men that one who was
with him afterwards said, "he did so link our minds that we did desire
rather to die in that service than to live in the contrary."

Axel was surrounded by a wall and a moat, and was regarded as
impregnable to all save overwhelming forces; but Sidney depended more on
the spirit of his men than on mere numbers, and he pressed hardily
forward. When the moat was reached, he plunged boldly in, and was soon
followed by some fifty others. A few moments more, and they had gained
the opposite bank and were scaling, as best they could, the wall of
Axel. A little while of breathless suspense, and then their dark forms
were outlined against the sky on the top of the wall, only to disappear
quickly on the other side. Presently there were cries of surprise and
terror and sounds of sharp fighting, then the drawbridge was lowered and
the great gate opened to admit the crush of men who rushed to the
assistance of Sir Philip and his valiant little band.

The scene inside told its own story. Sir Philip had surprised and slain
the guard and opened the gate to his men. Instantly the startled city
flew to arms, but it was too late. Over half the twelve hundred men who
garrisoned the town were put to the sword, a great quantity of riches
was captured, and a large amount of property destroyed. Besides this,
four neighboring citadels were attacked and forced to surrender. Sir
Philip then garrisoned the town with English soldiers, and cut the
dikes, flooding a vast tract of country to hamper the movements of the
Spanish.

When it was all over, Leicester wrote proudly to the queen, "My nephew,
Sidney, is to be thanked for the bravest deed yet done by the English in
the Low Countries."

But stanch old Sir Henry died a few weeks before his "darling Philip"
thus won his first laurels in war, and Lady Sidney passed away shortly
after the news of her boy's heroism reached her.

One would think that the knowledge of that heroism would have touched
the fickle queen to do, at least, simple justice to the young officer
who had stormed Axel; but unfortunately it did not. Not only could
Sidney not persuade her Majesty to give him the necessary troops and
money for better defences, but he could not move her to pay the wretched
soldiers their hire. The wages of his men were already months in
arrears, and the soldiers were daily threatening mutiny. So the time
dragged on, and nothing of importance was accomplished for several more
weary months.

Leicester had had as little patience with his nephew as the queen
herself, "bearing a hand over him as a forward young man;" but after
Sidney proved his sword at Axel, his uncle treated him with more
respect, and was at last brought to take counsel of him.

A few months after Sidney's capture of Axel, Leicester reviewed her
Majesty's troops at Arnhem; and it was then that Sir Philip at last
persuaded him to strike a decisive blow at the Spanish. Having actually
obtained his uncle's permission to fight, Sidney lost no time in
unsheathing his sword. Five days after the review at Arnhem, he and his
brother Robert and the young Earl of Essex, with a small force, stormed
and carried the fortress of Doesburg, each one of the three fighting
brilliantly.

The Earl of Essex was son to Sir Philip's old friend, and brother to
Penelope Devereux, and was that Essex whom Elizabeth caused to be
beheaded some years after.

As another result of Sidney's importunities, Leicester laid siege to
Zutphen, which was a very important post, and the strongest city in
Gelderland. A week was spent in throwing up intrenchments about the city
and making ready for an attack. Sidney, together with the Count of
Nassau and Sir John Norris, was put in command of a body of cavalry and
directed to hold Gilbert Hill,--a rise of ground less than a mile from
the east gate of Zutphen.

When the English were nearly ready to attack, news was brought to
Leicester that large quantities of provisions were being transported to
the besieged city by the Spanish, and that an attempt would be made to
smuggle them in.

On receipt of the news, Leicester ordered Sir John Norris and Sir
William Stanley to take five hundred men and cut off the convoys as they
approached.

Sir Philip was not included in the commission, but he was so eager to
act that he joined Norris and Stanley of his own accord. He was fully
armed as he rode up to the troops, but meeting one of his friends
without leg-armour, he rashly cast off his own cuisses, that he might
run equal risk.

The Spanish convoys were expected to arrive in the night, but a gray,
foggy morning dawned before the tramp of their horses' feet was heard.
Nearer and nearer it came to the waiting five hundred,--when suddenly
the fog lifted and the little band of English found themselves face to
face with a splendidly equipped Spanish force of over five times their
own number. They had not dreamed that the wagon-train would be so
accompanied.

The sun rose clear--fatally clear for that gallant little band of
Britons. The guns of the city were trained on them; they were in easy
shot of the Spanish in front and the Spanish behind--surprised, tricked,
surrounded. And there was no mist to puzzle the enemy's terrible aim!
But English chivalry stood the test that day, and English swords rang
true.

Young Essex, a boy of twenty, made the first dash, crying to his men as
he went,

"For the honor of England, good fellows, follow me!" They followed him,
and for a while, at least, beat back the enemy with their curtle-axes.
Lord Willoughby, and many another gallant cavalier, carved his way to
fame that day.

But Sidney was the hero of Zutphen--Sidney "of the delicate form and
golden hair." One might almost fancy him the matchless Bayard come
again, or the very incarnate spirit of battle, so splendidly did his
genius and courage rise in the storm of carnage. None might hope to
equal him or match his many deeds that day. Once, seeing Willoughby
surrounded and far over among the enemy, Sidney, with a few followers,
fought through to him and accomplished his rescue. Twice he charged the
Spanish, pressing them back and hacking them down in his path.

At the crisis of the second charge, his horse was shot under him; but he
quickly mounted another. Then in one last glorious dash, he cut his way
straight through the Spanish masses, and he did not stop while there was
a foe to be beaten out of his path. But when he had blazed his solitary
way entirely through the ranks of the enemy, and was faced with empty
trenches beyond, he turned his horse to press back again. As he wheeled
back, a musket-ball struck him in the thigh and gave him a mortal wound.
The horse he was riding was not trained to battle, and, taking fright at
the din about him, became utterly unmanageable to Sidney's weakening
grasp. The terror-stricken animal struggled out of the press and dashed,
with his almost fainting rider, back to Leicester's distant camp.

As some of the soldiers rushed to him to help him down, Sidney was
seized with the terrible thirst of the wounded, and begged for a drink
of water. He was about to press the flagon to his parched lips when he
saw the eyes of a wounded foot-soldier turned agonizingly toward it.
Without tasting it, he at once handed it to the dying man, with the
words,--

"Thy necessity is greater than mine."

But Sidney's necessity was great--so great that the skill of man could
not avail to save him; and after a long, agonizing illness, he expired
at Arnhem in the arms of his heart-broken wife.

So lived and died Sir Philip Sidney, the last and most perfect flower of
knighthood,--failing in his efforts to revive the old passing chivalry,
but, all unconsciously, achieving more than his cherished ideal in
teaching men how to live and die nobly in the changed order of things.



SIDNEY IN TOURNAMENT


    Call back the gorgeous past!
    The lists are set, the trumpets sound,
    Bright eyes, sweet judges, throned around;
    And stately on the glittering ground
    The old chivalric life!
    "Forward!" The signal word is given;
    Beneath the shock the greensward shakes;
    The lusty cheer, the gleaming spear,
    The snow-plume's falling flakes,
    The fiery joy of strife!
    Thus, when, from out a changeful heaven
    O'er waves in eddying tumult driven
    A stormy smile is cast,
    Alike the gladsome anger takes
    The sunshine and the blast!
    Who is the victor of the day?
    Thou of the delicate form, and golden hair,
    And manhood glorious in its midst of May;
    Thou who upon thy shield of argent bearest
    The bold device, "The loftiest is the fairest!"
    As bending low thy stainless crest,
    "The vestal throned by the west"
    Accords the old Provençal crown
    Which blends her own with thy renown;
    Arcadian Sidney, nursling of the muse,
    Flower of fair chivalry, whose bloom was fed
    With daintiest Castaly's most silver dews,
    Alas! how soon thy amaranth leaves were shed;
    Born, what the Ausonian minstrel _dream'd to be_,
    Time's knightly epic pass'd from earth with thee!

    EDWARD BULWER LYTTON


    "_The knight's bones are dust,_
    _And his good sword rust;_
    _His soul is with the saints, I trust._"





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