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Title: Royal Children of English History
Author: Nesbit, E. (Edith), 1858-1924
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Royal Children of English History" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



by the University of Florida Digital Collections.)



[Illustration: Royal Children of English History]

[Illustration: ALFRED THE GREAT LEARNING TO READ.]



[Illustration]


Royal Children of English History,

by E. Nesbit

          Illustrated by
          Frances Brundage
          and M. Bowley.

          RAPHAEL TUCK & SONS, LTD.
          London, Paris, New York

          Publishers
          to the QUEEN.

No. 2091.

Black & White Drawings & Letterpress printed in England



Contents


                                            Page
          Alfred the Great                     5
          Prince Arthur                       12
          Henry the Third                     20
          The First Prince of Wales           27
          Edward the Black Prince             35
          Henry the Fifth and the Baby King   42


[Illustration]



[Illustration: ROYAL CHILDREN OF ENGLISH HISTORY

Alfred the Great.]


WHEN I was very, very little, I hated history more than all my other
lessons put together, because I had to learn it out of a horrid little
book, called somebody's "Outlines of English History"; and it seemed to
be all the names of the kings and the dates of battles, and, believing
it to be nothing else, I hated it accordingly.

I hope you do not think anything so foolish, because, really, history is
a story, a story of things that happened to real live people in our
England years ago; and the things that are happening here and now, and
that are put in the newspapers, will be history for little children one
of these days.

The people in those old times were the same kind of people who live now.
Mothers loved their children then, and fathers worked for them, just as
mothers and fathers do now, and children then were good or bad, as the
case might be, just as little children are now. And the people you read
about in history were real live people, who were good and bad, and glad
and sorry, just as people are now-a-days.

[Sidenote: A.D. 827.]

You know that if you were to set out on a journey from one end of
England to another, wherever you went, through fields and woods and
lanes, you would still be in the kingdom of Queen Victoria. But once
upon a time, hundreds of years ago, if a child had set out to ride, he
might have begun his ride in the morning in one kingdom, and finished it
in the evening in another, because England was not one great kingdom
then as it is now, but was divided up into seven pieces, with a king to
look after each, and these seven kings were always quarrelling with each
other and trying to take each other's kingdom away, just as you might
see seven naughty children, each with a plot of garden, trying to take
each other's gardens and spoiling each other's flowers in their wicked
quarrels. But presently came one King, named Egbert, who was stronger
than all the others; so he managed to put himself at the head of all the
kingdoms, and he was the first King of _all_ England. But though he had
got the other kings to give in to him, he did not have at all a peaceful
time. There were some very fierce wild pirates, called Danes, who used
to come sailing across the North Sea in ships with carved swans' heads
at the prow, and hundreds of fighting men aboard. Their own country was
bleak and desolate, and they were greedy and wanted the pleasant English
land. So they used to come and land in all sorts of places along the
sea-shore, and then they would march across the fields and kill the
peaceful farmers, and set fire to their houses, and take their sheep and
cows. Or sometimes they would drive them out, and live in the farmhouses
themselves. Of course, the English people were not going to stand this;
so they were always fighting to drive the Danes away when they came
here.

[Sidenote: A.D. 871.]

Egbert's son allowed the Danes to grow very strong in England, and when
he died he left several sons, like the kings in the fairy tales; and the
first of these princes was made King, but he could not beat the Danes,
and then the second one was made King, but he could not beat the Danes.
In the fairy tales, you know, it is always the youngest prince who has
all the good fortune, and in this story the same thing happened. This
prince did what none of his brothers could do. He drove out the Danes
from England, and gave his people a chance of being quiet and happy and
good. His name was Alfred.

Like most great men, this King Alfred had a good mother. She used to
read to him, when he was little, out of a great book with gold and
precious stones on the cover, and inside beautiful songs and poetry. And
one day she said to the young princes, who were all very fond of being
read to out of this splendid book--

"Since you like the book so much, I will give it to the one who is first
able to read it, and to say all the poetry in it by heart."

The eldest prince tried to learn it, but I suppose he did not try hard
enough; and the other princes tried, but I fear they were too lazy. But
you may be quite sure the youngest prince did the right thing. He learnt
to read, and then he set to work to learn the poems by heart; and it was
a proud day for him and for the Queen when he was able to say all the
beautiful poetry to her. She put the book into his hands for his very
own, and they kissed each other with tears of pride and pleasure.

You must not suppose that King Alfred drove out the Danes without much
trouble, much thought, and much hard work. Trouble, thought, and hard
work are the only three spells the fairies have left us, so of course he
had to use them. He was made King just after the Danes had gained a
great victory, and for the first eight years of his reign he was
fighting them continually. At one time they had conquered almost the
whole of England, and they would have killed Alfred if they could have
found him.

[Illustration]

You know, a wise prince always disguises himself when danger becomes
very great. So Alfred disguised himself as a farm labourer, and went to
live with a farmer, who used to make him feed the beasts and help about
the farm, and had no idea that this labourer was the great King himself.

One day the farmer's wife went out--perhaps she went out to milk the
cows; at any rate it was some important business--and she had made some
cakes for supper, and she saw Alfred sitting idle in the kitchen, so she
asked him to look after the cakes, to see that they did not burn. Alfred
said he would. But he had just received some news about the Danes, and
he was thinking and thinking and thinking over this, and he forgot all
about the cakes, and when the farmer's wife came in she found them burnt
black as coal.

[Illustration]

"Oh, you silly, greedy fellow," she said, "you can eat cakes fast
enough; but you can't even take the trouble to bake them when other
people take the trouble to make them for you."

And I have heard that she even slapped his face. He bore it all very
patiently.

"I am very sorry," he said, "but I was thinking of other things."

Just at that moment her husband came in followed by several strangers,
and, to the good woman's astonishment, they all fell on their knees and
greeted her husband's labourer as their King.

"We have beaten the Danes," they said, "and everyone is asking where is
King Alfred? You must come back with us."

"Forgive me," cried the woman. "I didn't think of your being the King."

"Forgive me," said Alfred, kindly. "I didn't think of your cakes being
burnt."

[Illustration: "THERE WERE NO CLOCKS IN THOSE DAYS BUT HE MADE A CLOCK
OUT OF A CANDLE."]

The Danes had many more fighting men than Alfred; so he was obliged to
be very cautious and wise, or he could never have beaten them at all. In
those days very few people could read; and the evenings used to seem
very long sometimes, so that anybody who could tell a story or sing a
song was made much of, and some people made it their trade to go about
singing songs and telling stories and making jokes to amuse people who
could not sing songs or tell stories or make jokes themselves. These
were called gleemen, and wherever they went they were always welcomed
and put at a good place at table, and treated with respect and kindness;
and in time of war no one ever killed a gleeman, so they could always
feel quite safe whatever was going on.

Now Alfred once wanted to know how many Danes there were in a certain
Danish camp, and whether they were too strong for him to beat. So he
disguised himself as a gleeman and took a harp, for his mother had
taught him to sing and play very prettily, and he went and sang songs to
the Danes and told stories to them. But all the time he kept his eyes
open, and found out all he wanted to know. And he saw that the Danes
were not expecting to be attacked by the English people, so that,
instead of keeping watch, they were feasting and drinking and playing
all their time. Then he went back to his own soldiers, and they crept up
to the Danish camp and fell upon it while the Danes were feasting and
making merry, and as the Danes were not expecting a fight, the English
were easily able to get much the best of it.

At last, after many fights, King Alfred managed to make peace with the
Danes, and then he settled down to see what he could do for his own
people. He saw that if he was to keep out the wicked Danes he must be
able to fight them by sea as well as by land. So he learned how to build
ships and taught his people how to build them, and that was the
beginning of the great English navy, which you ought to be proud of if
you are big enough to read this book. Alfred was wise enough to see that
knowledge is power, and, as he wanted his people to be strong, he tried
to make them learned. He built schools, and at University College,
Oxford, there are people that will tell you that that college was
founded by Alfred the Great.

He used to divide up his time very carefully, giving part to study and
part to settling disputes among his people, and part to his shipbuilding
and his other duties. They had no clocks and watches in those days, and
he used sometimes to get so interested in his work as to forget that it
was time to leave it and go on to something else, just as you do
sometimes when you get so interested in a game of rounders that you
forget that it is time to go on with your lessons. The idea of a clock
never entered into Alfred's head, at least not a clock with wheels, and
hands on its face, but he was so clever that he made a clock out of a
candle. He painted rings of different colours round the candle, and when
the candle had burnt down to the first ring it was half an hour gone,
and when it was burnt to the next ring it was another half-hour, and so
on. So he could tell exactly how the time went.

He was called Alfred the Great, and no king has better deserved such a
title.

"So long as I have lived," he said, "I have striven to live worthily."
And he longed, above all things, to leave "to the men that came after a
remembrance of him in good works."

He did many good and wise things, but the best and wisest thing he ever
did was to begin to write the History of England. There had been English
poems before this, but no English stories that were not written in
poetry. So that Alfred's book was the first of all the thousands and
thousands of English books that you see on the shelves of the big
libraries. His book is generally called the Saxon Chronicle, and was
added to by other people after his death.

He made a number of wise laws. It is believed that it was he who first
ordained that an Englishman should be tried not only by a judge but also
by a jury of people like himself.

[Illustration: KING·ALFRED·DISGUISED·HIMSELF·AS·A·
GLEEMAN·&·TOOK·A·HARP·&·SAND·SONGS TO·THE·DANES·&·TOLD STORIES·TO THEM]

[Sidenote: A.D. 901.]

Though he had fought bravely when fighting was needed to defend his
kingdom, yet he loved peace and all the arts of peace. He loved justice
and kindness, and little children; and all folk loved and wept for him
when he died, because he was a good King who had always striven to live
worthily, that is to say, he had always tried to be good.

His last words to his son, just before he died, were these--"It is just
that the English people should be as free as their own thoughts."

You must not think that this means that the English people should be
free to think as they like or to do as they like. What it means is, that
an Englishman should be as free to do good deeds as he is to think good
thoughts.



[Illustration: PRINCE ARTHUR]


[Sidenote: A.D. 1066.]

THE Danes never succeeded in conquering England and in making it their
own, though many of them settled in England and married English wives.
But some relations of the Danes, called the Normans, were bolder and
stronger and more fortunate. And William, who was called the Conqueror,
became King of England, and left his son to rule after him. And when
four Norman Kings had reigned in England, the Count of Anjou was made
the English King, because his mother was the heiress of the English
crown.

His great-grandfather, Ingeger, the first Count of Anjou, must have been
a very brave man. When he was quite a boy he was page to his godmother,
who was a great lady. It was the custom then for boys of noble family to
serve noble ladies as pages.

One morning this lady's husband was found dead in his bed, and the poor
lady was accused by a nobleman, named Gontran, of murdering him. Gontran
said he was quite sure of her guilt, and that he was ready to stake his
life on it, that is to say, he offered to fight anyone who should say
that the lady was innocent. This seems a curious way of finding out a
person's innocence or guilt, but it was the custom of the times.

The poor lady could find no one who believed in her enough to risk his
life, and she began to despair, when suddenly her boy-page rushed
forward and begged that, though he was not yet a knight, and so had
really no right to fight, yet that he might be allowed to do combat in
her defence. "The whole Court were spectators. The Duke Charles was on
his throne, and the accused widow in a litter curtained with black.
Prayers were offered that God would aid the right. The trumpets sounded,
and the champions rode in full career against each other. At the first
onset Gontran's lance pierced his adversary's shield so that he could
not disengage it, and Ingeger was thus enabled to close with him, hurl
him to the ground, and despatch him with a dagger. Then, while the lists
rang with applause, the brave boy rushed up to his godmother and threw
himself into her arms in a transport of joy."

[Illustration]

When William conquered England he became King of England and still owned
his own possessions in Normandy, and the Count of Anjou, when he became
King, still held the lands he had held as Count, so that the Kings of
England held a great part of France as well as England. The Counts of
Anjou used to wear a sprig of broom, or _planta genista_, in their
helmets, and from this they were called the Plantagenet Kings.

The first of them was brave and clever, and the second was brave, but
the third, John, was mean and cruel and cowardly, and had really no
right to the throne at all. His nephew, Prince Arthur of Brittany, ought
to have been King, because he was the son of John's elder brother. But
John wanted the kingdom for himself, and though the King of France tried
to help Arthur to get his rights, John would not give up the crown he
had stolen. He managed to take Prince Arthur prisoner, and then
pretended to be very fond of him. "All this quarrel has been a mistake,"
he said; "come with me and I will give you a kingdom."

So Prince Arthur went with him, and in the dark night, as they passed
along by the river, the wicked King stabbed the young Prince with his
own hand, and pushed him into the swift-flowing water. "There," he
cried, "that is the kingdom I promised you."

And the poor young Prince sank into the dark flood, never to rise again.

Shakespeare tells another story of Prince Arthur's death, which you will
read for yourselves one day; and this is the story:--

After King John had taken the young Prince prisoner, he shut him up in
the Castle of Northampton, and ordered Hubert de Burgh, the Governor of
the Castle, to put poor Arthur's eyes out, because he thought that no
one would want a blind boy to be King of England. So Hubert went into
the room where the little Prince was shut up.

"Good morning," said the Prince. "You are sad, Hubert."

"Indeed, I have been merrier," said Hubert, who, though he did not like
to disobey the King, was yet miserable at the wicked deed he had been
asked to do.

"Nobody," said Arthur, "should be sad but I. If I were out of prison and
kept sheep I should be as merry as the day is long. And so I would be
here but for my uncle. He is afraid of me and I of him. Is it my fault
that I was Geoffrey's son? Indeed it is not, and I would to heaven I
were your son, so you would love me, Hubert."

"If I talk to him," said Hubert to himself, "I shall never have the
courage to do this wicked deed."

"Are you ill, Hubert?" Arthur went on. "You look pale to-day. If you
were ill I would sit all night and watch you, for I believe I love you
more than you do me."

Hubert dared not listen. He felt he must do the King's wicked will, so
he pulled out the paper on which the King had written his cruel order,
and showed it to the young Prince. Arthur read it calmly and then turned
to Hubert.

"So you are to put out my eyes with hot irons?"

[Illustration: "YOU ARE SAD, HUBERT," SAID THE PRINCE.]

"Young boy, I must," said Hubert.

"And you will?" asked Arthur.

And Hubert answered, "And I will."

"Have you the heart?" cried Arthur. "Do you remember when your head
ached how I tied it up with my own handkerchief, and sat up with you the
whole night holding your hand and doing everything I could for you! Many
a poor man's son would have lain still and never have spoke a loving
word to you; but you, at your sick service, had a prince. Will you put
out my eyes--those eyes that never did, nor never shall, so much as
frown on you?"

"I have sworn to do it," said Hubert. He called two men, who brought in
the fire and the hot irons, and the cord to bind the little Prince.

"Give me the irons," said Hubert, "and bind him here."

"For heaven's sake, Hubert, let me not be bound," cried Arthur. "I will
not struggle--I will stand stone still. Nay, hear me, Hubert, drive
these men away and I will sit as quiet as a lamb, and I will forgive you
whatever torment you may put me to."

And Hubert was moved by his pleading, and told the men to go; and as
they went they said--"We are glad to have no part in such a wicked deed
as this."

Then Arthur flung his arms round Hubert and implored him to spare his
eyes, and at last Hubert consented, for all the time his heart had been
sick at the cruel deed he had promised to do. Then he took Prince Arthur
away and hid him, and told the King he was dead.

But King John's lords were so angry when they heard that Arthur was
dead, and John seemed so sorry for having given the order to Hubert,
that Hubert thought it best to tell him that Arthur had not been killed
at all, but was still alive and safe. John was now so terrified at the
anger of his lords on Arthur's account that Arthur might from that time
have been safe from him. But the poor boy was so frightened by what he
had gone through that he made up his mind to risk his life in trying to
escape. So he decided to leap down from the top of the tower as his only
means of escape.

Then he thought he could get away in disguise without being recognised.

[Illustration]

"The wall is high, and yet will I leap down," he said. "Good ground, be
pitiful and hurt me not."

So he leaped, but the tower was high, and the fall killed him. And
before he died, he murmured--"Heaven take my soul and England keep my
bones."

That is the story as Shakespeare gives it.

[Illustration]

Almost everyone in England hated King John, even before this dreadful
affair of Prince Arthur's death. The King of France took Normandy away
from him, and his own people would not help him to fight for it.

He was very cruel and revengeful, and often put people in prison or
killed them without giving any reason for it, or having them properly
tried. So the great nobles of England joined together and said that they
would not let John be King any longer in England unless he would give
them a written promise to behave better in future. At first he laughed
at the idea, and said he should do as he chose, and that he would fight
the lords and keep them in their proper place. But he had to give in
when he found that only seven of the lords of England were on his side
and all the rest against him. So then he asked the barons and the
bishops to meet him at Runnymede and there he put his big seal to a
writing, promising what they wished. He did not sign his name to it, but
you can see that very parchment sealed in the British Museum with the
King's big seal to it.

[Sidenote: Magna Charta

A.D. 1215.]

But though he fixed his seal to the paper he did not keep the promises
that were in it, and the barons grew so angry that they asked the King
of France to help them to fight John, and to turn him out.

[Illustration: ROBIN HOOD]

John ran away when he heard that the French were coming. He left his
friends to fight his battles, and went off, wrecking the castles of the
barons who had asked the French Prince to come over, and who were now
with him. Then someone told the barons that the French Prince was
determined to cut off all their heads as soon as he had got England for
his own. So they saw how foolish they had been to ask him to come and
help them. John was in Lincolnshire, and was coming across the sands at
the Wash, but the tide suddenly came in and swept away his crown, his
treasure, his food, and everything was lost in the sea. King John was
very miserable at losing all his treasures, and he tried to drown his
sorrows by drinking a lot of beer and eating much more than was good for
him. This brought on a fever, and he died miserably, with no one at all
to be sorry for him.

[Sidenote: A.D. 1216.]

He was and is the best-hated of all our English kings.

There was much danger in travelling in those days, for robbers used to
hide in the woods and lonely places, and to attack and rob travellers.
Many of the nobles themselves who were in attendance on the King, being
often unable to get their proper pay, either belonged to these robber
bands or secretly helped them, and shared with them the plunder they
took from those they robbed. The best known of these robbers was the
famous Robin Hood, who lived in the time of King Richard and King John.
He is supposed to have been a nobleman, and to have had his hiding place
in Sherwood Forest, and he is said to have been kind and merciful to
the poor, and to have helped them out of the money and good things he
stole from the rich. Many songs about him have come down to us. The poor
suffered in those old days many and great hardships at the hands of the
nobles of England, who indeed robbed and oppressed them very cruelly. So
they were ready enough to sing the praises of one who stole only from
the rich and who gave to the poor.

[Illustration]



[Illustration: HENRY THE THIRD.]


[Sidenote: A.D. 1216.]

HENRY THE THIRD was crowned at Gloucester when he was only nine years
old. You remember that King John's crown had been lost in the Wash with
his other treasures, so they crowned Henry with a gold bracelet of his
mother's. The lords who attended the coronation banquet wore white
ribbons round their heads as a sign of their homage to the innocent,
helpless child. They made him swear to do as his father had promised in
the great charter sealed at Runnymede; and the Earl of Pembroke was
appointed to govern the kingdom till Henry grew up.

Henry grew up unlike his cruel father. He was gentle, tenderhearted,
fond of romance, music and poetry, sculpture, painting and architecture.
Some of the most beautiful churches we have were built in his reign.
But, though he had so many good qualities, he had no bravery, no energy
and perseverance. He was fond of pleasure and of the beautiful things of
this world, and cared too little for the beautiful things of the soul.
He was fond of gaiety, and his young queen was of the same disposition.
She was one of four sisters. Two of these sisters married kings and two
married counts, and the kings' wives were so proud of being queens that
they used to make their sisters, the countesses, sit on little low
stools while they themselves sat on handsome high chairs.

Henry's time passed in feasts and songs and dancing. Romances and
curious old Breton ballads were translated into English, and recited at
the Court with all sorts of tales of love and battle and chivalry.

The object of chivalry was to encourage men in noble and manly
exercises, and to teach them to succour the oppressed, to uphold the
dignity of women, and to help the Christian faith. And chivalry was made
attractive by all sorts of gay and pretty devices. Knights used to wear
in their helmets a ribbon or a glove that some lady had given them, and
it was supposed that, while they had the precious gift of a good lady in
their possession, they would do nothing base or disloyal that should
dishonour the gift they carried.

[Illustration]

Each young noble at twelve years old was placed as page in some other
noble household. There, for two years, he learned riding and fencing,
and the use of arms. When the lord killed a deer the pages skinned it
and carried it home. At a feast the pages carried in the chief dishes
and poured the wine for their lords to drink. They helped the ladies of
the house in many ways, and carried their trains on state occasions.

At fourteen a page became a squire. He helped his lord to put on his
armour, carried his shield to battle, cleaned and polished his lord's
armour and sharpened his sword, and he was allowed to wear silver spurs
instead of iron ones, such as the common people wore.

When he was considered worthy to become a knight he went through a
ceremony which dedicated him to the service of God.

The day before he was to become a knight the young man stripped and
bathed. Then he put on a white tunic--the white as a promise of purity;
a red robe--the red meant the blood he was to shed in fighting for the
right; and he put on a black doublet (which is a sort of jacket), and
this was black in token of death, of which a knight was never to be
afraid. Then he went into the church, and there he spent the night in
prayer. He heard the priests singing their chant in the darkness of the
big church, and he thought of his sins, and steadfastly purposed to lead
a new life. In the morning he confessed his sins, walked up to the
altar, laid down his belt and sword, and then knelt at the foot of the
altar steps. He received the Holy Communion, and then the lord who was
to make him a knight gave him the accolade--three strokes on the back of
the bare neck with the flat side of the sword--and said:

"In the name of Saint George I make thee a knight,"--and bade him take
back his sword--"in the name of God and Saint George, and use it like a
true knight as a terror and punishment for evil-doers, and a defence for
widows and orphans, and the poor, and the oppressed, and the
priests--the servants of God."

The priests and the ladies came round him and put on his gilt spurs, and
his coat of mail, and his breastplate, and armpieces, and gauntlets, and
took the sword and girded it on him. Then the young man swore to be
faithful to God, the King, and woman; his squire brought him his helmet,
and his horse's shoes rang on the church pavement and under the tall
arches as his squire led the charger up the aisle. In the presence of
priests, and knights, and ladies assembled, the young knight sprang upon
his horse and caracoled before the altar, brandishing his lance and his
sword. And then away to do the good work he was sworn to.

Many, of course, forgot their promises and broke their vows, but in
those wild times many a rough man was made gentle, many a cruel man less
cruel, and many a faint-hearted one made bold by the noble thoughts from
which the idea of chivalry sprang.

Now, you know, England is governed by the Queen and Parliament. But in
those old days England was ruled by the King and by such nobles as had
money and strength enough to be able to rule by force. These nobles were
indeed a terror to the people. They lived in strong, stoutly-built
castles, with a great moat or ditch round them, and having always many
retainers and armed servants, they were often able to resist the King
himself. It was the growing power and riches of the King which they most
dreaded, for he only could do them harm. It was then for their own
sakes--to guard their own persons, to protect their own property against
the King--rather than from any desire to help the people, that the
barons resisted first John and then Henry.

[Illustration]

But among them was a noble, unselfish man, who loved his fellow
countrymen, and who saw, that to make people rich, and happy, and
prosperous, they must be allowed to share in the government of the
country in which they live. This noble Englishman, Simon de Montfort,
was called the great Earl, and it was he who headed the resistance to
Henry the Third, when that King tried to escape from keeping the
promises contained in the Great Charter which he had bound himself to
obey.

The resistance grew so strong that at last there was war in England. At
the Battle of Lewes, Simon de Montfort defeated Henry and took him
prisoner, and with him was his son, Prince Edward. Then at last a
Parliament was called. Two knights were sent to it from each county, and
from every town two citizens. It was chiefly to get these towns
represented in Parliament that the great Earl opposed the King.

Prince Edward was very anxious to escape and fight another battle for
his father. So he pretended to be very ill. When he got better he asked
his gaolers to let him go out riding for the benefit of his health. They
agreed, but of course, they sent a guard of soldiers out with him to see
that he did not escape. Prince Edward rode out for several days with
them and never even tried to get away. But one day he begged them to
ride races with each other, while he looked on. They did so, and when
their horses were quite tired, he shouted, "I have long enough enjoyed
the pleasure of your company, gentlemen, and I bid you good-day," put
spurs to his horse, and was soon out of their reach. His friend, the
Earl of Gloucester, joined him, and they soon raised an army and
defeated the great Earl at Evesham.

[Sidenote: A.D. 1265.]

"Let us commend our souls to God," said Simon, as Prince Edward and his
men came down upon him and the little band of knights who stood by his
side. One by one the knights fell, till Simon only was left. He hacked
his way through his foes, and had nearly escaped when his horse was
brought to the ground, and a death wound was given him from behind. "It
is God's grace," he said, and died. But though the leader died, the work
was done, and a Parliament established in England.

Some of the priests in England had grown very wicked and greedy. They
neglected their duties and thought only of feasting and making
themselves comfortable. But some good monks came over from Rome, and
determined to try to show the English priests what a Christian's duty
was. They made a vow to be poor, and to deny themselves everything,
except just enough food to keep body and soul together. They would not
even have books at first, but spent all the money they could collect on
the poor. They nursed the sick and helped the unfortunate. They would
not wear pretty clothes or beautiful vestments, but were dressed in
plain grey or black serge, with a rope round the waist, and bare feet.
Although they were foreigners and could speak but little English, they
encouraged people to write in the English language instead of in Latin
or French.

[Illustration]

It was a favourite dream of the early English and French kings to take
Jerusalem and the Holy Land from the hands of the Saracens, and to let
Christians be the guardians of the place where Christ lived and died. To
do this they were constantly making war on the Saracens, and these wars
were called Crusades, and the knights who went to them Crusaders.
Crusaders carried a red cross on their banners and on their shields. The
Saracens' banners and shields had a crescent like a new moon. For two
hundred years this fighting went on, and the last of our English princes
to take part in it was Prince Edward. He had only three hundred knights
with him, and was not able to attack Jerusalem, because he could not get
together more than seven thousand men. His knights went on pilgrimage to
Jerusalem, but he stayed in his camp at Acre. One day a messenger came
into his tent with letters, and while he was reading them the wicked
messenger stabbed him. He had been sent to do so by the Saracens,
because they were afraid of this brave prince. The prince caught the
blow on his arm, and kicked the messenger to the ground, but the man
rose and rushed at him again with the knife. The dagger just grazed the
prince's forehead, and seizing a wooden footstool Prince Edward dashed
out the messenger's brains. His wife, the Princess Eleanor, was afraid
the dagger was poisoned. So she sucked the blood from his wound with her
own lips, and so most likely saved his life. But he was very ill in
spite of this, and England nearly lost one of her best and bravest
princes.

[Sidenote: A.D. 1272.]

As soon as he was well enough to travel, he set out for England, and on
the way he was met with the sad news that his father and two of his
children were dead. So he became King of England, and he was the father
of the first Prince of Wales.

[Illustration: PRINCESS ELEANOR]



[Illustration: The First Prince of Wales.

ICH DIEN]


THERE were Welsh princes long before there were English kings, and the
Welsh princes could not bear to be subject to the kings of England. So
they were always fighting to get back their independence. But the
English kings could not let them be free as they wished, because England
could never have been safe with an independent kingdom so close to her.
So there were constant wars between the two countries, and sometimes the
fortune of battle went one way and sometimes the other.

But at last the Welsh Prince Llewellyn was killed. He had gone to the
south of Wales to cheer up his subjects there, and he had crossed the
river Wye into England, when a small band of English knights came up. A
young knight named Adam Frankton met with a Welsh chief as he came out
of a barn to join the Welsh army. Frankton at once attacked him, and
after a struggle, wounded the Welsh chief to death. Then he rode on to
battle, and when he came back he tried to find out what had become of
the Welshman. He heard that he was already dead, and then they found
that the dead man was the great Welsh Prince Llewellyn. His head was
taken off and sent to London, where it was placed on the battlements of
the Tower and crowned, in scorn, with ivy. This was because an old Welsh
magician, years before, had said that when English money became round,
the Welsh princes should be crowned in London. And money had become
round in this way:--

Before this there were silver pennies, and when anyone wanted a
half-penny, he chopped the silver penny in two, and if he wanted a
farthing he chopped the silver penny in four, so that money was all
sorts of queer shapes. But Edward the First had caused round copper
half-pennies and farthings to be made, and when the Welsh prince had
heard of this he had believed that the old magician's words were coming
true, and that he should defeat Edward and become king of England
himself. Instead of this, the poor man's head was cut off, and, in
mockery of his hopes and dreams, they crowned the poor dead head with
the wreath of ivy.

Now the Welsh wanted another prince, and King Edward said: "If you will
submit to me and not fight any more, you shall have a prince who was
born in Wales, can speak never a word of English, and never did wrong to
man, woman, or child." The Welsh people agreed that if they could have
such a prince as that, they would be contented and quiet, and give up
fighting. And so one day the leaders of the Welsh met King Edward at his
castle in Caernarvon and asked for the Prince he had promised them, and
he came out of his castle with his little son, who had only been born a
week before, in his arms.

"Here is your Prince," he said, holding up the little baby. "He was born
in Wales, he cannot speak a word of English, and he has never done harm
to man, woman or child."

Instead of being angry at the trick the king had played them, the Welsh
people were very pleased. Welsh nurses took care of the baby, so that he
really did learn to speak in Welsh before he could speak in English. And
the Welsh were so pleased with their baby king that from that time
Edward the First had no more trouble with them.

There are many stories told of this prince's boldness as a child. He
promised them to grow up as brave as his father, and it would have been
better for him if he had done so. He was always very fond of hunting,
and once when he was quite young, he and his servants were hunting the
deer. His servants lost the trace of the deer, and presently, when they
reined up their horses, they found that the young prince was no longer
with them. They looked everywhere for him, very frightened lest he
should have fallen into the hands of robbers; and at last they heard a
horn blown in the forest. They followed the sound of it and presently
found that the young prince had seen which way the deer went, and had
followed it and killed it all by himself.

[Illustration]

Now King Edward the First had great trouble with his Scotch nobles, and
many were the battles he fought with them, until at last he forced the
Scottish king Balliol to declare himself his vassal, and he became the
over-lord of Scotland. But there arose a brave Scot named William
Wallace, who longed to see his country free from England, and he drove
the English back, and again and again he beat them.

But in a few years Edward got together another army, and leading them
into Scotland he beat the Scots and took Wallace prisoner. Wallace was
tried and found guilty of treason, and when he had been beheaded, they
crowned his head with laurel and placed it on London Bridge, for all the
passers-by, by road or river, to see.

[Sidenote: A.D. 1305.]

Then two men claimed the Scottish crown, Robert Bruce and John, who was
called the Red Comyn. They were jealous of each other, and Bruce thought
that Comyn had betrayed him. They met in a church to have an
explanation.

"You are a traitor," said Bruce.

[Illustration]

"You lie," said Comyn.

And Bruce in a fury struck at him with his dagger, and then, filled with
horror, rushed from the church. "To horse, to horse," he cried. One of
his attendants, named Kirkpatrick, asked him what was the matter.

"I doubt," said Bruce, "that I have slain the Red Comyn."

"You doubt!" said Kirkpatrick. "I will make sure."

So saying, he hurried back into the church and killed the wounded man.

And now the task of defending Scotland against Edward was left to Robert
Bruce. King Edward was so angry when he heard of this murder, that at
the feast, when his son was made a knight, he swore over the swan, which
was the chief dish and which was the emblem of truth and constancy, that
he would never rest two nights in the same place till he had chastised
the Scots. And for some time the Scots and English were at bitter war,
and when King Edward died, he made his son promise to go on fighting.

[Sidenote: A.D. 1307.]

But Edward the Second was not a man like his father. He was more like
his grandfather Henry the Third, caring for pretty colours and pretty
things, rich clothes, rich feasts, rich jewels, and surrounding himself
with worthless favourites. Robert Bruce said he was more afraid of the
dead bones of Edward the First than of the living body of Edward of
Caernarvon, and that it was easier to win a kingdom from his son than a
foot of land from the father. Gradually the castles the English had
taken in Scotland were won back from them. For twenty years the English
had held the Castle of Edinburgh, and at the end of that time, Randolph,
a Scottish noble, came to besiege it.

The siege was long, and the brave English showed no signs of giving in.
Randolph was told that it was possible to climb up the south face of the
rock on which the castle stood, and steep as the rock was, Randolph and
some others began to climb it one dark night. When they were part of the
way up, and close to the wall of the castle, they heard a soldier above
them cry out--"Away, I see you," and down came stone after stone. Had
many more been thrown Randolph and his companions must have been dashed
to the ground and killed, for it was only on a very narrow ledge that
they had found a footing. But the soldier was only in joke, trying to
frighten his fellows. He had not really seen them at all, and he passed
on. When all was quiet again, the daring Scots climbed up till they
reached the top of the wall, and when they had fixed a rope ladder the
rest of their men came up. Then they fell upon the men of the garrison
and killed them, and the castle was taken by the Scots.

[Sidenote: A.D. 1314.]

But a greater loss awaited the English. Edward led an English army to
battle in Scotland; and at Bannockburn they met the force of the Scots
king. They fought till the field was slippery with blood, and covered
with broken armour and lances and arrows. Then at the last, as the
English began to waver, Bruce charged down on them with more soldiers
and utterly routed them. Edward with difficulty saved his life, and
throughout England there were bitter lamentings at the loss and shame
the country had suffered. Scotland was free from the English yoke, and
of all the great conquests the first Edward had won, only
Berwick-on-Tweed remained to the English.

Edward II. was never loved by his subjects. He made favourites of silly
and wicked persons, and so gave much offence to good folk. He was
wasteful and extravagant, and did not even try to govern the country
wisely and well, while his favourites made themselves hated more and
more by their dishonesty and wickedness. The last of his favourites was
named Despenser, and he was as much hated by the Queen Isabella as by
the lords and people of England. Despenser not only made himself hated
by the queen, but he managed also to make her dislike her husband, the
king, with whom she had long been on unfriendly terms. At last Isabella,
disgusted with her husband and his favourite, ran away to France, and
there, with the help of the Count of Hainault and other friends in
England, she raised an army and attacked and defeated her husband and
his favourite. The young Despenser was hanged on a gibbet fifty feet
high, and a Parliament was called to decide what should be done with the
king.

[Illustration]

The Parliament declared its right to make or unmake kings, and ordered
that Edward should not be king any more. Some members went to Edward at
Kenilworth to tell him what they had decided, and Edward clad in a
plain black gown, received them and quietly promised to be king no more.
Then he was taken to Berkeley Castle, and a few months after the people
learned that he was dead.

[Illustration]

There has always been much doubt whether he died a natural death or was
murdered. The Bishop of Hereford, who had always been on the queen's
side, is said to have sent to two wicked men the following message
written in Latin--"Edwardum occidere nolite timere bonum est." Now this
message had two meanings according to the way the stops were put in. The
first was--"Be unwilling to fear to kill Edward--it is good." The other
was--"Be unwilling to kill Edward--it is good to fear."

So you see that, if this message fell into anyone's hands for whom it
was not intended, the bishop would have been able to say he meant to
warn people not to kill the king, while Gurney and Maltravers, who
received the message, could say that the paper was an order to kill him.
The story goes, that they came to the castle and there found the poor
king in a dungeon. He was standing in mire and puddle, and, although he
was a king, they gave him only bread and water. Then he thought of his
former greatness and how brave and gallant a show he had made as a
knight, and he cried out--

          "Tell Isabel, the queen, I looked not thus
           When for her sake I ran at tilt in France
           And there unhorsed the Duke of Cleremont."

[Sidenote: A.D. 1327.]

He was too weak to resist these wicked men, and they had no mercy in
their hearts, but murdered him.

[Illustration: HENRY VI., THE BABY KING. (_See page 47._)]



[Illustration: Edward the Black Prince.]


[Sidenote: A.D. 1340.]

THE name of Edward the Black Prince will always be remembered with love
and admiration by all young Englishmen, because he was by all accounts a
very brave, gallant, and courteous prince, feared by his foes and by his
friends beloved. His father, Edward the Third, had not given up his
hopes of regaining his lost possessions in France, so he spent two long
years in getting together money and ships and an army. He fought the
French fleet near Sluys. Both sides fought fiercely, and at last the
English won. The French had thought that they were quite sure to get the
best of it, and they were afraid to tell the King of France how the
English had beaten them, for hundreds of the French had been either
killed or been forced to jump into the sea to escape the swords of the
English.

Now, at this time every king kept a jester to make jokes and amuse him
and his friends at their feasts, and the jester was a privileged person,
who could say anything he liked. So now they told the jester of the King
of France that he must tell the king the bad news, because he could say
what he liked and no one would punish him for it. So the jester said--

"Oh! what dastardly cowards the English are!"

"How so?" said the king, who expected to hear that the cowardly English
had been driven away by his men.

[Illustration: ·KING· ·EDWARD· ·SAILS· ·FOR· ·FRANCE·]

"Because," answered the jester, "they have not jumped into the sea as
our brave men had to do."

So then the king asked him what he meant, and then the courtiers came
forward and told the sad story of the English victory.

Then Edward besieged a town called Tournay, but he had not enough money
to get provisions for his men, so he had to make friends with the king
of France for a little while and go back to England.

Six years later he pawned his crown and his queen's jewels, and at last
got together enough money to go and fight with the French again. He
landed at La Hogue, and as he landed he fell so violently that his nose
began to bleed.

"Oh, this is a bad sign," said his courtiers, "that your first step on
French soil should be a fall."

"Not so," said the king. "It is a good sign. It shows that the land
desires me: so she takes me close to her."

He had thirty-two thousand men with him, and his son, the Black Prince.
Some say he was called the Black Prince because he wore black armour,
but others say it was because he made himself as great a terror to the
French as a black night is to foolish children.

Edward marched towards the French and the French marched to meet him,
and as they marched they broke down all the bridges, so that the English
could not advance by them. But Edward had made up his mind to get across
the river Seine and fight with his enemies; and he was no more to be
stopped by the water than a dog would have been who wanted to get over
to the other side to fight another dog. He got a poor man to show him a
place where the river was shallow at low tide, and there he plunged into
the river, crying, "Let him who loves me follow me," and the whole army
followed and got safely to the other side.

Edward arranged his soldiers well, and went himself to the top of a
little hill where there was a windmill. From this he could see
everything that went on. The French had a far larger army than the
English, and when they came in sight of Edward's army and saw how well
placed it was, the wiser Frenchmen said, "Do not let us fight them
to-day, for our men and horses are tired. Let us wait for to-morrow and
then we can drive them back." So the foremost of the French army turned
back, but those behind were discontented and thought the fighting had
begun and that they had not had a chance. So they pushed forward till
the whole French army was close to the English.

[Illustration]

[Sidenote: A.D. 1346.]

King Edward had made all his soldiers sit on the grass and eat and
drink. Mounted on his horse he rode among them telling them to be brave,
for that they were now going to win a glorious victory and cover
themselves with eternal glory. At three in the afternoon the first
French soldiers came face to face with the Englishmen, and the battle
began. Some soldiers from Genoa who had been paid to fight for the
French king, said they did not want to fight, they were too tired and
could not fight as good soldiers should, but the men behind pressed them
on and they were beaten. A heavy rain fell, with thunder, and a great
flight of crows hovered in the air over all the battalions, making a
loud noise. Shortly afterwards it cleared up and the sun shone very
bright. But the French had it in their faces and the English at their
backs.

[Illustration]

When the Genoese drew near, they approached the English with a loud
noise to frighten them; but the English remained quite quiet, and did
not seem to attend to it. They then set up a second shout and advanced a
little forward. The English never moved. Still they hooted a third time,
and advanced with their crossbows presented and began to shoot. The
English archers then moved a step forward and shot their arrows with
such force and quickness that it seemed as if it snowed. The fight raged
furiously, and presently a knight came galloping up to the windmill and
begged the king to send help to his son, the Black Prince, as he was
sore pressed.

"Is my son in danger of his life?" said the king.

"No, thank God," returned the knight, "but in great need of your help."

Then the king answered: "Return to them that sent you and say that I
command them to let the boy win his spurs, for I am determined that, if
it please God, all the glory of this day shall be given to him and to
those to whose care I have entrusted him."

[Illustration]

This message cheered the Prince mightily, and he and the English won the
battle of Creçy.

And the battle of Creçy, one of the most glorious in English History,
was won by the common people of England, yeomen and archers, foot
soldiers against the knights and squires of France with their swords and
horses.

In this battle the blind king of Bohemia took part with the French.

"I pray you," he said to his friends, "lead me into the battle that I
may strike one more stroke with this good sword of mine."

So they led him in and he was killed.

[Sidenote: A.D. 1356.]

The battle of Poictiers was fought entirely under the direction of the
Black Prince, and this was another splendid victory to England; and in
this battle the French king was taken. The king was brought to the Black
Prince as he was resting in his tent, and he behaved like the true
gentleman he was. He showed the deepest respect and sympathy for his
vanquished foe. He ordered the best of suppers to be served to the king,
and would not sit with him to eat, but stood behind his chair and waited
on him like a servant, saying--"I am only a prince. It is not fitting I
should sit in the presence of the king of France." And King John said--

"Since it has pleased Heaven that I am a captive, I thank my God I have
fallen into the hands of the most generous and valiant prince alive."

King John was taken as a prisoner to London. They rode into the city,
King John mounted on a beautiful white horse that belonged to the Black
Prince, while Prince Edward himself, riding on a black pony, was ready
to wait on him, and to do his bidding.

It was this generous temper which made the Black Prince beloved by all
who knew him; it was only during his last illness that his character
seemed to be changed by the great sufferings that he underwent, and it
was only during the last year of his life that he did anything of which
a king and an Englishman need be ashamed.

He seems to have inherited his skill in war from his father, and from
his mother, Queen Philippa, he inherited gentleness, goodness, and true
courtesy. There are many stories told of the goodness and courage of
this lady. Among others, this:--

[Sidenote: A.D. 1347.]

When Edward the Third had besieged Calais for a year, the good town
which had held out so long was obliged to surrender, for there was no
longer anything to eat in the city, and the folks said: "It is as good
to die by the hands of the English as to die here by famine like rats in
a hole." So they sent to tell the king they would give up the town to
him. But Edward the Third was so angry with them for having resisted him
so long, that he said that they should all be hanged. Then Edward the
Black Prince begged his father not to be so hard on brave men who had
only done what they believed to be their duty, and entreated him to
spare them. Then said the king--

"I will spare them on condition that six citizens, bare-headed and
bare-footed, clad only in their shirts, with ropes round their necks,
shall come forth to me here, bringing the keys of the city."

And when the men of Calais heard this, they said: "No; better to die
than live a dishonoured life by giving up even one of these our brothers
who have fought and suffered with us." But one of the chief gentlemen of
Calais--Eustace de S. Pierre--said:

"It is good that six of us should win eternal glory in this world and
the sunshine of God's countenance in the next, by dying for our town and
our brethren. I, for one, am willing to go to the English king on such
terms as he commands."

Then up rose his son and said likewise, and four other gentlemen,
inspired by their courage, followed their example. So the six in their
shirts, with ropes round their necks and the keys of the town in their
hands, went out through the gates, and all the folk of Calais stood
weeping and blessing them as they went. When they came to the king, he
called for the hangman, saying--"Hang me these men at once."

[Illustration]

But Queen Philippa was there, and though she was ill, she left her tent
weeping so tenderly that she could not stand upright. Therefore she cast
herself upon her knees before the king, and spoke thus:--

"Ah, gentle sire, from the day I passed over sea I have asked for
nothing; now I pray you, for the love of Our Lady's son Christ, to have
mercy on these."

King Edward waited for a while before speaking, and looked at the queen
as she knelt, and he said--"Lady, I had rather you had been elsewhere.
You pray so tenderly that I dare not refuse you; and though I do it
against my will, nevertheless take them. I give them to you."

Then took he the six citizens by the halters and delivered them to the
queen, and released from death all those of Calais for the love of her.



[Illustration:

          "THERE·IS·NOTHING·IN
          FRANCE·THAT·CAN·BE·WON
          WITH·A·DANCE·OR·A·SONG."

HENRY the FIFTH and the BABY KING]


[Sidenote: A.D. 1399.]

HENRY the Fourth was the Black Prince's nephew, and he came to be king
of England. His son was Henry the Fifth, the greatest of the Plantagenet
kings. When he was a young man, and only Prince of Wales, he was very
wild and fond of games and jokes. They used to call him Harry Madcap.

Once, when he got into some trouble or other, his father, who was ill,
sent for him, and he went at once in a fine dress that he had had made
for a fancy dress party. It was of light blue satin with odd puckers in
the sleeves, and at every pucker the tailor had left a little bit of
blue thread and a tag like a needle. The king was very angry with the
prince for daring to come into the royal presence in such a silly coat.
Then Prince Harry said--

"Dear father, as soon as I heard that you wanted me, I was in such a
hurry to come to you that I had no time to even think of my coat, much
less change it."

And so the king forgave him.

Another time one of his servants got into trouble and was taken before
the Chief Judge Sir William Gascoyne. The Prince went directly to the
Court where the judge was and said--

"Lord Judge, this is my servant, and you must let him go, for I am the
king's son."

"No," said the judge, "I sit here in the place of the king himself, to
do justice to all his subjects, and were this man the Prince of Wales
himself, instead of being his servant, he should be punished in that he
has offended against the law."

The prince was so angry that he actually forgot himself so far as to
strike Sir William Gascoyne. The good judge did not hesitate a minute.

"You have insulted the king himself," he said, "in my person, since I
sit here in his place to do justice. The common folks who offend against
the law offend merely against the king; but you, young man, are a double
traitor to your king and your father."

And he sent the prince to prison.

Henry begged the good judge's pardon afterwards, and when he came to the
throne he thanked him for having behaved so justly and wisely, and gave
him great honour because he had not been afraid to do his duty without
respect of rank, and Henry behaved to the judge like a good son to a
good father.

No king of England was ever more wise or brave or just than Henry the
Fifth; and even now he is remembered with affection. One of
Shakespeare's most splendid plays is written about him, and, when you
have once read that, you will always remember and love Henry the Fifth
as all Englishmen should do.

[Sidenote: A.D. 1413.]

At the very beginning of his reign the wars with France began again. The
king sent to France and claimed some lands that had belonged to Edward
the Third; and the young prince of France sent back the message--"There
is nothing in France that can be won with a dance or a song. You cannot
get dukedoms in France by playing and feasting, and the prince sends you
something that will suit you better than lands in France. He has sent
you a barrel of tennis balls, and bids you play with them and let
serious matters be." Then King Henry was very angry, and said--"We thank
him for his present.

          When we have matched our rackets to these balls,
          We will in France, by God's grace, play a set
          Shall strike his father's crown into the hazard.

Before I was King of England I was wild and merry because I knew not how
great and solemn a state waited for me. I have played in my youth like a
common man because I was only Prince of Wales; but now that I am King of
England I will rise up with so full of glory that I will dazzle all the
eyes of France."

[Illustration]

Henry sailed over to France and besieged a town called Harfleur. He
spoke to the soldiers before they attacked the town.

"Break down the wall and go through," he said, "or close the wall up
with our English dead.

                                   Bend every spirit
          To his full height. On, on, you noblest English,
          Whose blood is fetched from fathers of war proof.
          Be copy now to men of grosser blood
          And teach them how to war. And you, good yeomen,
          Whose limbs were made in England, let us swear
          That you are worth your breeding, which I doubt not;
          Cry God for Harry, England and Saint George."

The Englishmen answered nobly to his appeal, and Harfleur was taken.

Then the English advanced to a place called Agincourt, a name fated to
be linked with splendid glory for ever in the hearts of all English
folk. The French had a very large army, and the English soldiers were
tired with their long march. Many of them were ill and many were hungry;
but they loved the king, and for his sake, and for the sake of their
country, they were brave in spite of hunger and cold. Though they were
in a strange country and many times outnumbered by their foes, they kept
up a brave heart as Englishmen have done, thank God, many's the good
time, all the world over. So few were they that the Earl of Westmoreland
said, just before the battle,--

          "Oh, that we now had here
           But one ten thousand of those men in England
           That do no work to-day!"

The king came in just as he was saying this, and said--

"No, if we are marked to die, we are enough for our country to lose. If
we are to live, the fewer there are of us the greater share of honour. I
do not covet gold or feasting, or fine garments, but honour I do covet.
Wish not another man from England. I would not lose the honour of this
fight by sharing it with more men than are here, and if any among our
soldiers has no desire to fight, let him go. He shall have a passport
and money to take him away. I should be ashamed to die in such a man's
company. We need not wish for men from England. It is the men in England
who will envy us when they hear of the great crown of honour and glory
that we have won this day. This is Saint Crispin's day. Every man who
fights on this day will remember it and be honoured to the last hour of
his life. Crispin's day shall ne'er go by from this day to the ending of
the world,

          But we in it shall be remembered,
          We few, we happy few, we band of brothers,
          For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
          Shall be my brother, be he ne'er so vile.
          And gentlemen in England now abed
          Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
          And hold their manhood cheap while any speaks
          That fought with us upon St. Crispin's day."

Lord Salisbury came in as the king was saying this. "The French are in
battle order," he said, "and ready to charge upon our men."

"All things are ready," said the king quietly, "if our minds are ready."

"Perish the man whose mind is backward now," said Westmoreland.

"You wish no more for men from England then," said the king smiling.

And Westmoreland, inspired with courage and confidence by the king's
brave speech, answered--"I would to God, my king, that you and I alone
without more help might fight this battle out to-day."

"Why, now you have unwished five thousand men," said the king laughing,
"and that pleases me more than to wish us one more. God be with you
all."

[Sidenote: A.D. 1415.]

So they went into battle tired as they were. The brave English let loose
such a shower of arrows that, as at Creçy, the white feathers of the
arrows filled the air like snow, and the French fled before them.

The Earl of Suffolk was wounded, and as he lay dying, the Duke of York,
his great friend, wounded to death, dragged himself to Suffolk's side
and took him by the beard and kissed his wounds, and cried aloud--

          "Tarry, dear Cousin Suffolk,
           My soul shall keep thine company to heaven.
           Tarry, sweet soul, for mine, then fly abreast,
           As in this glorious and well-foughten field
           We kept together in our chivalry."

[Illustration]

Then he turned to the king's uncle, the Duke of Exeter, and took his
hand and said: "Dear my lord, commend my service to my sovereign."

Then he put his two arms round Suffolk's neck, and the two friends died
together. But the battle was won.

Peace was made with France, and to seal the peace Henry married the
French princess, Katherine. A little son was born to them at Windsor,
and was called Henry of Windsor, Prince of Wales; he was afterwards
Henry the Sixth. When Henry the Fifth knew he was going to die, he
called his brothers together and gave them good advice about ruling
England and France, and begged them to take great care of his little
son. Henry the Sixth was not a year old when his father died, and he was
crowned at once.

One of the finest English poems we have, was written about the Battle of
Agincourt.


I.

          Fair stood the wind for France
          When we our sails advance,
          Nor now to prove our chance
              Longer will tarry;
          But putting to the main
          At Caux, the mouth of Seine,
          With all his martial train,
              Landed King Harry.


II.

          And turning to his men,
          Quoth our brave Harry then,
          Though they be one to ten,
              Be not amazed.
          Yet have we well begun;
          Battles so bravely won
          Have ever to the sun
              By fame been raised.


III.

          And for myself (quoth he)
          This my full rest shall be,
          England ne'er mourn for me,
              Nor more esteem me.
          Victor I will remain,
          Or on this earth lie slain,
          Never shall she sustain
              Loss to redeem me.


IV.

          Poitiers and Cressy tell
          When most their pride did swell,
          Under our swords they fell;
              No less our skill is
          Then when our grandsire great,
          Claiming the regal seat,
          By many a warlike feat
              Lopped the French lilies.


V.

          They now to fight are gone,
          Armour on armour shone,
          Drum now to drum did groan,
              To hear was wonder;
          That with the cries they make,
          The very earth did shake,
          Trumpet to trumpet spake,
              Thunder to thunder.


VI.

          With Spanish yew so strong,
          Arrows a cloth-yard long
          That like to serpents stung,
              Piercing the weather;
          None from his fellow starts,
          But playing manly parts,
          And like true English hearts,
              Stuck close together.


VII.

          When down their bows they threw
          And forth their bilbos drew,
          And on the French they flew,
              Not one was tardy;
          Arms were from shoulders sent,
          Scalps to the teeth were rent,
          Down the French peasants went--
              Our men were hardy.


VIII.

          This while our noble king,
          His broadsword brandishing,
          Down the French host did ding,
              As to o'erwhelm it.
          And many a deep wound lent
          His arms with blood besprent.
          And many a cruel dent
              Bruised his helmet.


IX.

          Upon Saint Crispin' day
          Fought was this noble fray.
          Which fame did not delay
            To England to carry.
          O when shall Englishmen
          With such acts fill a pen,
          Or England breed again
            Such a King Harry?



[Illustration: Father Tuck's "GOLDEN GIFT" AND "LITTLE LESSON" SERIES

Uniform with this Volume, and Published at the same Price.]

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Note: This edition did not contain a table of contents.
One was created to aid the reader.





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