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Title: With Spurs of Gold
       Heroes of Chivalry and their Deeds

Author: Frances Nimmo Greene
        Dolly Williams Kirk

Release Date: May 30, 2008 [EBook #25651]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Suzanne Shell, Janet Blenkinship and the Online
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"'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


Frances Nimmo Greene


Dolly Williams Kirk

Little, Brown, and Company

Copyright, 1905,
By Little, Brown, and Company

All rights reserved
Printed in the United States of America[Pg v]


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[Pg vi] 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[Pg vii] 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.[Pg viii]


"This is the Rule for the Gallant Knight"1
A Steed! A Steed!3
Roland and Oliver7
The Cid Rodrigo Diaz de Bivar51
The Cid's Wedding84
Godfrey and the First Crusade89
The Troubadour139
The Carrier Dove140
The Captive Knight141
Richard Cœur-de-Lion145
Richard's Lament196
The Last Crusader198
The Chevalier Bayard203
Sir Philip Sidney255
Sidney in Tournament291

[Pg ix]


[Pg x]

"'Ah, my ill-starred blade!' he cried; 'no longer may I be thy guardian!'"Frontispiece
The Knighting of the Cid59
"'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 Devereux266

[Pg xi]



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[Pg xii] 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[Pg xiii] 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[Pg xiv] 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.


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 be[Pg xv]came 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 ut[Pg xvi]terly 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,[Pg xvii] 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[Pg xviii] 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.


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[Pg xix] 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[Pg xx] 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[Pg xxi] 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 Cœur-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

[Pg 1]


[Pg 2]

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).
[Pg 3]


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).
[Pg 4]


[Pg 5]


"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."
[Pg 6]


[Pg 7]

"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[Pg 8] 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[Pg 9] 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[Pg 10] 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[Pg 11] 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.[Pg 12]

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[Pg 13] 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[Pg 14] 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.[Pg 15]

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[Pg 16] 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![Pg 17]

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.[Pg 18]

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[Pg 19] 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[Pg 20] 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[Pg 21] 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[Pg 22] 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.[Pg 23]

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[Pg 24] 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[Pg 25] 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."[Pg 26]

"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[Pg 27] 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.[Pg 28]

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 Charle[Pg 29]magne'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[Pg 30] 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[Pg 31] 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."[Pg 32]

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[Pg 33] 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[Pg 34] 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.[Pg 35] 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[Pg 36] 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[Pg 37] 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,"[Pg 38]—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[Pg 39] 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.[Pg 40]

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 gentle[Pg 41]ness, 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[Pg 42] 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[Pg 43] 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,[Pg 44]

"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.[Pg 45]

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.[Pg 46]

"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,[Pg 47] 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[Pg 48] 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.[Pg 49]


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.

[Pg 50]


[Pg 51]

(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,[Pg 52] 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,[Pg 53]

"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[Pg 54] 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[Pg 55] 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[Pg 56] 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[Pg 57] 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[Pg 58] 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.

"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[Pg 59] 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.

The Knighting of the Cid The Knighting of the Cid

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.[Pg 60]

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[Pg 61] 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 de[Pg 62]termined 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[Pg 63] 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[Pg 64] 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[Pg 65] 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[Pg 66] 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.[Pg 67]

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 ap[Pg 68]pointed, 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 un[Pg 69]dergo 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[Pg 70] 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[Pg 71] 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[Pg 72] 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 rene[Pg 73]gades, 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]

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[Pg 74] 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[Pg 75] 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.[Pg 76]

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 in[Pg 77]habitants. 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[Pg 78] 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.'[Pg 79]

"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[Pg 80] 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[Pg 81] 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[Pg 82] 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[Pg 83] 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."[Pg 84]


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;[Pg 85]
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."
[Pg 86]


[Pg 87]

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.

[Pg 88]


[Pg 89]

(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[Pg 90] 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[Pg 91] 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.[Pg 92] 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[Pg 93] 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[Pg 94] 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[Pg 95] 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,[Pg 96] 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[Pg 97] 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[Pg 98] 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!'"[Pg 99]

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.[Pg 100]

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[Pg 101] 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[Pg 102] 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[Pg 103] 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[Pg 104] 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[Pg 105] 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.[Pg 106]

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[Pg 107] 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.[Pg 108] 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.

[Pg 109]

"'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[Pg 110] 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,[Pg 111] 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[Pg 112] 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.[Pg 113]

"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[Pg 114] 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.[Pg 115]

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,[Pg 116] 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.[Pg 117]

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.[Pg 118]

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[Pg 119] 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[Pg 120] 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.[Pg 121] 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.[Pg 122]

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[Pg 123] 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,[Pg 124]

"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.[Pg 125]

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 de[Pg 126]cided 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[Pg 127] 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.[Pg 128]

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[Pg 129] 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[Pg 130] 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 sun[Pg 131]light. 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[Pg 132] 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[Pg 133] 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[Pg 134] 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[Pg 135] 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,[Pg 136] 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[Pg 137] 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[Pg 138] 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.[Pg 139]


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.
[Pg 140]


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.
[Pg 141]


'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.
[Pg 142]


[Pg 143]

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.
[Pg 144]


[Pg 145]

(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[Pg 146] 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,[Pg 147] 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.[Pg 148] 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[Pg 149] 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[Pg 150] 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!"[Pg 151]

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[Pg 152] 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.[Pg 153]

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.[Pg 154]

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,[Pg 155] 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[Pg 156] 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-[Pg 157]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 Cœur-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[Pg 158] 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[Pg 159] 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[Pg 160] 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[Pg 161] 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.[Pg 162]

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 (Ex[Pg 163]calibur), 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[Pg 164] 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:[Pg 165]

"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[Pg 166] 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[Pg 167] 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 Cœur-de-Lion, for[Pg 168] 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 Cœur-de-Lion has come; Acre will soon be ours!" was the universal cry.

But, alas! the hopes built on the arrival of Cœur-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[Pg 169] 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[Pg 170] 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[Pg 171] 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 Cœur-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[Pg 172] 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!"[Pg 173] 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[Pg 174] 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[Pg 175] 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[Pg 176] furiously into the midst of the infidels. Hundreds they slew, but their disobedient act threw the entire army into confusion.

Cœur-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[Pg 177] 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. Cœur-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[Pg 178] 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 Cœur-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[Pg 179] 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 Jeru[Pg 180]salem 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[Pg 181] 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[Pg 182] 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[Pg 183] 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[Pg 184] 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, Cœur-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[Pg 185] 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[Pg 186] 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,[Pg 187]

"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.[Pg 188]

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[Pg 189] 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:[Pg 190]

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

"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.

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[Pg 191] 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[Pg 192] 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 Cœur-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."[Pg 193]

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[Pg 194] 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."[Pg 195]

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.[Pg 196]


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,[Pg 197]
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.)
[Pg 198]


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!"[Pg 199]
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
[Pg 200]


[Pg 201] "The Adopted Son of Dame Courtesy"
"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."[Pg 202]


[Pg 203]


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 boy[Pg 204]hood 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[Pg 205] 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,[Pg 206]

"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[Pg 207] 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[Pg 208] 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,[Pg 209] 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,[Pg 210] 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."[Pg 211]

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[Pg 212] 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[Pg 213] 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[Pg 214] 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-[Pg 215]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[Pg 216] 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 acquit[Pg 217]ting 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[Pg 218] 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[Pg 219] 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,[Pg 220]

"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[Pg 221] 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."[Pg 222]

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[Pg 223] 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[Pg 224] 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[Pg 225] 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."[Pg 226]

"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[Pg 227] 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[Pg 228] 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.[Pg 229] 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[Pg 230] 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[Pg 231] 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[Pg 232] 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."[Pg 233]

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[Pg 234] 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[Pg 235] 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[Pg 236] 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.[Pg 237]

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 Eng[Pg 238]lish, 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.[Pg 239]

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.[Pg 240]

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.[Pg 241]

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,[Pg 242] 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[Pg 243] 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.[Pg 244]

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.[Pg 245]

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]

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[Pg 246] 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[Pg 247] 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;[Pg 248] 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[Pg 249] 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[Pg 250] 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!"

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[Pg 251] 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"

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 jus[Pg 252]tice 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.[Pg 253]


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

[Pg 254]


[Pg 255]

(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[Pg 256] 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[Pg 257] 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.[Pg 258]

"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[Pg 259] 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 Eliza[Pg 260]beth'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.[Pg 261]

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[Pg 262] 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,[Pg 263] 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[Pg 264]—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[Pg 265] 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:[Pg 266]

Sir Philip Sidney and Penelope Devereux Sir Philip Sidney and Penelope Devereux

"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.

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[Pg 267] 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.[Pg 268]

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[Pg 269] 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[Pg 270] 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.[Pg 271]

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.[Pg 272]

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[Pg 273] 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[Pg 274] 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[Pg 275] 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 sover[Pg 276]eign, 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[Pg 277] 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[Pg 278] 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[Pg 279] 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[Pg 280] 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[Pg 281] 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 unde[Pg 282]ceived. 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.[Pg 283] 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[Pg 284] 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[Pg 285] 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.[Pg 286]

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[Pg 287] 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[Pg 288] 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,[Pg 289] 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. With[Pg 290]out 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.


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."


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

[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."

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