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    Chapter 33

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    Chapter 33
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    THE Crusades were the mightiest or rather the most ambitious
    undertaking of the chivalry of Europe. From the year 1096 for more
    than a century the knights of all countries looked to the Holy Land as
    a field for winning their spurs and obtaining pardon of their sins.
    And it is most natural that in giving a picture of English chivalry as
    it is shown in history that we should give a description of King
    Richard's exploits in Palestine.
    In the last decade of the twelfth century Richard I. of England took
    the cross, which had come to him as a sort of legacy from his
    father, and sailed for Antioch, which was being besieged by the
    Christians, to assist in the war in the Holy Land. At the same time
    Philip Augustus of France and Frederick Barbarossa joined the
    Crusaders. Frederick was drowned in a river of Cilicia, and his
    force had so dwindled that when they reached Antioch hardly a tenth of
    the number were left that had started. Philip of France reached
    Antioch with his army, and there, as we shall learn later, he fought
    with the Turk and quarrelled with the Christian for a time, until he
    finally set sail for France without having accomplished the capture of
    the Holy City. As for Richard, he was not more successful, and
    although his deeds were so glorious as to cover him with honor, he was
    obliged to return home, leaving Jerusalem still in the hands of


    Now as the ships were proceeding, some being before others, two of
    the three first, driven by the violence of the winds, were broken on
    the rocks near the port of Cyprus the third, which was English, more
    speedy than they, having turned back into the deep, escaped the peril.
    Almost all the men of both ships got away alive to land, many of
    whom the hostile Cypriotes slew, some they took captive, some,
    taking refuge in a certain church, were besieged. Whatever also in the
    ships was cast up by the sea fell a prey to the Cypriotes. The
    prince also of that island coming up, received for his share the
    gold and the arms; and he caused the shore to be guarded by all the
    armed force he could summon together, that he might not permit the
    fleet which followed to approach, lest the king should take again what
    had been thus stolen from him. Above the port was a strong city, and
    upon a natural rock, a high and fortified castle. The whole of that
    nation was warlike and accustomed to live by theft. They placed
    beams and planks at the entrance of the port, across the passage,
    the gates, and entrances; and the whole land with one mind prepared
    themselves for a conflict with the English. God so willed that the
    cursed people should receive the reward of their evil deeds by the
    hands of one who would not spare. The third English ship, in which
    were the women, having cast out their anchors, rode out at sea, and
    watched all things from opposite, to report the misfortunes to the
    king,* lest haply, being ignorant of the loss and disgrace, he
    should pass the place unavenged. The next line of the king's ships
    came up after the other, and they are stopped at the first. A full
    report reached the king, who, sending heralds to the lord of the
    island, and obtaining no satisfaction, commanded his entire army to
    arm, from the first even to the last, and to get out of the great
    ships into the galleys and boats, and follow him to the shore. What he
    commanded was immediately performed; they came in arms to the port.
    The king being armed, leaped first from the galley, and gave the first
    blow in the war; but before he was able to strike a second he had
    three thousand of his followers with him striking away at his side.
    All the timber that had been placed as a barricade in the port was
    cast down instantly, and the brave fellows went up into, the city as
    ferocious as lionesses are wont to be when robbed of their young.
    The fight was carried on manfully against them, numbers fell wounded
    on both sides, and the swords of both parties were made drunk with
    blood. The Cypriotes are vanquished, the city is taken, with the
    castle besides; whatever the victors choose is ransacked; and the lord
    of the island is himself taken and brought to the king. He being
    taken, supplicates and obtains pardon; he offers homage to the king,
    and it is received; and he swears, though unasked, that henceforth
    be will hold the island of him as his liege lord, and will open all
    the castles of the land to him, and make satisfaction for the damage
    already done; and further bring presents of his own. On being
    dismissed after the oath, he is commanded to fulfil, the conditions in
    the morning.

    * Richard I. of England.

    That night the king remained peaceably in the castle; and his
    newly-sworn vassal, flying, retired to another castle, and caused
    the whole of the men of the land, who were able to bear arms, to be
    summoned to repair to him, and so they did. The king of Jerusalem,
    however, that same night landed in Cyprus, that he might assist the
    king and salute him, whose arrival he had desired above that of any
    other in the whole world. On the morrow the lord of Cyprus was
    sought for and found to have fled. The king seeing that he was abused,
    and having been informed where he was, directed the king of
    Jerusalem to follow the traitor by land with the best of the army,
    while he conducted the other part by water, intending to be in the way
    that he might not escape by sea. The divisions reassembled around
    the city in which he had taken refuge, and he, having sallied out
    against the king, fought with the English, and the battle was
    carried on sharply by both sides. The English would that day have been
    beaten had they not fought under the command of King Richard. They
    at length obtained a dear-bought victory, the Cypriote flies, and
    the castle is taken. The kings pursue him as before, the one by land
    and the other by water, and he is besieged in the third castle. Its
    walls are cast down by engines hurling huge stones; he, being
    overcome, promises to surrender, if only he might not be put in iron
    fetters. The king consents to the prayers of the supplicant, and
    caused silver shackles to be made for him. The prince of the pirates
    being thus taken, the king traversed the whole island, and took all
    its castles, and placed his constables in each, and constituted
    justiciaries and sheriffs, and the whole land was subjected to him
    in everything just like England. The gold, and the silks and the
    jewels from the treasuries that were broken open, he retained for
    himself; the silver and victuals he gave to the army. To the king of
    Jerusalem also he made a handsome present out of the booty.
    The king proceeding thence, came to the siege of Acre, and was
    welcomed by the besiegers with as great a joy as if it had been Christ
    that had come again on earth to restore the kingdom of Israel. The
    king of the French had arrived at Acre first, and was very highly
    esteemed by the natives; but on Richard's arrival he became obscured
    and without consideration, just as the moon is wont to relinquish
    her lustre at the rising of the sun.
    The king of the English, unused to delay, on the third day of his
    arrival at the siege, caused his wooden fortress, which he had
    called "Mate Grifun," when it was made in Sicily, to be built and
    set up, and before the dawn of the fourth day the machine stood
    erect by the walls of Acre, and from its height looked down upon the
    city lying beneath it; and there were thereon by sunrise archers
    casting missiles without intermission on the Turks and Thracians.
    Engines also for casting stones, placed in convenient positions,
    battered the walls with frequent volleys. More important than these,
    the sappers, making themselves a way beneath the ground, undermined
    the foundations of the walls; while soldiers, bearing shields,
    having planted ladders, sought an entrance over the ramparts. The king
    himself was running up and down through the ranks, directing some,
    reproving some, and urging others, and thus was he everywhere
    present with every one of them, so that whatever they all did ought
    properly to be ascribed to him. The king of the French also did not
    lightly assail them, making as bold an assault as he could on the
    tower of the city which is called Cursed.
    The renowned Carracois and Mestocus, after Saladin, the most
    powerful princes of the heathen, had at that time the charge of the
    besieged city, who, after a contest of many days, promised by their
    interpreters the surrender of the city, and a ransom for their
    heads; but the king of the English desired to subdue their obstinacy
    by force; and wished that the vanquished should pay their heads for
    the ransom of their bodies, but by the mediation of the king of the
    French their life and indemnity of limbs only was accorded, if,
    after the surrender of the city and yielding of everything they
    possessed, the Holy Cross should be given up.
    All the heathen warriors in Acre were chosen men, and were in number
    nine thousand; many of whom, swallowing many gold coins, made a
    purse of their stomachs, because they foresaw that whatever they had
    of any value would be turned against them, even against themselves, if
    they should again oppose the cross, and would only fall a prey to
    the victors. So all of them came out before the kings entirely
    disarmed, and outside the city, without money, were given into
    custody; and the kings, with triumphal banners, having entered the
    city, divided the whole with all its stores into two parts between
    themselves and their soldiers; the pontiff's seat alone its bishop
    received by their united gift. The captives, being divided, Mestocus
    fell by lot to the portion of the king of the English, and
    Carracois, as a drop of cold water, fell into the mouth of the thirsty
    Philip, king of the French.
    Messengers on the part of the captives having been sent to Saladin
    for their ransom, when the heathen could by no entreaty be moved to
    restore the Holy Cross, the king of the English beheaded all his, with
    the exception of Mestocus only, who on account of his nobility was
    spared, and declared openly, without any ceremony, that he would act
    in the same way toward Saladin himself.
    The king of the English, then, having sent for the commanders of the
    French, proposed that in the first place they should conjointly
    attempt Jerusalem itself; but the dissuasion of the French discouraged
    the hearts of both parties, dispirited the troops, and restrained
    the king, thus destitute of men, from his intended march on that
    metropolis. The king, troubled at this, though not despairing, from
    that day forth separated his army from the French, and directing his
    arms to the storming of castles along the seashore, he took every
    fortress that came in his way from Tyre to Ascalon, though after
    hard fighting and deep wounds.*

    * The preceding narrative is taken from the Chronicle of Richard
    of Devizes. What follows is from the Chronicle of Geoffrey de Vinsauf.

    On the Saturday, the eve of the Nativity of the blessed Virgin Mary,
    at earliest dawn, our men armed themselves with great care to
    receive the Turks, who were known to have preceded their march, and
    whose insolence nothing but a battle could check. The enemy had ranged
    themselves in order, drawing gradually nearer and nearer; and our
    men also took the utmost care to place themselves in as good order
    as possible. King Richard, who was most experienced in military
    affairs, arranged the army in squadrons, and directed who should march
    in front and who in the rear. He divided the army into twelve
    companies, and these again into five divisions, marshalled according
    as the men ranked in military discipline; and none could be found more
    warlike, if they had only had confidence in God, who is the giver of
    all good things. On that day the Templars formed the first rank, and
    after them came, in due order, the Bretons and men of Anjou; then
    followed King Guy, with the men of Pictou; and in the fourth line were
    the Normans and English, who had the care of the royal standard, and
    last of all marched the Hospitallers: this line was composed of chosen
    warriors, divided into companies. They kept together so closely that
    an apple, if thrown, would not have fallen to the ground without
    touching a man or a horse; and the army stretched from the army of
    Saracens to the seashore. There you might have seen their most
    appropriate distinctions,- standards, and ensigns of various forms,
    and hardy soldiers, fresh and full of spirits, and well fitted for
    war. Henry, Count of Champagne, kept guard on the mountain side, and
    maintained a constant lookout on the flank; the foot-soldiers, bowmen,
    and arbalesters were on the outside, and the rear of the army was
    closed by the post horses and wagons, which carried provisions and
    other things, and journeyed along between the army and the sea, to
    avoid an attack from the enemy.
    This was the order of the army, as it advanced gradually, to prevent
    separation; for the less close the line of battle, the less
    effective was it for resistance. King Richard and the Duke of
    Burgundy, with a chosen retinue of warriors, rode up and down,
    narrowly watching the position and manner of the Turks, to correct
    anything in their own troops, if they saw occasion, for they had need,
    at that moment, of the utmost circumspection.
    It was now nearly nine o'clock, when there appeared a large body
    of the Turks, ten thousand strong, coming down upon us at full charge,
    and throwing darts and arrows as far as they could, while they mingled
    their voices in one horrible yell. There followed after them an
    infernal race of men, of black color, and bearing a suitable
    appellation, expressive of their blackness. With them also were the
    Saracens, who live in the desert, called Bedouins; they are a savage
    race of men, blacker than soot; they fight on foot, and carry a bow,
    quiver, and round shield, and are a light and active race. These men
    dauntlessly attacked our army. Beyond these might be seen the
    well-arranged phalanxes of the Turks, with ensigns fixed to their
    lances, and standards and banners of separate distinctions. Their army
    was divided into troops, and the troops into companies, and their
    numbers seemed to exceed twenty thousand. They came on with
    irresistible charge, on horses swifter than eagles, and urged on
    like lightning to attack our men; and as they advanced they raised a
    cloud of dust, so that the air was darkened. In front came certain
    of their admirals, as it was their duty, with clarions and trumpets;
    some had horns, others had pipes and timbrels, gongs, cymbals, and
    other instruments, producing a horrible noise and clamor. The earth
    vibrated from the loud and discordant sounds, so that the crash of
    thunder could not be heard amidst the tumultuous noise of horns and
    trumpets. They did this to excite their spirit and courage, for the
    more violent their clamor became, the more bold were they for the
    fray. Thus the impious Turks threatened us, both on the side towards
    the sea and from the side of the land; and for the space of two
    miles not so much earth as could be taken up in one hand could be
    seen, on account of the hostile Turks who covered it. Oh, how
    obstinately they pressed on, and continued their stubborn attacks,
    so that our men suffered severe loss of their horses, which were
    killed by their darts and arrows. Oh, how useful to us on that day
    were our arbalesters and bowmen, who closed the extremities of the
    lines, and did their best to repel the obstinate Turks.
    The enemy came rushing down, like a torrent, to the attack; and many
    of our arbalesters, unable to restrain the weight of their terrible
    and calamitous charge, threw away their arms, and, fearing lest they
    should be shut out, took refuge, in crowds, behind the dense lines
    of the army; yielding through fear of death to sufferings which they
    could not support. Those whom shame forbade to yield, or the hope of
    an immortal crown sustained, were animated with greater boldness and
    courage to persevere in the contest, and fought with indefatigable
    valor face to face against the Turks, whilst they at the same time
    receded step by step, and so reached their retreat. The whole of
    that day, on account of the Turks pressing them closely from behind,
    they faced around and went on skirmishing, rather than proceeding on
    their march.
    Oh, how great was the strait they were in on that day! how great was
    their tribulation! when some were affected with fears, and no one
    had such confidence or spirit as not to wish, at that moment, he had
    finished his pilgrimage, and, had returned home, instead of standing
    with trembling heart the chances of a doubtful battle. In truth our
    people, so few in number, were so hemmed in by the multitudes of the
    Saracens, that they had no means of escape, if they tried; neither did
    they seem to have valor sufficient to withstand so many foes,- nay,
    they were shut in like a flock of sheep in the jaws of wolves, with
    nothing but the sky above, and the enemy all around them. O Lord
    God! what feelings agitated that weak flock of Christ! straitened by
    such a perplexity, whom the enemy pressed with such unabating vigor,
    as if they would pass them through a sieve. What army was ever
    assailed by so mighty a force? There you might have seen our troopers,
    having lost their chargers, marching on foot with the footmen, or
    casting missiles from the arbalests, or arrows from bows, against
    the enemy, and repelling their attacks in the best manner they were
    able. The Turks, skilled in the bow, pressed unceasingly upon them; it
    rained darts; the air was filled with the shower of arrows, and the
    brightness of the sun was obscured by the multitude of missiles, as if
    it had been darkened by a fall of winter's hail or snow. Our horses
    were pierced by the darts and arrows, which were so numerous that
    the whole face of the earth around was covered with them, and if any
    one wished to gather them up, he might take twenty of them in his hand
    at a time.
    The Turks pressed with such boldness that they nearly crushed the
    Hospitallers; on which the latter sent word to King Richard that
    they could not withstand the violence of the enemy's attack, unless he
    would allow their knights to advance at full charge against them. This
    the king dissuaded them from doing, but advised them to keep in a
    close body; they therefore persevered and kept together, though
    scarcely able to breathe for the pressure. By these means they were
    able to proceed on their way, though the heat happened to be very
    great on that day; so that they labored under two disadvantages,-
    the hot weather and the attacks of the enemy. These approved martyrs
    of Christ sweated in the contest; and he who could have seen them
    closed up in a narrow space, so patient under the heat and toil of the
    day and the attacks of the enemy, who exhorted each other to destroy
    the Christians, could not doubt in his mind that it augured ill to our
    success from their straitened and perilous position, hemmed in as they
    were by so large a multitude; for the enemy thundered at their backs
    as if with mallets, so that, having no room to use their bows, they
    fought hand to hand with swords, lances, and clubs, and the blows of
    the Turks, echoing from their metal armor, resounded as if they had
    been struck upon an anvil. They were now tormented with the heat,
    and no rest was allowed them. The battle fell heavy on the extreme
    line of the Hospitallers, the more so as they were unable to resist,
    but moved forward with patience under their wounds, returning not even
    a word for the blows which fell upon them, and advancing on their
    way because they were not able to bear the weight of the contest.
    Then they pressed on for safety upon the centre of the army which
    was in front of them, to avoid the fury of the enemy who harassed them
    in the rear. Was it wonderful that no one could withstand so
    continuous an attack, when he could not even return a blow to the
    numbers who pressed on him? The strength of all Paganism had
    gathered together from Damascus and Persia, from the Mediterranean
    to the East; there was not left in the uttermost recesses of the earth
    one man of fame or power, one nation's valor, or one bold soldier,
    whom the sultan had not summoned to his aid, either by entreaty, by
    money, or by authority, to crush the Christian race; for he presumed
    to hope he could blot them from the face of the earth; but his hopes
    were vain, for their numbers were sufficient, through the assistance
    of God, to effect their purpose. The flower of the chosen youth and
    soldiers of Christendom had indeed assembled together, and were united
    in one body, like ears of corn on their stalks, from every region of
    the earth; and if they had been utterly destroyed, there is no doubt
    that there were some left to make resistance.
    A cloud of dust obscured the air as our men marched on; and, in
    addition to the heat, they had an enemy pressing them in the rear,
    insolent, and rendered obstinate by the instigation of the devil.
    Still the Christians proved good men, and secure in their
    unconquerable spirit, kept constantly advancing, while the Turks
    threatened them without ceasing in the rear; but their blows fell
    harmless upon the defensive armor, and this caused the Turks to
    slacken in courage at the failure of their attempts, and they began to
    murmur in whispers of disappointment, crying out in their rage,
    "that our people were made of iron and would yield to no blow." Then
    the Turks, about twenty thousand strong, rushed again upon our men
    pell-mell, annoying them in every possible manner; when, as if
    overcome by their savage fury, brother Garnier de Napes, one of the
    Hospitallers, suddenly exclaimed with a loud voice, "O excellent St.
    George! will you leave us to be thus put to confusion? The whole of
    Christendom is now on the point of perishing, because it fears to
    return a blow against this impious race."
    Upon this the master of the Hospitallers went to the king, and
    said to him, "My lord the king, we are violently pressed by the enemy,
    and are in danger of eternal infamy, as if we did not dare to return
    their blows; we are each of us losing our horses one after another,
    and why should we bear with them any further?" To whom the king
    replied, "Good master, it is you who must sustain their attack; no one
    can be everywhere at once." On the master returning, the Turks again
    made a fierce attack on them from the rear, and there was not a prince
    or count amongst them but blushed with shame, and they said to each
    other, "Why do we not charge them at full gallop? Alas! alas! we shall
    forever deserve to be called cowards, a thing which never happened
    to us before, for never has such a disgrace befallen so great an army,
    even from unbelievers. Unless we defend ourselves by immediately
    charging the enemy we shall gain everlasting scandal, and so much
    the greater the longer we delay to fight." O, how blind is human fate!
    On what slippery points it stands! Alas, on how uncertain wheels
    doth it advance, and with what ambiguous success doth it unfold the
    course of human things! A countless multitude of the Turks would
    have perished if the aforesaid attempt had been orderly conducted; but
    to punish us for our sins, as it is believed, the potter's ware
    produces a paltry vessel instead of the grand design which he had
    conceived. For when they were treating on this point, and had come
    to the same decision about charging the enemy, two knights, who were
    impatient of delay, put everything in confusion. It had been
    resolved by common consent that the sounding of six trumpets in
    three different parts of the army should be a signal for a charge,
    viz., two in front, two in the rear, and two in the middle, to
    distinguish the sounds from those of the Saracens, and to mark the
    distance of each. If these orders had been attended to, the Turks
    would have been utterly discomfited; but from the too great haste of
    the aforesaid knights the success of the affair was marred.
    They rushed at full gallop upon the Turks, and each of them
    prostrated his man by piercing him through with his lance. One of them
    was the marshal of the Hospitallers, the other was Baldwin de
    Carreo, a good and brave man, and the companion of King Richard, who
    had brought him in his retinue. When the other Christians observed
    these two rushing forward, and heard them calling with a clear voice
    on St. George for aid, they charged the Turks in a body with all their
    strength; then the Hospitallers, who had been distressed all day by
    their close array, following the two soldiers, charged the enemy in
    troops, so that the van of the army became the rear from their
    position in the attack, and the Hospitallers, who had been the last,
    were the first to charge.
    The Count of Champagne also burst forward with his chosen company,
    and James d'Avennes with his kinsmen, and also Robert Count of
    Dreux, the bishop of Beauvais and his brother, as well as the Earl
    of Leicester, who made a fierce charge on the left towards the sea.
    Why need we name each? Those who were in the first line of the rear
    made a united and furious charge; after them the men of Poictou, the
    Bretons, and the men of Anjou, rushed swiftly onward, and then came
    the rest of the army in a body: each troop showed its valor, and
    boldly closed with the Turks, transfixing them with their lances,
    and casting them to the ground. The sky grew black with the dust
    that was raised in the confusion of that encounter. The Turks, who had
    purposely dismounted from their horses in order to take better aim
    at our men with their darts and arrows, were slain on all sides in
    that charge, for on being prostrated by the horse-soldiers they were
    beheaded by the foot-men. King Richard, on seeing his army in motion
    and in encounter with the Turks, flew rapidly on his horse at full
    speed through the Hospitallers, who had led the charge, and to whom he
    was bringing assistance with all his retinue, and broke into the
    Turkish infantry, who were astonished at his blows and those of his
    men, and gave way to the right and to the left.
    Then might be seen numbers prostrated on the ground, horses
    without their riders in crowds, the wounded lamenting with groans
    their hard fate, and others drawing their last breath, weltering in
    their gore, and many lay headless, whilst their lifeless forms were
    trodden under foot both by friend and foe. Oh, how different are the
    speculations of those who meditate amidst the columns of the
    cloister from the fearful exercise of war! There the king, the fierce,
    the extraordinary king, cut down the Turks in every direction, and
    none could escape the force of his arm, for wherever he turned,
    brandishing his sword, he carved a wide path for himself; and as he
    advanced and gave repeated strokes with his sword, cutting them down
    like a reaper with his sickle, the rest, warned by the sight of the
    dying, gave him more ample space, for the corpses of the dead Turks
    which lay on the face of the earth extended over half a mile. In fine,
    the Turks were cut down, the saddles emptied of their riders, and
    the dust which was raised by the conflict of the combatants proved
    very hurtful to our men, for on becoming fatigued from slaying so
    many, when they were retiring to take fresh air, they could not
    recognize each other on account of the thick dust, and struck their
    blows indiscriminately to the right and to the left; so that unable to
    distinguish friend from foe they took their own men for enemies and
    cut them down without mercy. Then the Christians pressed hard on the
    Turks, the latter gave way before them: but for a long time the battle
    was doubtful; they still exchanged blows, and either party strove
    for the victory; on both sides were seen some retreating, covered with
    wounds, while others fell slain to the ground.
    Oh, how many banners and standards of different forms, and pennons
    and many-colored ensigns, might there be seen torn and fallen on the
    earth; swords of proved steel, and lances made of cane with iron
    heads, Turkish bows, and maces bristling with sharp teeth, darts and
    arrows covering the ground, and missiles enough to load twenty
    wagons or morel There lay the headless trunks of the Turks who had
    perished, whilst others retained their courage for a time until our
    men increased in strength, when some of them concealed themselves in
    the copses, some climbed up trees, and, being shot with arrows, fell
    with a fearful groan to the earth; others, abandoning their horses,
    betook themselves by slippery footpaths to the seaside, and tumbled
    headlong into the waves from the precipitous cliffs that were five
    poles in height. The rest of the enemy were repulsed in so wonderful a
    manner that for the space of two miles nothing could be seen but
    fugitives, although they had before been so obstinate and fierce,
    and puffed up with pride; but by God's grace their pride was
    humbled, and they continued still to fly, for when our men ceased
    the pursuit fear alone added wings to their feet. Our army had been
    ranged in divisions when they attacked the Turks; the Normans and
    English also, who had the care of the standard, came up slowly towards
    the troops which were fighting with the Turks,- for it was very
    difficult to disperse the enemy's strength, and they stopped at a
    short distance therefrom, that all might have a rallying point. On the
    conclusion of the slaughter our men paused; but the fugitives, to
    the number of twenty thousand, when they saw this, immediately
    recovering their courage, and armed with maces, charged the hindmost
    of those who were retiring, and rescued some from our men who had,
    just struck them down.
    Oh, how dreadfully were our men then pressed! for the darts and
    arrows, thrown at them as they were falling back, broke the heads,
    arms, and other limbs of our horsemen, so that they bent, stunned,
    to their saddle-bows; but having quickly regained their spirits and
    resumed their strength, and thirsting for vengeance with greater
    eagerness, like a lioness when her whelps are stolen, they charged the
    enemy, and broke through them like a net. Then you might have seen the
    horses with their saddles displaced, and the Turks, who had but just
    now fled, returning, and pressing upon our people with the utmost
    fury; every cast of their darts would have told had our men kept
    marching, and not stood still in a compact, immovable body. The
    commander of the Turks was an admiral, named Tekedmus, a kinsman of
    the sultan, having a banner with a remarkable device; namely that of a
    pair of breeches carved thereon, a symbol well known to his men. He
    was a most cruel persecutor, and a persevering enemy of the
    Christians; and he had under his command seven hundred chosen Turks of
    great valor, of the household troops of Saladin, each of whose
    companies bore a yellow banner with pennons of a different color.
    These men, coming at full charge, with clamor and haughty bearing,
    attacked our men, who were turning off from them towards the standard,
    cutting at them, and piercing them severely, so that even the firmness
    of our chiefs wavered under the weight of the pressure; yet our men
    remained immovable, compelled to repel force by force. And the
    conflict grew thicker, the blows were redoubled, and the battle
    waxed fiercer than before: the one side labored to crush, the other to
    repel; both exerted their strength, and although our men were by far
    the fewest in numbers, they made havoc of great multitudes of the
    enemy; and that portion of the army which thus toiled in the battle
    could not return to the standard with ease, on account of the
    immense mass which pressed upon them so severely; for thus hemmed in
    they began to flag in courage, and but few dared to renew the attack
    of the enemy. In truth, the Turks were furious in the assault, and
    greatly distressed our men, whose blood poured forth in a stream
    beneath their blows. On perceiving them reel and give way, William
    de Barris, a renowned knight, breaking through the ranks, charged
    the Turks with his men; and such was the vigor of the onset that
    some fell by the edge of his sword, while others only saved themselves
    by rapid flight. For all that, the king, mounted on a bay Cyprian
    steed, which had not its match, bounded forward in the direction of
    the mountains, and scattered those he met on all sides; for the
    enemy fled from his sword and gave way, while helmets tottered beneath
    it, and sparks flew forth from its strokes. So great was the fury of
    his onset, and so many and deadly his blows that day, in his
    conflict with the Turks, that in a short space of time the enemy
    were all scattered, and allowed our army to proceed; and thus our men,
    having suffered somewhat, at last returned to the standard, and
    proceeded on their march as far as Arsur, and there they pitched their
    tents outside its walls.
    While they were thus engaged a large body of the Turks made an
    attack on the extreme rear of our army. On hearing the noise of the
    assailants, King Richard, encouraging his men to battle, rushed at
    full speed, with only fifteen companions, against the Turks, crying
    out, with a loud voice, "Aid us, O God! and the Holy Sepulchre!" and
    this he exclaimed a second and a third time; and when our men heard it
    they made haste to follow him, and attacked, routed, and put them to
    flight; pursuing them as far as Arsur, whence they had first come out,
    cutting them down and subduing them. Many of the Turks fell there
    also. The king returned thence from the slaughter of the fugitives
    to his camp; and the men, overcome with the fatigue and exertions of
    the day, rested quietly that night.
    Whoever was greedy of gain, and wished to plunder the booty,
    returned to the place of battle, and loaded himself to his heart's
    desire; and those who returned from thence reported that they had
    counted thirty-two Turkish chiefs who were found slain on that day,
    and whom they supposed to be men of great influence and power from the
    splendor of their armor and the costliness of their apparel. The Turks
    also made search for them to carry them away as being of the most
    importance; and besides these the Turks carried off seven thousand
    mangled bodies of those who were next in rank, besides of the wounded,
    who went off in straggling parties; and when their strength failed lay
    about the fields and died. But by the protection of God we did not
    lose a tenth, nor a hundredth part so many as fell in the Turkish
    army. Oh, the disasters of that day! Oh, the trials of the warriors!
    for the tribulations of the just are many. Oh, mournful calamity and
    bitter distress. How great must have been the blackness of our sins to
    require so fiery an ordeal to purify it, for if we had striven to
    overcome the urgent necessity by pious long-suffering, and without a
    murmur, the sense of our obligations would have been deeper.
    And again the Christians were put in great peril, in the following
    manner. At the siege of Joppa a certain depraved set of men among
    the Saracens, called Menelones of Aleppo and Cordivi, an active
    race, met together to consult what should be done in the existing
    state of things. They spoke of the scandal which lay against them,
    that so small an army, without horses, had driven them out of Joppa,
    and they reproached themselves with cowardice and shameful baseness,
    and arrogantly made a compact among themselves that they would seize
    King Richard in his tent, and bring him before Saladin, from whom they
    would receive a most munificent reward.
    So they prepared themselves in the middle of the night to surprise
    the king, and sallied forth armed, by the light of the moon,
    conversing with one another about the object they had in hand. Oh,
    hateful race of unbelievers! they are anxiously bent upon seizing
    Christ's steadfast soldier while he is asleep. They rush on in numbers
    to seize him, unarmed and apprehensive of no danger. They were not far
    from his tent, and were preparing to lay hands on him, when, lo! the
    God of mercy, who never neglects those who trust in Him, and acts in a
    wonderful manner even to those who know Him not, sent the spirit of
    discord among the aforesaid Cordivi and Menelones. The Cordivi said,
    "You shall go in on foot to take the king and his followers, whilst we
    will remain on horseback to prevent their escaping into the castle."
    But the Menelones replied, "Nay, it is your place to go in on foot,
    because our rank is higher than yours; but this service on foot
    belongs to you rather than us." Whilst thus the two parties were
    contending which of them were the greatest, their combined dispute
    caused much delay; and when at last they came to a decision how
    their nefarious attempt should be achieved, the dawn of the day
    appeared, viz., the Wednesday next following the feast of St. Peter ad
    vincula. But now by the providence of God, who had decreed that his
    holy champion should not be seized whilst asleep by the infidels, a
    certain Genoese was led by the divine impulse to go out early in the
    morning into the fields, where he was alarmed by the noise of men
    and horses advancing, and returned speedily, but just had time to
    see helmets reflecting back the light which now fell upon them. He
    immediately rushed with speed into the camp, calling out, "To arms! to
    arms!" The king was awakened by the noise, and leaping startled from
    his bed, put on his impenetrable coat of mail, and summoned his men to
    the rescue.
    God of all mercies! lives there a man who would not be shaken by
    such a sudden alarm? The enemy rushed unawares, armed against unarmed,
    many against few, for our men had no time to arm or even to dress
    themselves. The king himself, therefore, and many others with him,
    on the urgency of the moment, proceeded without their cuishes to the
    fight, some even without their breeches, and they armed themselves
    in the best manner they could, though they were going to fight the
    whole day. Whilst our men were thus arming in haste, the Turks drew
    near, and the king mounted his horse, with only ten other knights with
    him. These alone had horses, and some even of them had base and
    impotent horses, unused to arms; the common men were drawn skilfully
    out in ranks and troops, with each a captain to command them. The
    knights were posted nearer to the sea, having the church of St.
    Nicholas on the left, because the Turks had directed their principal
    attack on that quarter, and the Pisans and Genoese were posted
    beyond the suburban gardens, having other troops mingled with them.
    Oh, who could fully relate the terrible attacks of the infidels? The
    Turks at first rushed on with horrid yells, hurling their javelins and
    shooting their arrows. Our men prepared themselves as they best
    could to receive their furious attack, each fixing his right knee in
    the ground, that so they might the better hold together and maintain
    their position; whilst there the thighs of their left legs were
    bent, and their left hands held their shields or bucklers; stretched
    out before them in their right hands they held their lances, of
    which the lower ends were fixed in the ground, and their iron heads
    pointed threateningly towards the enemy.
    Between every two of the men who were thus covered with their
    shields, the king, versed in arms, placed an arbalester, and another
    behind him to stretch the arbalest as quickly as possible, so that the
    man in front might discharge his shot whilst the other was loading.
    This was found to be of much benefit to our men, and did much harm
    to the enemy. Thus everything was prepared as well as the shortness of
    the time allowed, and our little army was drawn up in order. The
    king ran along the ranks, and exhorted every man to be brave and not
    to flinch. "Courage, my brave men," said he; "and let not the attack
    of the enemy disturb you. Bear up against the powers of fortune, and
    you will rise above them. Everything may be borne by brave men;
    adversity sheds a light upon the virtues of mankind. as certainly as
    prosperity casts over them a shade; there is no room for flight, for
    the enemy surround us, and to attempt to flee is to provoke certain
    death. Be brave, therefore, and let the urgency of the case sharpen up
    your valor; brave men should either conquer nobly or gloriously die.
    Martyrdom is a boon which we should receive with willing mind; but
    before we die, let us, whilst still alive, do what we may to avenge
    our deaths, giving thanks to God that it has been our lot to die
    martyrs. This will be the end of our labors, the termination of our
    life and of our battles. These words were hardly spoken, when the
    hostile army rushed with ferocity upon them, in seven troops, each
    of which contained about a thousand horse. Our men received their
    attack with their right feet planted firm against the sand, and
    remained immovable. Their lances formed a wall against the enemy,
    who would have assuredly broken through, if our men had in the least
    given way.
    The first line of the Turks, perceiving, as they advanced, that
    our men stood immovable, recoiled a little, when our men plied them
    with a shower of missiles, slaying large numbers of men and horses.
    Another line of Turks at once came on in like manner, and were again
    encountered and driven back. In this way the Turks came on like a
    whirlwind, again and again, making the appearance of an attack, that
    our men might be induced to give way, and when they were close up they
    turned their horses off in another direction. The king and his
    knights, who were on horseback, perceiving this, put spurs to their
    horses, and charged into the middle of the enemy, upsetting them right
    and left, and piercing a large number through the body with their
    lances; at last they pulled up their horses, because they found that
    they had penetrated entirely through the Turkish lines. The king,
    now looking about him, saw the noble earl of Leicester fallen from his
    horse, and fighting bravely on foot. No sooner did he see this, than
    he rushed to his rescue, snatched him out of the hands of the enemy,
    and replaced him on his horse. What a terrible combat was then
    waged! A multitude of Turks advanced, and used every exertion to
    destroy our small army; vexed at our success, they rushed toward the
    royal standard of the lion, for they would rather have slain the
    king than a thousand others. In the midst of the melee the king saw
    Ralph de Mauleon dragged off prisoner by the Turks, and spurring his
    horse to speed, in a moment released him from their hands, and
    restored him to the army; for the king was a very giant in the battle,
    and was everywhere in the field,- now here, now there, wherever the
    attacks of the Turks raged the hottest. So bravely did he fight,
    that there was no one, however gallant, that would not readily and
    deservedly yield to him the pre-eminence. On that day he performed the
    most gallant deeds on the furious army of the Turks, and slew
    numbers with his sword, which shone like lightning; some of them
    were cloven in two, from their helmet to their teeth, whilst others
    lost their heads, arms, and other members, which were lopped off at
    a single blow. While the king was thus laboring with incredible
    exertions in the fight, a Turk advanced towards him, mounted on a
    foaming steed. He had been sent by Saphadin of Archadia, brother to
    Saladin, a liberal and munificent man, if he had not rejected the
    Christian faith. This man now sent to the king, as a token of his
    well-known honorable character, two nobles horses, requesting him
    earnestly to accept them, and make use of them, and if he returned
    safe and sound out of that battle, to remember the gift and recompense
    it in any manner he pleased. The king readily received the present,
    and afterwards nobly recompensed the giver. Such is bravery,
    cognizable even in an enemy; since a Turk, who was our bitter foe,
    thus honored the king for his distinguished valor. The king,
    especially at such a moment of need, protested that he would have
    taken any number of horses equally good from any one even more a foe
    than Saphadin, so necessary were they to him at that moment. Fierce
    now raged the fight, when such numbers attacked so few; the whole
    earth was covered with the javelins and arrows of the unbelievers;
    they threw them, several at a time, at our men, of whom many were
    wounded. Thus the weight of battle fell heavier up on us than
    before, and the galleymen withdrew in the galleys which brought
    them; and so, in their anxiety to be safe, they sacrificed their
    character for bravery. Meanwhile a shout was raised by the Turks, as
    they strove who should first occupy the town, hoping to slay those
    of our men whom they should find within. The king, hearing the clamor,
    taking with him only two knights and two crossbow-men, met three
    Turks, nobly caparisoned, in one of the principal streets. Rushing
    bravely upon them, he slew the riders in his own royal fashion, and
    made booty of two horses. The rest of the Turks who were found in
    the town were put to the rout in spite of their resistance, and
    dispersing in different directions, sought to make their escape,
    even where there was no regular road. The king also commanded the
    parts of the walls which were broken down to be made good, and
    placed sentinels to keep watch lest the town should be again attacked.
    These matters settled, the king went down to the shore, where many
    of our men had taken refuge on board the galleys. These the king
    exhorted by the most cogent arguments to return to the battle, and
    share with the rest whatever might befall them. Leaving five men as
    guards on board each galley, the king led back the rest to assist
    his hard-pressed army, and he no sooner arrived than with all his fury
    he fell upon the thickest ranks of the enemy, driving them back and
    routing them, so that even those who were at a distance and
    untouched by him were overwhelmed by the throng of the troops as
    they retreated, Never was there such an attack made by an
    individual. He pierced into the middle of the hostile army, and
    performed the deeds of a brave and distinguished warrior. The Turks at
    once closed upon him, and tried to overwhelm him. In the meantime
    our men, losing sight of the king, were fearful lest he should have
    been slain, and when one of them proposed that they should advance
    to find him, our lines could hardly contain themselves. But if by
    any chance the disposition of our troops had been broken, without
    doubt they would all have been destroyed. What, however, was to be
    thought of the king, who was hemmed in by the enemy, a single man
    opposed to so many thousands? The hand of the writer faints to see it,
    and the mind of the reader to hear it. Who ever heard of such a man?
    His bravery was ever of the highest order, no adverse storm could sink
    it; his valor was ever becoming, and if we may from a few instances
    judge of many, it was ever indefatigable in war. Why then do we
    speak of the valor of Antaeus, who regained his strength every time he
    touched his mother earth, for Antaeus perished when he was lifted up
    from the earth in the long wrestling match. The body of Achilles also,
    who slew Hector, was invulnerable, because he was dipped in the
    Stygian waves; yet Achilles was mortally wounded in the very part by
    which he was held when they dipped him. Likewise Alexander, the
    Macedonian, who was stimulated by ambition to subjugate the whole
    world, undertook a most difficult enterprise, and with a handful of
    choice soldiers fought many celebrated battles, but the chief part
    of his valor consisted of the excellence of his soldiers. In the
    same manner the brave Judas Maccabeus, of whom all the world
    discoursed, performed many wonderful deeds worthy forever to be
    remembered, but when he was abandoned by his soldiers in the midst
    of a battle, with thousands of enemies to oppose him, he was slain,
    together with his brothers. But King Richard, inured to battle from
    his tenderest years, and to whom even famous Roland could not be
    considered equal, remained invincible, even in the midst of the enemy;
    and his body, as if it were made of brass, was impenetrable to any
    kind of weapon. In his right hand he brandished his sword, which in
    its rapid descent broke the ranks on either side of him. Such was
    his energy amid that host of Turks that, fearing nothing, he destroyed
    all around him, mowing men down with his scythe as reapers mow down
    the corn with their sickles. Who could describe his deeds? Whoever
    felt one of his blows had no need of a second. Such was the energy
    of his courage that it seemed to rejoice at having found an occasion
    to display itself. The sword wielded by his powerful hand cut down men
    and horses alike, cleaving them to the middle. The more he was himself
    separated from his men, and the more the enemy sought to overwhelm
    him, the more did his valor shine conspicuous. Among other brave deeds
    which he performed on that occasion he slew by one marvellous stroke
    an admiral, who was conspicuous above the rest of the enemy by his
    rich caparisons. This man by his gestures seemed to say that he was
    going to do something wonderful, and whilst he reproached the rest
    with cowardice he put spurs to his horse and charged full against
    the king, who, waving his sword as he saw him coming, smote off at a
    single blow not only his head, but his shoulder and right arm. The
    Turks were terror-struck at the sight, and, giving way on all sides,
    scarcely dared to shoot at him from a distance with their arrows.
    The king now returned safe and unhurt to his friends, and encouraged
    them more than ever with the hope of victory. How were their minds
    raised from despair when they saw him coming safe out of the enemy's
    ranks! They knew not what had happened to him, but they knew that
    without him all the hopes of the Christian army would be in vain.
    The king's person was stuck all over with javelins, like a deer
    pierced by the hunters, and the trappings of his horse were thickly
    covered with arrows. Thus, like a brave soldier, he returned from
    the contest, and a bitter contest it was, for it had lasted from the
    morning sun to the setting sun. It may seem wonderful and even
    incredible, that so small a body of men endured so long a conflict;
    but by God's mercy we cannot doubt the truth of it, for in that battle
    only one or two of our men were slain. But the number of the Turkish
    horses that lay dead on the field is said to have exceeded fifteen
    hundred; and of the Turks themselves more than seven hundred were
    killed, and yet they did not carry back King Richard, as they had
    boasted, as a present to Saladin; but, on the contrary, he and his
    horse performed so many deeds of valor in the sight of the Turks
    that the enemy shuddered to behold him.
    In the meantime our men having by God's grace escaped destruction,
    the Turkish army returned to Saladin, who is said to have ridiculed
    them by asking where Melech Richard was, for they had promised to
    bring him a prisoner? "Which of you," continued he "first seized
    him, and where is he? Why is he not produced?" To whom one of the
    Turks that came from the furthest countries of the earth replied,
    "In truth, my lord, Melech Richard, about whom you ask, is not here;
    we have never heard since the beginning of the world that there ever
    was such a knight, so brave and so experienced in arms. In every
    deed of arms he is ever the foremost; in deeds he is without a
    rival, the first to advance and the last to retreat; we did our best
    to seize him, but in vain, for no man can escape from his sword; his
    attack is dreadful; to engage with him is fatal, and his deeds are
    beyond human nature."

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