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Boling. Go, some of you, convey him to the Tower.
K. Rich. O, good! Convey 1-Conveyers are you all,
[Ex. K. Richard, some Lords, and a Guard.
117.-HOW SIR JOHN FROISSART ARRIVED IN ENGLAND.
FROISSART. [From Lord Berners's Translation.]
True it was, that I Sir John Froissart, (as at that time treasurer and canon of Chimay, in the earldom of Hainault, in the diocese of Liege), had great affection to go and see the realm of England, when I had been in Abbeville, and saw that truce was taken between the realms of England and France, and other countries to them conjoined, and their adherents, to endure four years by sea and by land. Many reasons moved me to make that voyage ; one was, because in my youth I had been brought up in the court of the noble king Edward the Third, and of queen Philippa his wife, and among their children, and other barons of England, that as then were alive, in whom I found all nobleness, honour, largess, and courtesy; therefore I desired to see the country, thinking thereby I should live much the longer, for I had not been there twenty-seven years before, and I thought, though I saw not those lords that I left alive there, yet at the least I should see their heirs, the which should do me mach good to see, and also to justify the histories and matters that I had written of them : and or I took my journey, I spoke with duke Aubert of Baviere, and with the earl of Hainault, Holland, Zeland, and lord of Freese, and with my lord William earl of Ostrevaunt, and with my right honourable lady Jane duchess of Brabant and of Luxembourg, and with the lord Engerant, lord Coucy, and with the gentle knight the lord of Gomegynes, who in his youth and mine had been together in England in the king's court; in likewise so had I seen there the lord of Coucy, and divers others nobles of France, holden great housholds in London, when they lay there in hostage for the redemption of king John, as then French king, as it hath been shewed here before in this history.
These said lords and the duchess of Brabant, counselled me to take this journey, and gave me letters of recommendation to the king of England and to his uncles, saving the lord Coucy ; he would not write to the king because he was a Frenchman, therefore he durst not, but to his daughter, who as then was called duchess of Ireland ; and I had engrossed in a fair book well enlumined, all the matters of amours and moralities, that in four and twenty years before I had made and compiled, which greatly quickened my desire to go into England to see king Richard, who was son to the noble prince of Wales and of Aquitaine, for I had not seen this king Richard sith he was christened in the Cathedral church of Bourdeaux, at which time I was there, and thought to have gone with the prince the journey into Galicia in Spain ; and when we were in the city of Aste,* the prince sent me back into England, to the queen his mother.
For these causes and other I had great desire to go into England to see the king and his uncles. Also I had this said fair book well covered with velvet, garnished with clasps of silver and gilt, thereof to make a present to the king at my first coming to his presence ; I had such desire to go this voyage, that the pain and travail grieved me nothing. Thus provided of horses and other necessaries, I passed the sea at Calais, and came to Dover, the 12th day of the month of July (1395); when I came there I found no man of my knowledge, it was so long sith I had
been in England, and the houses were all newly changed, and young children were become men, and the women knew me not, nor I them ; so I abode half a day and all a night at Dover ; it was on a Tuesday, and the next day by nine of the clock I came to Canterbury, to Saint Thomas' Shrine, and to the tomb of the noble prince of Wales, who is there interred right richly; there I heard mass, and made mine offering to the holy saint, and then dined at my lodging; and there I was informed how king Richard should be there the next day on pilgrimage, which was after his return out of Ireland, where he had been the space of nine months or there about: the king had a devotion to visit Saint Thomas' shrine, and also because the prince his father was there buried : then I thought to abide the king there, and so I did; and the next day the king came thither with a noble company of lords, ladies, and damoselles : and when I was among them they seemed to me all new folks, I knew no person ; the time was sore changed in twenty-seven years, and with the king as then was none of his uncles ; the duke of Lancaster was in Aquitaine, and the dukes of York and Gloucester were in other businesses, so that I was at the first all abashed, for if I had seen any ancient knight that had been with king Edward, or with the prince, I had been well recomforted and would have gone to him, but I could see none such. Then I demanded for a knight called Sir Richard Stury, whether he were alive or not ? and it was shewed me yes, but he was at London. Then I thought to go to the Lord Thomas Percy, great seneschal of England, who was there with the king: so I acquainted me with him, and I found him right honourable and gracions, and he offered to present me and my letters to the king, whereof I was right joyful, for it behoved me to have some means to bring me to the presence of such a prince as the king of England was ; he went to the king's chamber, at which time the king was gone to sleep, and so he shewed me, and bade me return to my lodging and come again, and so I did ; and when I came to the bishop's palace, I found the Lord Thomas Percy ready to ride to Ospring, and he counseled me to make as then no knowledge of my being there, but to foilow the court : and said he would cause me ever to be well lodged till the king should be at the fair castle of Leeds, in Kent. I ordered me after his counsel and rode before to Ospring; and by adventure I was lodged in an house where was lodged a gentle knight of England, called Sir William Lisle ; he was tarried there behind the king, because he had pain in his head all the night before: he was one of the king's privy chamber; and when he saw that I was a stranger, and as he thought, of the marches of France, because of my language, we fell in acquaintance together: for gentlemen of England are courteous, tractable, and glad of acquaintance; then he demanded what I was, and what business I had to do in those parts ; I shewed him a great part of my coming thither, and all that the Lord Thomas Percy had said to me, and ordered me to do. He then answered and said, how I could not have a better mean, and that on the Friday the king should be at the castle of Leeds; and he shewed me that when I came there, I should find there the Duke of York, the king's uncle, whereof I was right glad, because I had letters directed to him, and also that in his youth he had seen me, in the court of the noble king Edward his father, and with the queen his mother. Then on the Friday in the morning Sir William Lisle and I rode together, and on the way I demanded of him if he had been with the king in the voyage into Ireland. He answered me yes. Then I demanded of him the manner of the hole that is in Ireland, called Saint Patrick's Purgatory, if it were true that was said of it or not. Then he said, that of a surety such a hole there was, and that he himself and another knight of England had been there while the king lay at Duvelin,* and said how they entered into the
hole and were closed in at the sun going down, and abode there all night, and the next morning issued out again at the sun rising. Then ! demanded if he had any such strange
sights or visions as were spoken of. Then he said how that when he and his fellow were entered and past the gate that was called the Purgatory of Saint Patrick, and that they were descended and gone down three or four paces, descending down as into a cellar, a certain hot vapour rose against them, and strake so into their heads, that they were fain to sit down on the stairs, which are of stone; and after they had sat there a season, they had great desire to sleep, and so fell asleep and slept there all night. Then I demanded that if in their sleep they knew where they were, or what visions they had. He answered me, that in sleeping they entered into great imaginations and in marvellous dreams, otherwise than they were wont to have in their chambers : and in the morning they issued out, and within a short season clean forgat their dreams and visions, wherefore he said he thought all that matter was but a fantasy. Then I left speaking any further of that matter, because I would fain have known of him what was done in the voyage in Ireland : and I thought as then to have demanded what the king had done in that journey; but then company of other knights came and fell in communication with him, so that I left my purpose for that time. Thus we rode to Leeds, and thither came the king, and all his company, and there I fonnd the Lord Edmond Duke of York. Then I went to him and delivered my letters from the earl of Hainault his cousin, and from the earl of Ostrevant. The duke knew me well, and made me good cheer, and said : Sir John, hold you always near to us, and we shall shew you love and courtesy : we are bound thereto for the love of time past, and for love of my lady the old queen my mother, in whose court ye were, we have good remembrance thereof. Then I thanked him as reason required. So I was advanced by reason of him and Sir Thomas Percy, and Sir William Lisle ; by their means I was brought into the king's chamber, and into his presence by means of his uncle the duke of York. Then I delivered my letters to the king, and he took and read them at good leisure. Then he said to me that I was welcome, as he that had been and is of the English court. As on that day I shewed not the king the book that I had brought for him, he was so sore occupied with great affairs, that I had as then no leisure to present my book.
On the Sunday following all such as had been there were departed, and all their councillors, except the duke of York, who abode still about the king; and the Lord Thomas Percy and Sir Richard Stury shewed my business to the king. Then the king desired to see my book that I had brought for him: so he saw it in his chamber, for I had laid it there ready on his bed. When the king opened it, it pleased him well
, for it was fair enlumined and written, and covered with crimson velvet, with ten buttons of silver and gilt, and roses of gold in the midst, with two great clasps gilt, richly wrought. Then the king demanded me whereof it treated, and I shewed him how it treated matters of love; whereof the king was glad and looked in it, and read it in many places, for he could speak and read French very well; and he took it to a knight of his chamber, named Sir Richard Creadon, to bear it into his secret chamber.
118.—THE CONQUEST OF IRELAND.
FROISSART. The same Sunday I fell in acquaintance with a squire of England, called Henry Cristall ; an honest man and a wise, and could well speak French : he companied with me, because he saw the king and other lords made me good cheer, and also he had seen the book that I gave to the king ; also Sir Richard Stury had shewed him how I was a maker of histories. Then he said to me as hereafter followeth. Sir John, quoth he, have ye not found in the king's court sith ye came hither no man that hath told you of the voyage that the king made but late into Ireland, and in what manner the four kings of Ireland are come into the obeisance of the king of England ? and I answered, no. Then shall I shew you, quoth the squire, to the intent that ye may put it in perpetual memory, when ye return into your own country, and have leisure thereto. I was rejoiced of his words, and thanked him. Then he began thus, and said : Sir John, it is not in memory that either any king of England made such appareil and provision for any journey to make war against the Irishmen, nor such a number of men of arms nor archers. The king was nine months in the marches of Ireland, to his great cost and charge to the realm, for they bare all his expenses ; and the merchants, cities, and good towns of the realm thought it well bestowed, when they saw the king return home again with honour. The number that he had thither, gentlemen and archers, were four thousand knights, and thirty thousand archers, well paid weekly, that every man was well pleased; but I shew you, because ye should know the truth, Ireland is one of the evil countries of the world to make war upon, or to bring under subjection, for it is closed strongly and widely with high forests, and great waters and marshes, and inhabitable ; it is hard to enter to do them of the country any damage, nor ye shall find no town nor person to speak withal, for the men draw to the woods, and dwell in caves and small cottages, under trees and among bushes and hedges, like wild savage beasts : and when they know that any man maketh war against them, and is entered into their countries, then they draw together to the straits and passages, and defend it, so that no man can enter into them; and when they see their time, they will soon take their advantage on their enemies, for they know the country and are light people : for a man of arms being never so well horsed, and run as fast as he can, the Irishman will run a foot as fast as he and overtake him, yea, and leap up upon his horse behind him, and draw him from his horse : for they are strong men in the arms, and have sharp weapons with large blades with two edges, after the manner of dart heads, wherewith they will slay their enemy; and they repute not a man dead till they have cut his throat and open his belly and taken out his heart, and carry it away with them : some say, such as know their nature, that they do eat it, and have great delight therein : they take no man to ransom; and when they see at any encounter that they be overmatched, then they will depart asunder, and go and hide themselves in bushes, woods, hedges, and caves, so that no man shall find them; also Sir William of Windsor, who hath most used the wars in those parts of any other Englishman, yet he could never learn the manner of the country, nor know their conditions. They be hard people, and of rude engin and wit, and of divers frequentations and usage ; they set nothing by jollity nor fresh apparel, nor by nobleness : for though their realm be sovereignly governed by kings, whereof they have plenty, yet they will take no knowledge of gentleness, but will continue in their rudeness, according as they are brought up. Truth it is, that four of the principal kings and most puissant, after the manner of the country, are come to the obeisance of the king of England by love and fairness, and not by battle nor constraint. The earl of Ormond, who marcheth upon them,
hath taken great pain, and hath so treated with them, that they came to Duvelin * to the king, and submitted them to him, to be under the obeisance of the crown of England, wherefore the king and all the realm reputeth this for a great and honourable deed, and thinketh this voyage well bestowed, for king Edward of good memory did never so much upon them as king Richard did in this voyage; the honour is great, but the profit is but little, for though they be kings, yet no man can devise nor speak of ruder personages.
I shall shew you somewhat of their rudeness, to the intent it may be ensample again people of other nations ; I know it well, for I have proved it by themselves : for when they were at Duvelin I had the governance of them about a month, by the king's commandment and his counsel, to the intent that I should learn them to use themselves according to the usage of England, and because I could speak their language as well as French or English, for in my youth I was brought up among them ; I was with the earl of Ormond, father to the earl that now is, who loved me right well, because I could as then ride and handle an horse meetly well ; and it fortuned one time that the said earl (who as then was my master) was sent with three hundred spears and a thousand archers into the marches of Ireland, to make war with the Irishmen, for always the Englishmen have had war with them, to subdue and put them under ; and on a day as the said earl went against them, I rode on a goodly horse of his, light and swift : thus I rode and followed my master, and the same day the Irishmen were laid in a bushment, and when we came near them they opened their bushment; then the English archers began to shoot so eagerly, that the Irishmen could not suffer it, for they are but simply armed, therefore they recoiled and went back: then the earl my master followed in the chase, and I that was well horsed followed him as near as I could ; and it fortuned so that my horse was afraid, and took his bridle in
teeth and ran away with me, and whether I would or not, he bare me so far forth among the Irishmen, that one of them, by lightness of running, leapt up behind me, and embraced me in his arms, and did me none other hurt, but so led me out of the way, and so rode still behind me the space of two hours, and at the last brought me into a secret place, thick of bushes, and there he found his company, who were come thither and scaped all dangers, for the Englishmen pursued not so far : then as he shewed he had great joy of me, and led me into a town and a strong house among the woods, waters, and rivers. The town was called Harpely, and the gentleman that took me was called Brine Costeret, he was a goodly man, and as it hath been shewed me, he is as yet alive; howbeit, he is very aged. This Brine Costeret kept me seven year with him, and gave me his daughter in marriage, of whom I had two daughters. I shall shew you how I was delivered.
It happened at the seven years end one of their kings, named Arthur Mackemur, king of Leinster, made an army against duke Lion of Clarence, son to king Edward of England, and against Sir William of Windsor : and not far from the city of Leinster, the Englishmen and Irishmen met together, and many were slain and taken on both parties, but the Englishmen obtained the victory, and the Irishmen fled, and the king Arthur saved himself, but Brine Costeret, my wife's father, was taken prisoner under the duke of Clarence banner : he was taken on the same courser that he took me on; the horse was well known among the earl of Ormond's folks; and then he shewed how I was alive and was at his manor of Harpelin, and how I had wedded his daughter, whereof the duke of Clarence, Sir William Windsor, and the Englishmen, were right glad. Then it was shewed him that if he would be delivered out of prison, that he should deliver me into the Englishmen's hands,