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judgement, men thinking that he would have slain the judge, or have done to him some damage : but the judge sitting still without moving, declaring the majesty of the king's place of judgement, and with an assured and bold countenance, had to the prince these words following ;
“Sir, remember yourself. I keep here the place of the king your sovereign lord and father, to whom you owe double obedience: wherefore eftsoones in his name, I charge you to desist of your wilfulness and unlawful enterprise, and from henceforth give good example to those which hereafter shall be your proper subjects. And now, for your contempt, and disobedience, go you to the prison of the King's Bench, whereunto I commit you, and remain ye there prisoner until the pleasure of the king your father be further known. With which words being abashed, and also wondering at the marvellous gravity of that worshipful justice, the noble prince laying his weapon apart, doing reverence, departed and went to the King's Bench as he was commanded. Whereat his servants disdained, came and shewed to the king all the whole affair, whereat he a whiles studying, after as a man all ravished with gladnass, holding his eyes and hands up towards heaven, abraided with a loud voice: 'O merciful God, how much am I bound to your infinite goodness, specially for that you have given me a judge who feareth not to minister justice, and also a son who can suffer semblably and obey justice.""}
Ch. Just. Good morrow, and heaven save your majesty !
King. This new and gorgeous garment, majesty,
P. John, dc. We hope no other from your majesty.
[To the Chief Justice.
Ch. Just. I am assurd, if I be measur'd rightly,
King. No! How might a prince of my great hopes forget
Ch. Just. I then did use the person of your father;
Your highness pleased to forget my place,
King. You are right, justice, and you weigh this well
After my seeming. The tide of blood in me
[To the Lord Chief Justice.
127.—THE BATTLE OF AGINCOURT.
WHEN Henry V. had been little more than a year upon the throne, he was prompted by his own love of war, by the spirit of the English people, and by the wretched condition of the French, to demand the crown of France, as the representative of Isabella, the wife of the second Edward, in whose right Edward III, had founded his pretensions. But Henry's claims were even more absurd than Edward's : for, supposing the claims of Edward to have been admissible, the right to the crown of France would then rest not with Henry, but with Edward Mortimer, the Earl of March. Henry's project of conquest, however, was warmly encouraged by the church, and by both houses of Parliament. At a council, which met at Westminster, on the 16th of April, 1415, Henry announced his firm purpose of making a voyage, in his own proper person, to recover his dominiors in France. Both bishops and lay-lords enthusiastically applauded this resolution, and assured him of their hearty co-operation. Some attempts at negotiation were made by France, to avert the coming storm, but they did not emanate from any established government; for nothing was reigning in that unhappy country but anarchy, crime, and confusion among all classes. At Winchester, as Henry was on his way to Southampton to embark, he was met by the Archbishop of Bourges, who had been despatched by the Duke of Berri, in the vain hope of preventing, for a short time, the threatened danger. But Henry told this prelate that the crown of France was his right, and that he would win it by the sword. The archbishop, who was a brave man,
replied, that his master, King Charles, had made the most liberal offers, not out of fear, but from his compassion and love of peace." If thou makest thy attempt,” he continued, “ he will call upon the blessed Virgin and all the saints, and then, with their aid, and the support of faithful subjects and allies, thou wilt be driven into the sea, or thou wilt be taken captive or slain.” “We shall see,” replied the king; and, dismissing the archbishop with many rich presents, he continued his way to Southampton. The sudden intelligence of a conspiracy against his life checked his progress, and he was detained in England for some time. At last Henry embarked
and set sail from Southampton. His fleet amounted to twelve or fourteen hundred sail of vessels, from twenty to three hundred tons burthen ; his army to six thousand five hundred horse, and about twenty-four thousand foot, of all kinds. On the 13th of August he anchored in the mouth of the Seine, three miles from Harfleur, a very strong fortress on the left bank of that river. On the following day he began to land troops and stores. He was never interrupted, although the operation took up three whole days; and the place of debarkation presented many difficulties. A proclamation was issued forbidding, under pain of death, all excesses against the peaceful inhabitants ; and it is remarked, by contemporary (French as well as English) historians, that Henry enforced the uniform good treatment of the people of the districts through which he afterwards passed; and that, too, even when his own army were suffering the greatest privations. On the 17th he laid siege to Harfleur, which was very strongly garrisoned.
The loss sustained by Henry's army was very great, not so much from the sword, or the awkward artillery of those times, as from a frightful dysentery, brought on by the damp and unwholesome situation of the place. He lost many of his great captains, and the men died by hundreds. But the garrison, despairing of relief, and suffering dreadfully from the same dysentery, capitulated after a siege of thirtysix days. The sick and wounded were then shipped for England, and Henry remained a few days in the captured town.
With the small force which now remained to the King of England it seemed madness to undertake any great enterprise. It is said that a council of war recommended that he should re-embark ; but Henry scorned the notion of returning to England with no honour gained, save the taking of a single town. "No," said he, “We must first see, by God's help, a little more of this good land of France, which is all our own." With the reductions made by the siege, by sickness, and by leaving a garrison at Harfleur, the army did not exceed nine thousand men. They were drawn out and prepared to march through the hostile provinces of Normandy, Picardy, and Artois to Calais. The march began on the 6th of October when a great force under the king and dauphin were at Rouen, and another, under the Constable of France, in Picardy, whither troops were pouring in all directions. Henry met with no great resistance in his passage through Normandy. On the 12th he reached the memorable ford of Blanche-Taque, where he hoped to pass like Edward III. ; but the French, taught by experience, had resolved to defend the line of the Somme, and had fortified both banks, by driving strong palisades across the ford, and placing archers behind them. Henry made several attempts to force a passage at other points, but he was foiled; every ford was fortified, and columns of horse and foot manæuvred on the right bank, keeping in line with him as he moved up the left. A good part of his army began to feel dispirited; but at last, on the morning of the 19th, Henry had the good fortune to find a ford between Betencourt and Voyeune, which had not been staked by the people of St. Quentin. He dashed across the ford, the van-guard firmly established itself on the right bank ; and then the rest of the army and the baggage got across with safety. At this the French Constable, much disheartened, fell back upon St. Pol, in Artois. King Henry quietly followed, by the same road. His small force was still more reduced by sickness, while that of the French kept increasing every day, and in a short time the whole of the royal army of France was in Artois. “They sent,” says Stow, “three heralds to the King of England, to give understanding that he should not escape without battle ; " unto whom the king answered, “ All things be done at the pleasure of God. I will keep the right way towards Calais ; if our adversaries do attempt to disturb us in our journey, we think they shall not do it without their own great danger and peril.” And Henry was as good as his word; he went straight on,
never going out of his way, nor moving faster nor slower than he had intended. On the 24th he crossed the deep river of Ternois, and soon after came in sight of part of the enemy. He expected an attack and formed in order of battle ; but the columns he saw withdrew to Azincourt. Henry then marched on to Maisoncelles, a large village, only a few bow-shots from the enemy's outposts. Provisions were brought in, the men refreshed themselves, and had some rest. When the moon rose, officers were sent out to ascertain the position of the French. All night long the English played upon their trumpets, and other martial instruments, so that the whole neighbourhood was filled with the sound of their music. Although they were very tired, and cold, and hungry, they kept up a cheerful spirit ; but many of them confessed their sins, took the sacrament, and made their wills.
The night was passed in a very different manner by the French army. They were very confident and very boisterous. The Constable of France struck the royal banner into the ground on the Calais road; and the other princes, knights, and barons planted their banners around it with loud acclamations. The Constable ordered them to pass the night every troop near its own standard. It was rainy and cold, but they lit large fires all along their line ; and, as they warmed themselves, the soldiers passed the wine-cup round, made
great boastings, and calculated the proper ransoms of the king and great barons of England, whom they made quite sure of taking prisoners on the morrow. The pages and valets of the army rode about looking for hay and straw to lay on the damp ground; horses slipped and floundered about in the clayey soil : and there was a continual movement and noise, and a very evident want of discipline : horsemen were heard afar off calling to one another, but by some awkward chance there were no musical instruments to enliven their hearts. It was remarked that very few of their horses neighed during the night, which, adds Monstrelet, was considered as a very bad omen. But there were some who were not quite so confident of the result
. The Duke of Berri, who had fought at Poictiers sixty years ago, and who remembered how certain the French had then been of victory, opposed the plan of giving battle altogether, and prevented the project of placing Charles in person at the head of his forces. “It is better," said the old man, “ to lose the battle than the king and the battle."
At the dawn of the morning, “after prayers and supplications of the king, his priests and people, done with great devotion," Henry placed his men in battle array. He formed them into three divisions and two wings; but the divisions stood so close together that they appeared as one. The archers were placed in advance of the men-at-arms in the form of a wedge.
“The night before," says old Stow,“ by the advice and counsel (as it is said) of the Duke of York, the king had given commandment through his host, that every man should purvey him a stake sharp at both ends, which the Englishmen fixed in the ground before them in the field, to defend them from the oppression of horsemen.” These stakes formed together an excellent rampart, in the nature of cheveux de frise, and they could be moved and fixed again in case of a change of position, The upper end of the stakes, which projected against the enemy, was tipped with iron : this was a new precautiou, and had never been used in war before by Christians. Henry had given orders that the baggage, the priests, the tents, and horses --for this fight, like Crecy and Poictiers, was to be fought on foot-should be placed in the rear. When these dispositions were made Henry mounted a small gray horse and rode along the lines. The brave and cheerful aspect of Henry's countenance on that morning, his martial bearing and his kingly costume, as they are described by our old chroniclers, afford a fine study for the painter. He wore " on his head a bright helmet, whereupon was set a crown of gold, replete with asarl and precious stones, marvellous rich ;” and on his surcoat the arms of Enge