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over them, was compensated by the order in which he had placed his own army, and the resolution which he expected from them. He demanded nothing, he said, but that they would imitate his own example, and that of the Prince of Wales; and as the honour, the lives, and liberties of all were now exposed to the same danger, he was confident that they would make one common effort to extricate themselves from their present difficulties; and that their united courage would give them the victory over all their enemies. It is related by some historians that Edward, besides the resources which he found in his own genius and presence of mind, employed also a new invention against the enemy, and placed in his front some pieces of artillery—the first that had yet been made use of on any remarkable occasion in Europe.
The invention of artillery was at this time known in France as well as in England; but Philip, the French king, in his hurry to overtake the enemy, had left his cannon behind him, which he regarded as a useless encumbrance. All his movements discovered the same imprudence and haste. Impelled by anger, (a dangerous counsellor,) and trusting to the great superiority of his numbers, he thought that all depended on forcing an engagement with the English; and that if he could once reach the enemy in their retreat, the victory on his side must certainly ensue.
He made a hasty march, in some confusion, from Abbe-ville; but after he had advanced about two leagues, some gentlemen whom he had sent before to take a view of the English, returned to him, and brought him intelligence that they had seen them drawn up in great order, and awaiting his arrival. They, therefore, desired him to defer the combat till the ensuing day, when his army would have recovered from their fatigue, and might be disposed into better order than their present hurry had permitted them to observe. Philip assented to this counsel; but the former hurry of his march, and the
impatience of the French nobility, made it impracticable for him to put it into execution,—one division pressed upon another; orders to stop were not seasonably conveyed to all of them; this immense body was not governed by sufficient discipline to be manageable; and the French army, imperfectly formed into three lines, arrived already fatigued and disordered, in presence of the enemy. The first line, consisting of 15,000 Genoese cross-bowmen, was commanded by Anthony Doria and Charles Grimaldi; the second was led by the Count of Alençon, brother to the king: the king himself was at the head of the third. Besides the French monarch, there were no less than three crowned heads in his armythe king of Bohemia, the king of the Romans (his son), and the king of Majorca, —with all the nobility and great vassals of the crown of France. The army now consisted of above 120,000 men—more than three times the number of the enemy.
But the prudence of one man was superior to the advantage of all this force and splendour.
The English, on the approach of the French army, kept their ranks firm and immovable, and the Genoese first began the attack. There had happened, a little before the engagement, a thunder-shower, which had moistened and relaxed the strings of the Genoese crossbows; and their arrows, for this reason, fell short of the enemy. The English archers, taking their bows out of their cases, poured in a shower of arrows upon this multitude who were opposed to them, and soon threw thein into disorder.
The Genoese fell back upon the heavy-armed cavalry of the Count of Alençon, who, enraged at their cowardice, ordered his troops to put them to the sword. The artillery fired amidst the crowd; the English archers continued to send in their arrows among them; and nothing was to be seen in that vast body but hurry and confusion, terror and dismay. The young Prince of
Wales had the presence of mind to take advantage of this situation, and to lead his line to the charge. The French cavalry, however, recovering somewhat of their order, and encouraged by the example of their leader, made a stout resistance; and having at last cleared themselves of the Genoese runaways, advanced upon their enemies, and, by their superior numbers, began to hem them round. The Earls of Arundel and Northampton now brought forward their line to sustain the Prince, who, ardent in his first feats of arms, set an example of valour which was imitated by all his followers. The battle became for some time hot and dangerous; and the Earl of Warwick, apprehensive of the event, despatched a messenger to the king, and entreated him to send succours to the relief of the Prince. Edward had chosen his station on the top of the hill, and he surveyed in tranquillity the scene of the action. When the messenger accosted him, his first question was whether the Prince was slain or wounded. On receiving an answer in the negative, “Return,"
— said he,“ to my son, and tell him that I reserve the honour of the day to him: I am confident that he will show himself worthy of the honour of knighthood, which I so lately conferred upon him: he will be able without any assistance to repel the enemy." This speech being reported to the Prince and his attendants, inspired them with fresh courage. They made an attack with redoubled vigour on the French, in which the Count of Alençon was slain, and the whole line of cavalry was thrown into disorder; the riders were most of them killed or wounded; the Welsh infantry rushed into the throng, and put to death all who came in their way; nor was any quarter given that day by the victors. The King of France advanced in vain with the rear to sustain the division commanded by his brother: he found it already discomfited, and this increased the confusion which was before but too prevalent in his own body. He had himself a horse killed under him: he was re-mounted, and though left almost alone, he seemed still determined to maintain the combat; when John of Hain-alt seized the reins of his bridle, turned about his horse, and carried him off the field of battle. The whole French army took to flight, and was followed and put to the sword, without mercy, by the English, till the darkness of night put an end to the pursuit. Edward, on his return to the camp, flew into the arms of the Prince of Wales, and exclaimed : “My brave son ! persevere in your honourable cause : you are my son; for valiantly have you acquitted yourself to-day: you have shown yourself worthy of empire."
In this battle there fell, on the side of the French, by a moderate calculation, 1,200 knights, 1,400 gentleinen, 4,000 men at arms, besides about 30,000 of inferior rank: many of the principal nobility-two of their chief Dukes and four illustrious Earls were left dead on the field. The Kings also of Bohemia and Majorca were slain.
The fate of the former was remarkable. He was blind from age; but, being resolved to hazard his person and set an example to others, he ordered the reins of his bridle to be tied on each side to the horses of two gentlemen of his train; and his dead body, and those of his attendants, were afterwards found among the slain, with their horses standing by them in that situation.
His crest was three ostrich feathers, and his motto these German words, ICH DIEN, I serve; which the Prince of Wales and his successors adopted in memorial of this great victory. The action may seem no less wonderful, for the small loss sustained by the English, than for the great slaughter of the French. There were killed in it only one squire and three knights, with very few of inferior rank; a demonstration that the prudent disposition planned by Edward, and the disorderly attack made by the French, had rendered the whole rather a
rout than a battle-which, indeed, was a common case with engagements in those times.-Hume's " England.”
PLEASURES OF HOPE.
Lo! at the couch where infant beauty sleeps,
when summoned from the world and thee,