Page 053

Page 53 (Chronicles of Froissart)



page 53

CHAPTER XLII

How these two kings departed from Buironfosse without battle.

IT might well be marvelled how so goodly a sight of men of war so near together should depart without battle. But the Frenchmen were not all of one accord they were of divers opinions : some said it were a great shame an they fought not, seeing their enemies so near them in their own country, ranged in the field, and also had promised to fight with them :1 and some other said it should be a great folly to fight, for it was hard to know every man's mind, and jeopardy of treason ; 2 for, they said, if fortune were contrary to their king, as to lose the field, he then should put all his whole realm in a jeopardy to be lost ; and though he did discomfit his enemies, yet for all that he should be never the nearer of the realm of England, nor of such lands pertaining to any of those lords that be with him allied. Thus in striving of divers opinions the day passed till it was past noon ; and then suddenly there started an hare among the Frenchmen, and such as saw her cried and made great bruit, whereby such as were behind thought they before had been fighting, and so put on their helms and took their spears in their hands ; and so there were made divers new knights, and specially the earl of Hainault made fourteen, who were ever after called knights of the hare. Thus that battle stood still all that Friday ; and beside this strife between the councillors of France there was brought in letters to the host of recommendation to the French king and to his council from king Robert of Sicily, the which king, as it was said, was a great astronomer and full of great science. Ile had oftentimes sought his books on the estate of the kings of England and of France, and he found by his astrology and by the influence of the heavens, that if the French king ever fought with king Edward of England, he should be discomfited : wherefore he, like a king of great wisdom and as he that doubted the peril of the French king his cousin, sent oftentimes letters to king Philip and to his council, that in no wise he should make any battle against the Englishmen, whereas king Edward was personally present. So that, what for doubt, and for such writing from the king of Sicily, divers of the great lords of France were sore abashed ; and also king Philip was informed thereof. Howbeit, yet he had great will to give battle ; but he was so counselled to the contrary, that the day passed without battle, and every man withdrew to their lodgings. And when the earl of Hainault saw that they should not fight, he departed with all his whole company and went back the same night to Quesnoy. And the king of England, the duke of Brabant and all the other lords returned and trussed all their baggages, and went the same night to Avesnes in Hainault. And the next day they took leave each of other ; and the Almains and Brabances departed, and the king went into Brabant with the duke his cousin. The same Friday that the battle should have been, the French king,when he came to his lodging, he was sore displeased because he departed without battle. But they of his council said how right nobly he had borne himself, for he had valiantly pursued his enemies and had done so much that he had put them out of his realm, and how that the king of England should make many such viages or he conquered the realm of France. The next day king Philip gave licence to all manner of men to depart, and he thanked right courteously the great lords of their aid and succour. Thus ended this great journey, and every man went to their own. The French king went to Saint-Omer's, and sent men of war to his garrisons, and specially to Tournay, to Lille, and to Douay, and to the other towns marching on the Empire. He sent to Tournay sir Godemar du Fay and made him captain there and regent of that country thereabout, and he sent sir Edward of Beaujeu to Mortagne; and when he had ordered part of his business then he drew toward Paris. t Or rather, `and also having followed them to I the intent that they should fight with



Page 53 (Chronicles of Froissart)