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Page 196 (Chronicles of Froissart)



page 196


Iishmen gat it first, and lighted all afoot and so ranged themselves in good order to defend the bridge. The Frenchmen likewise lighted afoot and delivered their horses to their pages, commanding them to draw aback, and so did put themselves in good order to go and assail the Englishmen, who kept themselves close together and were nothing affrayed, though they were but a handful of men as to the regard of the Frenchmen. And thus, as the Frenchmen and Bretons studied and imagined how and by what means to their advantage they might assail the Englishmen, therewith there came behind them sir John Chandos, his banner displayed, bearing therein silver, a sharp pile gules, and Jakes of Alery, a valiant man of arms, did bear it, and he had with him a forty spears. He approached fiercely the Frenchmen, and when he was a three furlongs from the bridge, the French pages who saw them coming were affrayed, and so ran away with the horses and left their masters there afoot. And when sir John Chandos was come near to them, he said: `Hark ye, Frenchmen, ye are but evil men of war : ye ride at your pleasure and ease day and night: ye take and win towns and fortresses in Poitou, whereof I am seneschal : ye ransom poor folic without my leave: ye ride all about clean armed. It should seem the country is all yours, but I ensure you it is not so. Ye, sir Louis and Charuel, ye are too great masters. It is more than a year and a half that I have set all mine intent to find or encounter with you, and now, I thank God, I see you and speak to you. Now shall it be seen who is stronger, other you or I. It hath been shewed me oftentimes that ye have greatly desired to find me: now ye may see me here : I am John Chandos, advise me well. Your great feats of arms wherewith ye be renowned, by God's leave now shall we prove it.' While such language was spoken, sir John Chandos' company drew together, and sir Louis and Charuel kept themselves close together, making semblant to be glad to be fought withal; and of all this matter sir Thomas Percy, who was on the other side of the bridge, knew nothing, for the bridge was high in the midst, so that none could see other. While sir John Chandos reasoned thus with the Frenchmen, there was a Breton took his glaive and could forbear no longer, but came to an English squire called Simkin Dodale, and strake him so in the breast, that he cast him down from his horse. Sir John Chandos, when he heard that noise beside him, he turned that way and saw his squire lie on the earth and the French men laying on him.' Then he was more chafed than he was before, and said to his company: ` Sirs, how suffer you this squire thus to be slain? Afoot, afoot!' and so he leapt afoot and all his company, and so Simkin was rescued and the battle begun. Sir John Chandos, who was a right hardy and a courageous knight, with his banner before him and his company about him, with his coat of arms on him great and large, beaten with his arms of white sarcenet with two piles gules one before and another behind, so that he seemed to be a sufficient knight to do a great feat of arms, and as one of the foremost with his glaive in his hand marched to his enemies. The same morning there had fallen a great dew, so that the ground was somewhat moist, and so in his going forward he slode and fell clown at the joining with his enemies ; and as he was arising there lit a stroke on him given by a squire called Jaques of SaintMartin with his glaive, the which stroke entered into the flesh under his eye between the nose and the forehead. Sir John Chandos saw not the stroke coming on that side, for he was blind on the one eye. He lost the sight thereof a five year before, as he hunted after an hart in the launds of Bordeaux, and also he had on no visor. The stroke was rude and entered into his brain, the which stroke grieved him so sore, that he overthrew to the earth and turned for pain two times up-se-down, as he that was wounded to death ; for after the stroke he never spake word. And when his men saw that misfortune, they were right dolorous: then his u



Page 196 (Chronicles of Froissart)