other people in Gaunt shall escape and the earl will have mercy on them.' And therewith they all answered with one voice 'We will do thus, we will do thus, we will make none other end.' Then Philip answered and said: ` Sirs, if it be your wills to do thus, then return home to your houses and make ready your harness, for to-morrow some time of the day I will that we depart out of Gaunt and go toward Bruges, for the abiding here is nothing for us profitable ; and within five days we shall know if we shall die or live with honour: and I shall send the constables of every parish from house to house to choose out the most able and best appointed men.' In this estate every man departed out of the market-place and made them ready; and this Wednesday they kept the town so close, that nother man nor woman entered nor issued out of the town till the Thursday in the morning, that every man was ready, such as should depart; and they were to the number. of five thousand men and not past, and they had with them two hundred chares of ordnance and artillery, and but seven carts of. victual, five of biscuit bread and two tun of wine, for in all they had but two tun and left no more behind them in the town. This was a hard departing, and they that were left behind were hardly bestead. It was pity to behold them that went forth, and they that abode behind said to them : ` Sirs, now at your departure ye know what ye leave behind you, but never think to come hither again without ye come with honour ; for if it be otherwise, ye shall find here nothing, for as soon as we hear tidings that ye be other slain or discomfited, we shall set the town afire and destroy ourselves like people despaired.' Then they that went forth said to comfort them: ` Sirs, pray to God for us, for we trust he shall help us and you also, or we return again.' Thus these five thousand departed from Gaunt with their small provision, and that Thursday they went and lay a mile 1 without Gaunt, and brake not up their provision but passed that night with such things as they found abroad in the country ; and the Friday they went forth, not touching as yet their victual, for the foragers found somewhat in the country,
1 `A league' : but the best reading is ` une heure et demie.' wherewith they passed that day, and so lodged a seven miler from Bruges, and there rested and took a place of ground at their device, abiding their enemies ; and before them there was a great plash of standing water, wherewith they fortified themselves on the one part, and on the other part with their carriages. And so they passed that night.
Of the order of the battle of the Gauntois, and how they discomfited the earl and them of Bruges, and by what means.
AND when it came to the Saturday in the morning, the weather was fair and clear and a holiday called in Bruges, for that day of custom they made processions.2 Then tidings came to them how the Gauntois were come thither. And then ye should have seen great murmurings, in Bruges, so that at last word thereof came to the earl and to his company, whereof the earl had great marvel and said: 'Behold yonder ungracious people of Gaunt; I trow the devil hath brought them to their destruction : now is the time come to have an end of this war.' And so then his knights and squires came to him, and he received them graciously and said to them ` We shall go fight with yonder unhappy people of Gaunt: yet,' quoth the earl, ` they had rather die by the sword than by famine.' Then the earl was counselled to send three men of arms into the field to see the demeanour of his enemies. And so then the marshal of Flanders appointed out three squires, valiant men of arms, to go and see the behaving of the Gauntois, as Lambert of Lambres, Damas of Bussy and John of Bourc, and so they three departed from Bruges and rode toward their enemies. And in the mean time, while these three went forth, they of Bruges made them ready to issue out to go and fight with the Gauntois. Of whom I shall skew somewhat of their order. This