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banners: Then the earl demanded what number of people they were by estimation they answered that surely, as far as they could descry, they passed not a five or six thousand. Then the earl said : `Well, let every man apparel himself; I will go fight with them : they shall not depart without battle.' And therewith the trumpets did sown through Bruges, and then every man armed him and assembled in the marketplace, and set themselves in order with their banners, as was the usage. And before the earl's lodging assembled lords, knights and squires. When everything was ready, then the earl went to the market-place and saw there great number of people well ordered and arranged, whereof he rejoiced ; and so at his commandment every man drew in bone order into the fields. It was great pleasure to behold them ; they were a forty thousand armed men, and so, what a-horseback and afoot, they came near to the -place where the Gauntois were, and there they rested ; and by that time that the earl was come thither, it was past noon and the sun began to decline. Then some said to the earl : ` Sir, ye see yonder your enemies they be but a handful of men, as to the regard of your company, and, sir, they cannot fly away. We would counsel you not to fight with them this night ; let them alone till to-morrow : and, sir, thereby ye shall see what they will do; they shall be feebler than they be now, for they have nothing to eat.' The earl accorded well to that counsel, and would that it should so have been done ; but they of Bruges were so hot and hasty to fight, that they would not abide, but said, `Set on them, they shall not long endure ' ; and so then they of Bruges began to shoot guns at them and then they of Gaunt discharged at once three hundred guns at one shot, and so turned about the plash of water and caused the sun to be in the eyen of them of Bruges, the which grieved them sore, and so entered in among them and cried `Gaunt !' And as soon as they of Bruges heard them cry `Gaunt!' and beard so many guns come in among them, and saw how they set full front on them, like false-hearted people and of evil courage they gave way to the Gauntois to enter in among them ; and so without any defence they cast down their weapons and turned their backs. Then the Gauntois, seeing well how their enemies were discomfited, kept themselves still close together and beat down on both sides and before them, and ever went forth crying ` Gaunt ! ' saying also, `Follow, follow, our enemies are discomfited, and let us enter into Bruges with them : God bath regarded us this evening by his pity.' And as they said, so they did ; for they pursued them of Bruges sharply, and as they overtook them they slew them, and tarried not but kept on still their way, and ever they of Bruges fled on before. There were many slain and beaten down, for among them of Bruges there was no defence. I trow there was never so unhappy people nor more recreantly maintained themselves, for all the great pride and bobance that they were of before. Some would think and suppose by imagination that there had been some treason, the which was not so : it was none other but their simple defence and evil fortune that fell on them.

CHAPTER CCCC

How the town of Bruges was taken by the Gauntois, and how the earl of Flanders saved himself in a poor woman's house in the town of Bruges.


WHEN the earl of Flanders and the company that was about him saw the evil order and rule of them of Bruges, and saw how they were discomfited by their own folly, and could see no recoverance, for they fled away before the Gauntois, the earl then was abashed and all they that were about him, and so discomfited that they fled away every man to save himself. Of a truth, if they of Bruges would have returned again and assailed the Gauntois with their help, they had been likely to have recovered all again ; but they saw no remedy, for they fled toward Bruges as fast as they might, the father tarried not for the son nor the son for the father. So then the men of arms and all brake their array, but they had no list to take the way to Bruges the press was so great in the way toward Bruges, that it was marvel to see, and to hear the clamour and cry of them that were slain and hurt, and the Gauntois




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