Page 286

Page 286 (Chronicles of Froissart)



page 286



council, I say that all these fifteen days past I have done none other thing but pursued mine office to the honour of you and of your people; and, sir, I have shewed every man what they should do ; and, sir, if they fight to-morrow and see not me among them, they will be abashed, whereby I shall receive blame, and some will say that I have devised many things and fly away from the first strokes. Sir, I require your grace, break not that bath been first ordained. I ensure you ye shall have profit thereby.' So the king and such as were about him wist not what to say; at last the king right sagely said: `Constable, I know well ye have in all causes right well acquitted yourself and shall do : the king my father, that dead is, loved and trusted you above all other, and for the great trust and affiance that he had in you, therefore I would have you about me in this business.' ` Right dear sir,' quoth the constable, ' ye are so well accompanied and with so valiant and so noble men, and are so ordered by deliberation of wise counsel, that there is nothing can be amended: wherefore, sir, ye and your council ought to be content ; and I therefore require you in God's behalf to suffer me alone in mine office, and I trust to-morrow ye shall have so good fortune in your journey, that your friends shall be glad and your enemies displeased.' To the which words the king gave none answer of a great space, but at last said `Constable, in the name of God and Saint Denis exercise your office at your pleasure ; I will speak no more thereof, for ye see farther in this matter than I do, or such as moved first the matter: be to-morrow with me at my mass.' `Sir,' quoth the constable, `with right a good will': and so took leave of the king and returned to his lodging. And on the Thursday in the morning every man apparelled themselves ready armed save their heads, for they knew well by all likelihood that they should have battle the same day. The French king heard mass betimes in the morning, and all the great lords, with great devotion praying to God to send them honour that day. The same morning there arose a great mist, so that one could not see an acre of breadth before him, whereof the lords were right sore displeased, but they could not amend it. And after mass the king and the con stable and other great lords went to council, to determine what they should do; and there it was ordained that sir Oliver of Clisson, constable of France, sir John de Vienne, admiral of France, and sir William of Poitiers, bastard of Langres, these three should go and visit the demeanour of the Flemings as near as they might, and to come again and make report to the king and to his uncles of the truth of everything, and in the mean time the lord d'Albret and sir Hugh of Chatillon should order the battles. So thus these three departed from the king mounted on good horses, and rode straight whereas they thought to find their enemies. The same morning in the great mist the Flemings rose and drew together in the same strong place that they had fortified, and so stood together all in one battle till it was eight of the clock, and could hear nothing of the Frenchmen ; and then by great pride the captains said each to other: `What do we here thus standing still on our feet and take cold ? Why do we not go forth with great courage, sith we have so great will to fight with our enemies? We tarry here for nothing ; the Frenchmen will never seek us here : let us go at the least to the Mount d'Or and take the advantage of the hill.' These words so multiplied that they all agreed to advance forth to take the hill that was between them and the Frenchmen; and so then to escape from the dike that was before them, they went about the little wood that was behind them and took the plain fields. And as they came about this wood, the foresaid three knights advised them by great leisure, and so rode in coasting their battle within a bow-shot of them: and when they were passed on the left side, then they rode again on their right side, so that they well advised their whole battle: the Fl



Page 286 (Chronicles of Froissart)