Chronicles of Froissart
held the opinion contrary to pope Clement, and therefore the Frenchmen called them Urbanists ; wherefore they said they were heretics and out of the true belief: that was the chief cause that it was borne and displayed in Flanders. This Oriflamme is a precious banner and was sent first from heaven for a great mystery, the which was ever a great comfort to them that saw it.' And the same day it shewed some of his virtue, for all the morning there was a great thick mist, that one could scant see another, but as soon as it was displayed and lift up on high, the mist brake away and the sky was as clear as any time in the year before. The lords of France were greatly rejoiced when they saw the sun shine so clear that they might see all about them : this greatly did recomfort them. It ws great beauty then to regard the banners and streamers wave with the wind, and [all were silent nor none uttered a word, but] beheld well the great battle of the Flemings, who ever still approached fast joined together with their staves upright, that it seemed 2 a little grove of wood, there were so many of them.
How the Flemings were discomfited at the battle of Rosebeque.
I WAS as then informed of the lord of Sconnevorst, who shewed me how that he was there and saw it, and so did divers other, that when the Oriflamme was displayed and the mist gone away, there came a dove and made divers flights over the king's battle; and a little before they fought, she sat down on one of the king's banners, the which every man took for a good token. So thus approached the Flemings and began to shoot guns and arrows feathered with steel. Thus the battle began, the which was right sharp and fierce at the first encountering; for the Flemings set on proudly, thrusting with their spears and shoulders like wild boars, and they held themselves so close together that they could not be
1 `Was formerly sent from heaven by a great mystery, and is a great comfort for the day to them that see it.'
opened. There was with the shot of the guns at the first thrust slain of the French part the lord de Wavrin, banneret, Morelet of Halewyn and James d'Ere, and so therewith the king's battle was reculed ; but the vaward and the arearward passed on forth and enclosed about the Flemings and held them strait, I shall shew you how. On these two wings the men of arms fiercely assaulted, with their strong spears well headed with heads of fine steel, wherewith they pierced the Flemings' coats of mail into the hard bones, so that the Flemings were glad to eschew the strokes. So thus these men of arms kept the Flemings so short, that they could not well help themselves, nor put down their arms to give any strokes ; so there were many that lost their strength and breath and fell one upon another, and so died for lack of breath without striking of any stroke. And there was Philip d'Arteveld wounded and beaten down among his men of Gaunt, and when his page with his horse saw the discomfiture of his master, he departed and left his master, for he could not help him, and so rode to Courtray towards Gaunt. Thus these battles assembled together. So the Flemings' battle was enclosed on both sides, so that they could pass no way then the king's battle came forth again, the which was before a little drawn aback. The men of arms beat down the Flemings on every side: some had good axes of steel, wherewith they brake asunder bassenets, and some had malles of lead, wherewith they gave such strokes that they beat all down to the earth before them : and as the Flemings were beaten down, there were pages ready to cut their throats with great knives, and so slew them without pity, as though they had been but dogs. The strokes on the bassenets were so great that no man could hear other speak for noise: I heard reported that though all the armourers of Paris and Brussels had been working together, could not have made so great a noise. There were some that advanced so sore into the press, that they were slain and overcome for lack of breath, as sir Louis of Cousan, a gentle knight of Berry, and sir Floton of Revel and divers other, which was great damage: but so great a battle as the Flemings were could not be overcome without great loss ; for