Howbeit, I took on me, as soon as I came front school, to write and recite the said book, 1 and bare the same compiled into England, and presented the volume thereof to my lady Philippa of Hainault, noble queen of England, who right amiably received it to my great profit and advancement. And it may be so that the same book is not as yet examined nor corrected so justly as such a case requireth ; for feats of arms dearly bought and achieved, the honour thereof ought to be given and truly divided to them that by prowess and hard travail have deserved it. Therefore to acquit me in that behalf, and in following the truth as near as I can, I, John Froissart, have enterprised this history on the foresaid ordinance and true foundation, at the instance and request of a dear lord of mine, Robert of Namur, knight, lord of Beaufort, to whom entirely I owe love and obeisance, and God grant me to do that thing that may be to his pleasure. Amen.
Here speaketh the author of such as were most valiant knights to be made mention of in this book.
ALL noble hearts to encourage and to skew them ensample and matter of honour, I, sir John Froissart, begin to speak after the true report and relation of my master John le Bel, sometime canon of SaintLambert's of Liege, affirming thus, how that many noble persons have ofttimes spoke of the wars of France and of England, and peradventure knew not justly the truth thereof, nor the true occasions of the first movings of such wars, nor how the war at
1 The better reading is, `a rimer et h ditter les guerres dessus dites.' The translator seems to think that the book presented to queen Philippa was a first edition of this history; but Froissart draws a distinction between that book (which may probably have been in verse) and the present work, undertaken at the instance of Robert of Namur. Lower down, where the translator has, `it may be so that the same book is not as yet examined nor corrected so justly as such a case requireth,' the author meant to say that perhaps that book was not so carefully composed as it should have been.
length continued : but now I trust ye shall hear reported the true foundation of the cause, and to the intent that I will not forget, minish or abridge the history in anything for default of language, but rather I will multiply and increase it as near as I can, following the truth from point to point, in speaking and shewing all the adventures sith the nativity of the noble king Edward the III., who reigned king of England and achieved many perilous adventures, and divers great battles addressed, and other feats of arms of great prowess sith the year of our Lord God MCCCXXVI., that this noble king was crowned in England : for generally such as were with him in his battles and happy fortunate adventures, or with his people in his absence, ought right well to be taken and reputed for valiant and worthy of renown ; and though there were great plenty of sundry personages that ought to be praised and reputed as sovereigns, yet among other and principally ought to be renowned the noble proper person of the foresaid gentle king, also the prince of Wales his son, the duke of Lancaster, sir Raynold lord Cobham, sir Gaultier of Manny' of Hainault, knight, sir John Chandos, sir Franck of Hale and divers other, of whom is made mention hereafter in this present book because of their valiant prowess ; for in all battles that they were in, most commonly they had ever the renown, both by land and by sea, according to the truth. They in all their deeds were so valiant that they ought to be reputed as sovereigns in all chivalry ; yet for all that, such other as were in their company ought not to be of the less value or less set by. Also in France in that time there were found many good knights, strong and well expert in feats of arms ; for the realm of France was not so discomfited but that always there were people sufficient to fight withal, and the king Philip of Valois was a right hardy and a valiant knight, and also king John his son, Charles the king of Bohemia,2 the earl of Alenqon, the earl of Foix, sir Saintre, sir Arnold
1 The form ' Manny' for ' Mauny' is retained throughout.
2 The king of Bohemia is called Charles by Froissart, but his name was in fact John. In his latest redaction (Vat. MS.) Froissart states when relating the battle of Crecy that he was rebaptized as Charles.