CHAPTERS CCLXXXI, CCLXXXII
SUMMARY.-Sir Robert Knolles devastated France as far as the gates of Paris. Bertrand du Guesclin made war in Limousin and took Saint- Yrieix.
How the prince took the city of Limoges, and how four companions did marvels in arms.
ABoUT the space of a month or more was the prince of Wales before the city of Limoges, and there was neither assault nor scrimmish, but daily they mined. And they within knew well how they were mined, and made a' countermine thereagainst to have destroyed the English miners ; but they failed of their mine. And when the prince's miners saw how the countermine against them failed, they said to the prince: ` Sir, whensoever it shall please you we shall cause a part of the wall to fall into the dikes, whereby ye shall enter into the city at your ease without any danger.' Which words pleased greatly the prince, and said: ` I will that to-morrow betimes ye shew forth and execute your work.' Then the miners set fire into their mine, and so the next morning, as the prince had ordained, there fell down a great pane of the wall and filled the dikes, whereof the Englishmen were glad and were ready armed in the field to enter into the town. The foot-men might well enter at their ease, and so they did and ran to the gate and beat down the fortifying and barriers, for there was no defence against them : it was done so suddenly that they of the town were not ware thereof. Then the prince, the duke of Lancaster, the earl of Cambridge, the earl of Pembroke, sir Guichard d'Angle and all the other with their companies entered into the city, and all other foot-men, ready apparelled to do evil, and to pill and rob the city, and to slay men, women and children, for so it was commanded them to do. It was great pity to see the men, women and children that kneeled down on their knees before the prince for mercy; but he was so inflamed with ire, that he took no heed to them, so that none was heard, but all put to death, as they were met withal, and such as were nothing culpable. There was no pity taken of the poor people, who wrought never no manner of treason, yet they bought it dearer than the great personages, such as had done the evil and trespass. There was not so hard a heart within the city of Limoges, an if he had any remembrance of God, but that wept piteously for the great mischief that they saw before their eyen : for more than three thousand men, women and children were slain and beheaded that day. God have mercy on their souls, for I trow they were martyrs. And thus entering into the city a certain company of Englishmen entered into the bishop's palace and there they found the bishop: and so they brought him to the prince's presence, who beheld him right fiercely and felly, and the best word that he could have of him was, how he would have his head stricken off, and so he was had out of his sight. Now let us speak of the knights that were within the city, as sir John of Villemur, sir Hugh de la Roche, Roger Beaufort, son to the earl of Beaufort, captains of the city. When they saw the tribulation and pestilence that ran over them and their company, they said one to another ` We are all dead, without we defend ourselves : therefore let us sell our lives dearly, as good knights ought to do.' Then sir John of Villemur said to Roger Beaufort Roger, it behoveth that ye be made a knight.' Then Roger answered and said `Sir, I am not as yet worthy to be a knight I thank you, sir, of your good-will.' So there was no more said : they had not the leisure to speak long together. Howbeit, they assembled them together in a place against an old wall and there displayed their banners. So they were to the number of eighty persons. Thither came the duke of Lancaster, the earl of Cambridge and their companies and so lighted afoot, so that the Frenchmen could not long endure against the Englishmen, for anon they were slain and taken. Howbeit, the duke of Lancaster himself fought long hand to hand against sir John Villemur, who was a strong knight and a hardy, and the e