every man should make him ready to God, and caused masses to be sung in divers places by certain friars that were with him, and so every man confessed him and prayed to God for grace and mercy. And there were certain sermons made enduring an hour and a half, and there it was shewed to people by these friars and clerks, figuring them to the people of Israel, whom king Pharaon kept long in servitude, and how after by the grace of God they were delivered and led into the land of behest by Moses and Aaron, and king Pharaon and the Egyptians slain and taken. 'In like wise,' quoth these friars, ' ye good people, ye be kept in servitude by your lord the earl of Flanders and by your neighbours of Bruges, before whom now ye be come and shall be fought with by all likelihood, for your enemies have great will to fight with you, for they fear little'your puissance. But, sirs, take no heed to that, for God, who knoweth and seeth all thing, shall have mercy on you ; nor think nothing of that ye have left behind you, for ye may well know it is without recoverance, if ye be discomfited : therefore sell your lives valiantly and die, if there be none other remedy honourably. And be not dismayed, though great puissance of people issue out of Bruges against you, for victory lieth not in puissance of people, but it is all only in God, and by his grace it hath been oftentimes seen, as well by the Maccabees as by the Romans, that a small people of good will trusting in the grace of God bath discomfited a great number of people. And, sirs, in this quarrel ye have good right and a just cause, and therefore by many reasons ye ought to be hardy and of good comfort.' Thus with such words and other these friars preached to the people that morning, wherewith they were well content. And three parts of the host were houselled, shewing themselves to have great trust in God. And after these masses sung, then they assembled together on a little hill, and there Philip d'Arteveld by great sentence t shewed them from point to point the right that they thought they had in their quarrel, and how that oftentimes the town of Gaunt had required their lord the earl to have
1 `Parla de grand sentement,' `spoke with great earnestness': `sentement' usually means 'knowledge' or `conviction.'
mercy on them, but they could never come to no point with him, but to the great confusion and damage of the town of Gaunt and to the inhabitants thereof: also saying how they were then come so far forth, that to recule again they could not, and also then to return, all things considered, they could win nothing thereby, for they had left nothing behind them but poverty and heaviness ; and moreover he said: `Sirs, think nother of your wives nor children, but think of your honour.' Thus such fair words Philip d'Arteveld shewed among them, for he was well languaged and could speak right well, and well it became him; and finally he said : `Now, fair lords, let us truly and equally depart our victual each to other like brethren, without any manner of outrage ; for when this is spent, it must behove us to seek for new, if we think to live.' And so then right humbly the chares were discharged and the bread was divided by the constables, and the two tuns of wine the bottoms were set upward, and so there they dined with the bread and with the wine, and were content with their small repast for that time, and felt themselves better disposed both in courage and in their members than an they had eaten more meat. And when this dinner was past, then they set themselves in order and drew themselves within their ribaudeux, the which were high stakes bound with iron and sharp pointed, which they used ever to bear with them in their war, and so they set them before their battle and closed themselves within them, and in this estate the three squires that were sent from the earl to see their demeaning found them; for they approached so near that they might well aview them, for they came just to their stakes but the Gauntois never stirred for all them, but let them alone a