THE MEMOIRS OF THE LORD OF JOINVILLE
A NEW ENGLISH VERSION
Six hundred years ago, when the histories of Europe still lay buried among the Latin Charter Rolls of great abbeys, before Piers Plowman had yet voiced the English conscience in the English tongue, and when Dante was just turning to look back on half his life's journey, John, Lord of Joinville, full of days and honours, began to write for his liege lady his recollections of her husband's grandfather, St. Louis.
Like many others of that line of great French memoir-writers which he heads, such, for instance, as Commines, Sully, and Marbot, Joinville was first of all a man of action, and only in the second place a man of letters; and for this very reason his book has that directness and simplicity which appeals to the common humanity of all ages. He is no skilled chronicler, like his compatriot the warrior and statesman Villehardouin; he is no born story-teller, like Villani or Froissart; but a hardheaded, plain-minded man to whom penmanship is no art, and who writes simply because he loved his friend and believes that he has a duty to his posterity.
John, Lord of Joinville, was hereditary Seneschal of Champagne and head of a family already illustrious for its Crusaders. By blood and old family friendship he was closely united with the great house of Brienne, and could claim cousinship with its famous cadet, John, King of Jerusalem, father-in-law to two emperors, and himself an emperor.' Born in 1225, Joinville was only twenty-three when he joined King Louis in the disastrous Seventh Crusade; and before he was thirty he was settled again on his estates, having escaped every conceivable peril by land and sea, to which nineteen out of every twenty men had succumbed. For the rest of his life he stayed at home, managing his estate and taking such part in public affairs as his position required. When, at nearly eighty years old, he began his Memoirs, he had lived beyond the reigns of three kings, and saw France, through the selfishness of her rulers, well advanced on that downward road that led to the coarse vice and brutality of the Hundred Years War, and to the corruption and luxurious bestiality of the last Valois kings. But Joinville, old, still keeps untainted the spirit of his youth. He writes in the mood of that golden age, the reign of the "Holy King," when still ' from Courts men Courtesy did call "; and his book is a lasting witness to the influence of that master who thought it "a vile thing for a gentleman to get drunk," and who punished foul words as a crime.
THE LORD OF JOINVILLE DEDICATES HIS BOOK TO LOUIS, SON OF PHILIPPE LE BEL AND JEANNE OF NAVARRE (AFTERWARDS LOUIS X, "LE HUTIN"), AND DIVIDES IT INTO TWO PARTS.
To his good lord Louis, son of the King of France, by the grace of God King of Navarre, Count Palatine of Champagne and Brie, greeting, love honour and ready service from John, Lord of Joinville, his Seneschal of Champagne.
Dear Lord, I give you to know that your Lady Mother the Queen, who loved me well, May God have mercy on her! desired of me right earnestly, that I would make her a book of the holy words and good deeds of our king Saint Louis; and I did promise her the same; and by God's aid the book is completed in two parts.
The first part tells how he ordered his time according to God and the Church and to the profit of his realm.
The second part of the book treats of his knightly prowess and great feats of arms.
Sir, in that it is written: "Do first that which pertains to God, and He will direct all the rest for thee," have I caused to be written such matters as pertain to the three things aforesaid: to wit, to soul, body, and the government of the people.1
These other things, moreover, have I caused to be written to the honour of his true and holy relics, that by them it may be plainly seen, that never a layman of our times lived so holily as he did all his days, from the beginning of his reign unto the end of his life. Not that I was present at his life's end, but his son, Count Peter of Alencon, was there, who loved me well and related to me the fair ending that he made, as you will find it written at the end of this book. Whereby methinks they fell short of his due, in not ranking him among the martyrs, seeing the great hardships that he underwent in the pilgrimage of the Cross for the space of six years that I was in his company; and specially in that he followed our Lord in the matter of the Cross. For if God died by the Cross, even so did he; for he was crossed when he was at Tunis.
The second book will tell us of his deeds of knightly prowess and great daring; which were such, that four times I beheld him put his person in jeopardy of death, as you shall hear, to save his followers from harm.
The first occasion, was when we touched land before Damietta; when all his council urged him, so I heard, to tarry until he should see how his knights should fare at their landing; and for this reason: that if he went ashore with them, and were slain along with his followers, the cause would be lost; whereas, if he tarried in his ship, he in himself might make good the loss and win back the land of Egypt. And he would hearken to none of them but leaped all armed into the sea, his shield about his neck and his spear in his hand, and was one of the first ashore.
The second occasion, was when we left Mansourah to go to Damietta and his council urged him, as I was given to understand, to travel to Damietta in the galleys; and he would hearken to never a one, saying rather: that he would never desert his followers, but that their fate should be his.
The third occasion, was when we had dwelt a year in the Holy Land, after his brothers had left it. In great peril of death were we at that time; since, whilst the king was sojourning in Acre, for one man-of-arms that he had in his company the inhabitants had full thirty, when the town was seized. Indeed, I know no other reason wherefor the Turks did not come and take us in the town, save for the love God bore the king, who put fear into the hearts of our enemies, so that they did not dare attack us.
The fourth occasion when he jeopardized his person, was when we returned from over seas and came before the Isle of Cyprus, where our ship ran so heavily aground, that three spans-length of the keel whereon she was built was torn away. Whereupon the king sent for fourteen master mariners to advise him what he should do; and they all advised him, as you will hear, to go into another ship. But to all their arguments the king replied: "Sirs, I see, that if I go out of this ship, she will be abandoned, and no one will remain in her, but they will choose to remain in Cyprus; wherefore please God, I will never cause the ruin of so great a number of men as are here, rather will I stay here to safeguard them." Thus the king warded off the mischief of eight hundred persons that were in his ship.
In the last part of this book we will speak of his end and in what a holy fashion he passed away.
Now to you, my lord king of Navarre, I say, that I promised your lady mother the Queen, God rest her soul! that I would make this book; and to acquit me of my promise I have made it. And since I see none that has so good a right to it as you who are her heir, to you I send it, to the end that you and your brothers and all others who shall hear it may take good example thereby, and show forth the example in their works, that God may be well pleased with them.
SAYINGS AND CUSTOMS OF THE KING
IN the name of Almighty God, I, John, Lord of Joinville, Seneschal of Champagne, do cause to be written the life of our Saint Louis, that which I saw and heard during the space of six years that I was in his company on the pilgrimage over seas and after we returned. And before I tell you of his great deeds and knightliness, I will tell you what I saw and heard of his holy words and good teachings, so that they may be found in sequence, to the edification of those that shall hear them.
The love he bore his people appeared in what he said to his son during a sore sickness he had at Fountainebleau; "Fair son," quoth he, "I pray thee, win the love of the people of thy kingdom. For truly, I would rather that a Scot should come out of Scotland and rule the people of the kingdom well and justly, than that thou shouldst govern them ill-advisedly."
The holy man so loved truth that he would not play even the Saracens false, as hereafter you shall hear.
Touching his mouth he was sober, for never in my life did I hear him discourse of dishes, as many rich men do; but contentedly he ate whatever his cooks set before him. In words he was temperate, for never did I hear him speak ill of others, nor ever hear him name the Devil; the which is not common throughout the kingdom, and thereat, I bow, God is ill pleased. His wine he tempered moderately, according as he saw that the wine could bear it. He asked me in Cyprus: why I put no water to my wine? and I told him; It was the physicians' doing, who told me, that I had a thick head and a cold belly, and that it was not in me to get drunk. And he said: They deceived me; for unless I used myself whilst young to drink it watered, if, when old, I desired to do so, I should then be seized with gouts and stomach complaints and never have my health: whereas, if in old age I were to take my wine neat, I should be drunk every evening, and that it was a passing foul thing for a gallant gentleman to get drunk.
He asked me: Whether I wished to be honoured in this world and win Heaven at my death? "Yea!" said I, "Then," said he, "See that you be not wittingly guilty of any word or deed whereof if all the world knew it you could not acknowledge: So I said; So I did."
He bade me avoid contradicting or disagreeing with anything that anyone said before me, provided there would be no blame nor harm to myself in letting it pass; for that hard words provoke quarrels that are the death of thousands.
He used to say: That we ought so to clothe and care for our bodies that sober men of the world might not deem us over-nice, nor young men deem us slovens. And this reminds me of the father of the present king and the embroidered coats-of-arms that they make nowadays. For I told him, that never in my travels over seas did I see embroidered coats, neither belonging to the king nor to anyone else. And he told me, that he had garments embroidered with his arms such as had cost him eight hundred pounds parisis. And I told him that he would have employed them better, had he given them to God, and had made his clothes of good taffety as his father was wont to do.l
He called me once, and said to me: "You are of such subtile perception in all matters touching religion, that I am afraid to talk to you, and for that reason I have called in these friars here, for I wish to ask you a question." The question was, "Seneschal, what sort of thing is God?" I answered: "Such a good thing, sir, that there is none better." "Well answered indeed," said he "for the very same answer is written in this book that I hold. Next I ask you," said he, "Which would you rather: Be a leper, or have committed a deadly sin?" And I, who never lied to him, replied: That I would rather have committed thirty deadly sins than be a leper. And when the friars were gone, he called me all alone, and made me sit at his feet, and said to me: "What was that you said to me yesterday?" And I replied: That I still said the same. "You talk like a hasty rattlepate," said he, "For there is no leprosy so foul as deadly sin, seeing that a soul in deadly sin is in the image of the Devil. And truly when a man dies, he is healed of the leprosy of the body, but when a man dies that has committed deadly sin, great fear must he needs have lest such leprosy should endure so long as God shall be in Heaven."
He asked me: Whether I washed the feet of the poor on Maundy Thursday? " Sorrow take it, Sir!" said I " The feet of those wretches will I never wash! " ' Truly," quoth he '` That was ill said; for you should not despise that which God did for our instruction. Wherefor I pray you, for the love of God and of me, that henceforth you will accustom yourself to wash them."
He so loved all manner of God-fearing men, that he bestowed the Constableship of France on my lord Giles le Brun, who was not of the realm of France, because he had a great reputation as a God-fearing man. And truly so I think he was.
There was Master Robert of Sorbonne, whom, because of his high reputation for honour and virtue, the King would have to dine at his table.
It chanced one day, that he and I were next one another at table, and the king reproved us, and said: "Speak aloud," said he, " For your fellows here fancy that you are backbiting them. If your discourse at table be of pleasant matters, then speak aloud, or, if not, then keep silence."
When the King was merry, he would say to me: "Come, seneschal, tell me the reasons why a gallant man is better than a Begouin? " Then would begin the argument between Master Robert and me; and when we had disputed a good while, he would give judgment thus; " Master Robert, I would wish to have the name of a gallant man, provided that I were one, and give you all the rest. For a gallant man is such a great thing and such a fine thing, that the very sound of it fills one's mouth."
He used to say, on the contrary, that it was a bad business to borrow from anyone, for that the restoring was so disagreeable that the very "R's" in it flayed one's throat, and betokened the Devil's rakes, always dragging back the man who set about restoring his neighbour's property. And the Devil is so cunning about it, that in the case of great usurers and robbers, he wiles them into giving to God that which they ought to restore to its owners. He bade me tell King Tibald from him, that he should beware of the house of Preachers of Provence which he was building, lest all the money he was putting into it should be a clog to his soul; for that wise men during their lifetime should deal with their possessions as executors: to wit, that good executors first of all redress any wrongs done by the dead man, and restore whatever was not his, and the remainder of his wealth they spend in alms.
The holy King was at Corbeuil one Pentecost, where there were four-score knights. After dinner, he came down into a meadow by the chapel, and stood in the gateway, talking to the Count of Brittany, the father of the present Duke, whom God preserve! Thither came Master Robert of Sorbonne, seeking me, and took me by the flap of my cloak, and led me to the King, all the other knights following us. "Master Robert, what do you want with me? " asked I. "I ask you," said he, " If the King were sitting in this meadow, and you went and sat above him on the bench, would you not be to blame?" I answered: Yes. " Then," said he, "You are just as much to blame in being more richly clad than the King; for you clothe yourself in green and minnever,which the King does not." Said I to him: "Master Robert, I am in no wise to blame, though I do dress in green and minnever; for this dress was handed down to me from my father and mother. But you are to blame, for you are the son of villein parents, and have laid aside their dress, and attired yourself in finer cloth than the King." Then I took hold of the lappet of his surcoat and that of the King's, and said: " Look and see if what I say is true." Thereupon the King set to work to defend Master Robert by words with all his might.
Afterwards, my lord the King called my lord Philip his son, (father to the present King,) and King Tibald, and sat down by the door of his oratory, and put his hand on the ground, and said: " Sit down here close beside me, that we may not be overheard." "Oh, Sir!" said they, "We should not venture to sit so close to you!" "Seneschal," said he, " Sit you here." which I did, so close to him, that my gown touched his. He made them sit down beyond me, and said to them: It was great ill breeding in you, that are my sons, not to do at once what I bade you, and take care that it never happens again." and they said it should not. Then he told me, that he had called us in order to confess to me, that he had been wrong in defending Master Robert against me. "But," said he, "When I saw him in such confusion, I was obliged to come to his assistance. But all the same do not hold by anything I said in Master Robert's defence; for, as the seneschal says, you should dress well and neatly, so that your wives may love you the better, and your followers esteem you the more."
The holy King strove with all his might, by his conversation, to make me believe firmly in the Christian law. He told me once, that some Albigenses' had come to the Count of Montfort, (who at that time was holding the Albigenses' country for the King) and told him they had come to see the body of our Lord which had turned to flesh and blood in the priest's hands. "Go and see it, you that disbelieve it," said he, "For as for me, I firmly believe it, according to the teaching of Holy Church. And know, that it is I that shall be the winner," said the Count, "because in this mortal life I believe it; wherefor I shall have a crown in Heaven above the angels, for they see it face to face, and so cannot choose but believe it."
He told me that there was a great conference of clergy and Jews in the monastery of Clugny, and there was a knight, to whom the abbot had given bread out of charity, and he desired the abbot to let him have the first word, and with some difficulty he got permission. Then the knight rose, and leaned upon his crutch, and bade them bring forth the greatest scholar and master among the Jews, and they did so. And he put a question to him as follows: " Master," said he, " I ask you, whether you believe that the Virgin Mary, who carried God in her womb and in her arms, brought forth as a maid, and that she is the Mother of God? " And the Jew replied: That he did not believe a word of it. The knight replied: That he was a great fool to trust himself inside her monastery and house, when he neither believed in nor loved her; " And truly you shall pay for it" quoth he. And thereupon he lifted up his staff, and smote the Jew behind the ear, and stretched him on the ground. And the Jews took to their heels, carrying their master off with them, all wounded. And that was the end of the conference. Then the abbot came to the knight, and said: That he had acted very foolishly; and the knight replied: That he himself had acted still more foolishly, in calling such a conference; for that there were numbers of Christians there, who by the close of the conference would have gone away infidels, through not seeing through the fallacies of the Jews. " And so I tell you," said the King, " That no one ought to argue with them unless he be a very good scholar; but a layman, if he hear the Christian law defamed, should undertake its defence with the sword alone, and that he should use to run them straight through the body as far in as it will go!"
He governed his dominions on this wise: Every day, he heard his Hours by note, and a Requiem mass without note and afterwards the mass for the day, or for the saint, (if it fell on a saint's day) by note. Every day he used to rest in his bed after dinner; and when he had slept and rested, then the office for the Dead used to be said in his chamber by himself and one of his chaplains before he heard Vespers. In the evening he heard Complines.
He had arranged his business in such a fashion, that my lord of Nesle and the good Count of Soissons, and we others who were about his person after hearing mass used to go and listen to the Pleas of the Gate (which they call now "Petitions"). And when he came back from the minster, he used to send for us, and would sit down at the foot of his bed and make us sit all round him, and would ask us, whether there were any cases to be despatched that could not be despatched without him, and we named them, and he would send for the parties, and ask them: "Why do you not accept what our officers offer you?" and they would say: " It is very little, Sir." And he would talk to them as follows: " You ought really to take what people are ready to concede." And in this way the holy man laboured with all his might to bring them into the right and reasonable course.
Many a time it chanced in summer, that he would go and sit in the forest of Vincennes, after mass, and all who had business would come and talk with him, without hindrance from ushers or anyone. Then he would ask them with his own lips: " Is there anyone here, that has a suit?" and those that had suits stood up. Then he would say: " Keep silence, all of you; and you shall be dealt with in order." Then he would call up my lord Peter of Fontaines and my lord Geoffrey of Villette, and say to one of them: " Despatch me this suit! " and if, in the speech of those who were speaking on behalf of others, he saw that a point might be better put, he himself would put it for them with his own lips. I have seen him sometimes in summer, when to hear his people's suits, he would come into the gardens of Paris, clad in a camel's-hair coat, with a sleeveless surcoat of tiretaine, a cloak of black taffety round his neck, his hair well combed and without a quoif, and a white swansdown hat upon his head. He would cause a carpet to be spread, that we might sit round him; and all the people who had business before him stood round about, and then he caused their suits to be despatched, --
just as I told you before about the forest of Vincennes.
The King's loyalty may be seen in the affair of my lord of Trie, who sent the saint some letters, which stated, that the King had granted the county of Danmartin in Govelle to the heirs of the Countess of Boulogne, who had died recently. The seal of the letter was broken, so that there was nothing left of the King's seal but half the legs of the figure and the stool on which the King had his feet, and he showed it to all us who were of his council, and asked us to assist him with our counsel. We all declared with one accord, that he was in no wise bound to carry out the terms of the letter. Then he bade John Saracen, his chamberlain, bring him the letter which he had given into his keeping. When he had the letter in his hand, he said to us: " Sirs, look at this seal which I used before I went over seas: it is plain to see, that the impress of the broken seal is exactly like the perfect seal, so that I could not venture in all conscience to withhold the county in question." And thereupon he called my lord Reynold of Trie, and said to him: "I deliver the county to you."
IN FRANCE AND EGYPT
OF THE KING'S BIRTH AND CORONATION, AND HOW THE COUNT OF BRITTANY AND THE BARONS OF FRANCE REBELLED AGAINST HIM.
IN the name of Almighty God, having heretofore written part of the good words and teachings of Saint Louis, our King, we will next begin upon his deeds, in the name of God and of himself.
He was born, as I have heard him say, on the day of Saint Mark the Evangelist, after Easter. On that day, in many places they carry the Cross in procession, and in France it is called " Black Cross Day," and this was, as it were, a foreshadowing of the great host of people who died on those two crusades: to wit, on the Egyptian crusade, and on that other, where he died at Carthage; for very great sorrowing there was in this world, and very great rejoicing there is in Heaven over those, who on those two pilgrimages died true crusaders. He was crowned on the first Sunday in Advent. The mass for that Sunday begins: " To Thee have I lifted up my soul" and what follows after. In God he trusted firmly till his death; for at the point of death, with his last words he called on God and His Saints, especially upon my lord Saint James and my lady Saint Genevieve.
Great need had he in childhood that God should guard him; as by the good teachings of his mother, who taught him to love and believe in God, and set men of religion about him. Child as he was, she used to make him repeat his Hours and hear the lessons on Feast-days, and often told him as he recorded later, that she were rather he were dead than that he should commit a deadly sin.
Great need had he in his youth of God's aid; for his mother was from Spain, and had neither kindred nor friends in all the realm of France; and the barons of France, seeing the King but a child, and his mother a foreign woman, made the Count of Boulogne the King's uncle their leader, and looked upon him as actually their liege lord.
After the King was crowned, there were some of the barons who requested the Queen to grant them certain large territories; and because she would do none of it, they gathered themselves together, all the barons, at Corbeuil. And the holy King told me, that he and his mother, who were at Montl'hery, durst not return to Paris until the men of Paris came under arms to fetch them. And he told me, how, all the way from Montl'hery to Paris, the road was thronged with people, armed and unarmed, all loudly praying Christ to give him health and long life, and to defend and keep him from his enemies.
At this parliament of the barons at Corbeuil, so it is said, those of them that were present decided, that the good knight Count Peter of Brittany should rebel against the King, and further, that when the king should summon them to march against the Count, they should attend in person and each bring only two knights with him; and this to see whether the Count of Brittany would be able to crush the Queen, she being but a foreign woman, as you have heard. And many people say, that the Count would have crushed the Queen and King too, if God had not come to the King's aid in this strait. But by God's grace, Count Tibald of Champagne, (the same who later became King of Navarre) came to serve the King with three hundred knights, and by his aid, the Count of Brittany was brought to the King's mercy, so that, to make peace, he was obliged to relinquish to the King the county of Anjou (so it is said), and the county of Le Perche.
Now I must leave my subject for a while, in order to rehearse certain matters that you shall now learn. We will say therefor, that the good Count, Henry the Generous (of Champagne) had two sons by the Countess Mary, sister to the King of France and to Richard of England, of whom the eldest was named Henry, and the younger Tibald. This elder one, Henry, took the cross and went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, what time King Philip and King Richard besieged Acre and took it. So soon as Acre was taken, King Philip returned to France, for which he was much blamed; but King Richard stayed in the Holy Land, and did many great deeds, so that the Saracens feared him mightily: for it is written in the book of the Holy Land that when the Saracen children cried, the women would scold them, saying: " Hush! King Richard is coming! " to quiet them. And when the horses of the Saracens or Bedouins shied at a bush, their riders would say: " Do you fancy that it is King Richard? "
This King Richard used his influence to give to Count Henry of Champagne, who had remained with him, the Queen of Jerusalem, who was direct heir to the kingdom. By the said Queen, Count Henry had two daughters, of whom the first was Queen of Cyprus, and the other was given to Lord Erard of Brienne, from whom has sprung a great lineage, as may be seen in France and Champagne. It is not of Lord Erard of Brienne's wife that I wish to speak now, but about the Queen of Cyprus.
After the King had crushed Count Peter of Brittany, all the barons of France were so stirred up against Count Tibald of Champagne, that they resolved to send for the Queen of Cyprus, she being daughter to the eldest son of the house of Champagne, in order to disinherit Count Tibal, he being son to the second son.
Some amongst them intervened to make peace between Count Peter and the said Count Tibald and the upshot of the negotiations was, that Count Tibald promised to take Count Peter's daughter to wife. A day was fixed for the Count of Champagne to espouse the damsel; and they were to bring her for the wedding to a certain abbey at PrŽmoutrŽ which is close to Chateau Thierry, and is called, I believe, Val Secret. The barons of France, who were nearly all of kin to Count Peter, took much trouble in escorting the damsel to Val Secret for the wedding, and sent word to the Count of Champagne who was at Chateau Thierry. But whilst the Count of Champagne was on his way to get married, there came to him my lord Geoffrey de la Chapelle from the King with a letter of credentials, and said as follows: "Sir Count, the King has heard, that you have covenanted with Count Peter of Brittany to take his daughter in marriage. Wherefor the King sends you word, that, unless you wish to lose whatever possessions you have in the realm of France, you will not do this thing; for you know that the Count of Brittany has used the King worse than any man alive." And the Count of Champagne, by the advice of those that were with him, turned back again to Chateau Thierry.
HOW THE BARONS OF FRANCE RAVAGED THE LANDS OF THE COUNT OF CHAMPAGNE, AND HOW THE KING MADE PEACE EPISODE OF COUNT HENRY THE GENEROUS.
WHEN Count Peter and the barons of France, who were waiting for him at Val Secret, heard what had happened, they were all as it were beside themselves at the slight he had put upon them; and now they sent for the Queen of Cyprus; and so soon as ever she was come, they agreed with common accord to muster all the men-at-arms they could, and to march into Brie and Champagne from the French side; and the Duke of Burgundy, who had Count Robert of Dreux' daughter to wife, was to enter the county of Champagne on the Burgundian side, and take the city of Troyes if possible.
The Duke summoned as many men as he could muster, and the barons likewise. The barons came through, burning and destroying on one side, the Duke on another, and the King of France on another, seeking to come to battle with them. The Count of Champagne finding himself thus beset, began himself to fire his own towns before the approach of the barons, so that they might not find supplies in them. Amongst the other towns which the Count of Champagne burnt were Epernay, and Vertus, and SŽzanne.
The burghers of Troyes, seeing themselves abandoned by their own lord, sent to Simon, lord of Joinville, (the father of the present lord) to come to their rescue. He, having summoned all his men-at-arms, set out from Joinville at nightfall, so soon as ever the tidings reached him, and came to Troyes before daybreak; and so the barons were disappointed in their hopes of taking Troyes, and passed by that city, and went and camped in the open, close to where the Duke of Burgundy lay.
The King of France, learning that they were there, marched straight to the place to give battle to them; and the barons sent to him begging that he would withdraw his person, and they would go and do battle with the Count of Champagne and the Duke of Lorraine and all the rest of his men, with three hundred knights less than the Count or the Duke should have. And the King sent them word, that he would never fight against his own liegemen save in person. And they came again to him, and said: that they would willingly incline the Queen of Cyprus to peace, if so he pleased. And the King sent them word that he would hear of no peace, neither suffer the Count of Champagne to hear of any, until they should have evacuated the county of Champagne. And they did withdraw in so far as to leave Ylles where they were, and go and camp below Juylli; and the King lodged at Ylles whence he had driven them. And when they knew that the King was gone thither, they went and camped at Chaorse, and durst not abide the King's coming, but went and camped at Langres, which belonged to the Count of Nevers, who was of their party.
Thus the King accorded the Count of Champagne with the Queen of Cyprus, and peace was made after this wise: that the said Count gave to the Queen land worth about two thousand pounds a year, besides forty thousand pounds that the King paid for the Count of Champagne. And the Count sold to the King, in exchange for the forty thousand pounds, the fiefs hereafter named: to wit, the fief of the county of Blois, the fief of the county of Chartres, the fief of the county of Sancerre, the fief of the vicounty of Chateaudun. There were people, indeed, who said that the King only held these aforesaid fiefs in pawn; but there is no truth in it, for I asked our holy King Louis about it whilst we were over seas.
The land which Count Tibald gave to the Queen of Cyprus is held by the present Count of Brienne and the Count of Joigny, because the Count of Brienne's grandmother was daughter to the Queen of Cyprus and wife to the great Count Walter of Brienne.
That you may know, how the Lord of Champagne came by those fiefs that he sold to the King, I must tell you, that the great Count Tibald, who sleeps at Lagny, had three sons: the first was named Henry; the second Tibald; the third Stephen. This same Henry was Count of Champagne and Brie, and was called, " Henry the Generous"; and rightly was he so called, for he was generous both towards God and the world: generous towards God, as appears by the church of Saint Stephen of Troyes and by the other churches which he founded in Champagne; generous towards the world, as appeared in the case of Artauld of Nogent and on many other occasions which I would relate to you, if I were not afraid of hindering the course of my story.
Artauld of Nogent was the burgher whom the King most trusted, and he was so rich, that he built the castle of Nogent l'Artauld with his own money. Now it chanced that Count Henry came down out of his hall at Troyes to go and hear mass at Saint Stephen on the day of Pentecost; and at the foot of the steps there knelt a poor knight, who thus accosted him: " Sir, I beseech you for the love of God, to give me out of your wealth the wherewithal to marry my two daughters whom you see here." Artauld, who was walking behind him, said to the poor knight, " Sir Knight, it is not courteous in you to beg from my lord; for he has given away so much, that he has nothing left to give." The generous Count turned round to Artauld, and said to him: "Sir Villein, you speak untruly when you say, that I have nothing left to give, why, I have you yourself! Here, take him, Sir Knight! for I give him to you, and will warrant him to you." The knight was in no wise abashed, but took him by the cape, and told him: That he would not let him go until he had come to terms with him; and before he could get away, Artauld had made fine with him for five hundred pounds.
Count Henry's second brother was named Tibald, and was Count of Blois; his third brother, named Stephen, was Count of Sancerre; and these two brothers held all their heritage with the two counties and their appurtenances in fee of Count Henry; and afterwards they held them of Count Henry's heirs who held Champagne, until the time when Count Tibald sold them to the King of France, as I told you above.
OF THE: FEAST THAT THE KING HELD AT SAUMUR; AND HOW THE KING OF ENGLAND AND THE COUNT OF LA MARCHE MADE WAR ON KING LOUIS.
LET US return to our story, and say as follows: that after these events, the King held a great court at Saumur in Anjou. I was there, and can bear you witness that it was the finest that ever I saw. For there ate at the King's table, beside him, the Count of Poitiers, whom he had newly knighted on a Saint John's Day; and next him sat Count John of Dreux, whom likewise he had newly knighted. Next to the Count of Dreux, sat the Count of La Marche, and next him, the good Count Peter of Brittany; and in front of the King's table, in a line with the Count of Dreux, sat my lord the King of Navarre, in a coat and mantle of samite, richly adorned with belt and clasp and circlet of gold; and I carved before him. Before the King, his brother the Count of Artois was trencher bearer, and the good Count, John of Soissons, carved. To guard the table, there was my Lord Humbert of Beaujeu, (who afterwards became Constable of France), and my Lord Enguerrand of Coucy, and my Lord Archibald of Bourbon. Forming a bodyguard behind these three barons were a good thirty of their knights, in coats of cloth of silk, and behind the knights a great crowd of serjeants clad in taffety stamped with the Count of Poitier's arms. The King had donned a coat of sky-blue satin, and a surcoat and mantle of scarlet satin lined with ermine, and on his head a cotton bonnet, which became him very ill, he being in those days a young man.
The King held this feast in the halls of Saumur, which were built, they say, by the great King Henry of England, to hold his great feasts. The halls are built after the fashion of the cloisters of the White Monks; but I trow there are no others so large by far. I will tell you, why: for along the wall of the cloister where the King was dining, and he was surrounded by knights and serjeants who took up a great deal of room, there was a table at which were seated thirty other persons, bishops and archbishops; and again, beyond the bishops and at the same table, was seated Blanche the Queen Mother, at the opposite end of the cloister to where the King sat. The Count of Boulogne, (who afterwards was King of Portugal) waited on the Queen, together with the good Count of St. Pol, and a German lad, eighteen years of age, who was said to be the son of Saint Elizabeth of Thuringia. It was said of him, that Queen Blanche used to kiss his forehead out of piety, because she heard that his mother had often kissed him there. At the end of the cloister, on the other side, were the kitchens, the butteries, the pantries, and the storerooms; and from this cloister they set bread and wine and meat before the King and Queen. And in all the other wings, and in the centre plot there feasted a vast number of knights, more than I can tell. Many people say, that they never saw before at any feast so many surcoats and other garments of cloth-of-gold as were there; and that there must have been full three thousand knights in the place.
After this feast, the King brought the Count of Poitiers to Poitiers, that he might take seizin of his fiefs, but when the King was come to Poitiers, he would gladly have been back again in Paris; for he found that the Count of La Marche, who had eaten at his table on Saint John's day, had got together a number of men-at-arms at Lusignan by Poitiers. The King remained at Poitiers close on a fortnight, not daring to depart until he should be reconciled with the Count of La Marche. I know not how it came about, but I several times saw the Count of La Marche on his way from Lusignan to confer with the King at Poitiers; and he always brought with him his wife, the Queen of England, who was mother to the English king. And many people said, that the peace which the King and the Count of Poitiers made with the Count of La Marche was an unsound one.
No long while after the King had got back from Poitiers, the King of England came into Gascony to make war on the King of France. Our holy King, with as many men as he could raise, rode forth to give him battle. Thither came the King of England and the Count of La Marche to do battle before a castle called Taillebourg, which lies on a dangerous river named the Charente, where there is no crossing save by a very narrow stone bridge. No sooner had the King reached Taillebourg, and the armies were face to face, than our men, (who had the castle on their side,) pushed on at great cost, and crossed over most hazardously by means of boats and the bridge, and rushed upon the English; and there began a general hand-to-hand engagement stiffly contested. The King perceiving this adventured himself into the thick of it along with the rest, for the English had four men for every one that the King had after he had crossed. Howsoever it so happened by God's will, that when the English saw the King cross over, they lost heart, and retired into the city of Saintes; and some of our men entered the city mixed up with them, and were taken prisoners.
Those of our people who were captured at Saintes related, that they heard a great quarrel arise between the King of England and the Count of La Marche, the King of England saying: That the Count of La Marche had sent for him to come over, and had assured him, that he would find plenty of support in France. That very evening, the King of England left Saintes, and drew off into Gascony.
The Count of La Marche, seeing that there was no help for it, yielded himself prisoner to the King, together with his wife and children; and so, when peace came to be made, the King got a great slice of the Count's lands; but I do not know how much, for I was not present at this affair, not having yet donned a hauberk; but I heard say, that, besides the land, the King carried off ten thousand pounds parisis that he had in his coffers, and every year as much again.
Whilst we were at Poitiers, I saw a knight, named Lord Geoffrey of Rancon, who, by reason, it was said, of a great outrage that the Count of La Marche had done him, had sworn by the holy relics, that he would never have his hair clipped in the fashion of knights, but would wear it long and parted as women do, until such time as he should see himself avenged on the Count, by his own hand, or by another. And when Lord Geoffrey saw the Count, his wife and his children, kneeling before the King, and suing for pardon, he there and then bade them bring him a stool, and had his long locks shorn off in the presence of the King and the Count of La Marche and the company.
Out of this campaign against the King of England and against the barons, the King made many handsome presents, as I learnt from people who had come from it. And for no gifts nor expenses that he was put to in this campaign, nor in any others on either side of the water, did the King ever request nor take from his barons, nor from his knights, nor from his liegemen, nor from his good towns any aids that could be complained of. And no wonder, for he acted by the advice of his good mother who was with him, whose precepts he carried out, and those that were handed on to him by the wise men of his father's and grandfather's times.
HOW THE KING TOOK THE CROSS THE EPISODE OF THE CLERK AND THE THREE ROBBERS JOINVILLE PREPARES TO GO ON CRUSADE.
AFTER the events above narrated, it happened, by God's will, that a great sickness overtook the King at Paris; whereby he was brought so low, as he used to relate, that one of the ladies who were nursing him declared him to be dead, and was about to draw the sheet up over his face; but another lady, who was on the opposite side of the bed, would not permit it, but said that his soul was still in his body. When he heard the two ladies disputing, Our Lord worked in him, and presently sent him health, for he had been voiceless and could not speak. He desired, that they would give him the cross, and they did so.
When the Queen, his mother, heard that his speech had returned to him, nothing could surpass her rejoicings; but when, as himself used to relate, she learnt, that he had taken the cross, she made as great mourning as though he lay dead before her eyes. After he had taken the cross, Robert, Count of Artois took it, and Alphonso, Count of Poitiers, and Charles, Count of Anjou, (who afterwards was King of Sicily) all three the King's brothers; and Hugh, Duke of Burgundy crossed himself, and William, Count of Flanders, brother to Count Guy of Flanders, who was newly dead; and Hugh, the good Count of St. Pol, and his nephew, my Lord Walter, who bore himself right well over seas, and would have been a man of great worth, if he had but lived. And the Count of La Marche was one of them, and my Lord Hugh le Brun, his son, and the Count of Sarrebruck, and his son, my Lord Gilbert of Apremont, in whose company I, Lord of Joinville, crossed the sea in a ship which we hired, for we were cousins; and we crossed over twenty knights in all, of whom half were his, and half mine.
At Easter, in the year of Grace which was just striking 1248, I summoned my liegemen and my vassals to Joinville; and on the same Easter Eve, when all whom I had summoned were come, was born my son, John, Lord of Acerville, the child of my first wife, who was sister to the Count of Grandpre.
All that week we feasted and danced; for my brother, the Lord of Vaucouleurs, and the other rich men who were there entertained the company in turn, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
On the Friday I said to them: " Sirs, I am going away over seas, and I know not whether I shall return. Now therefore, come forward; and if I have done any of you a wrong, I will right it, and will as my custom is redress in turn any grievances you may have against me or my servants." I put everything right with them as regards the public business of my estates, and in order that I might have no undue advantage, I left my seat on the council, and abode without dispute by their decisions.
Being unwilling to take any ill-gotten money with me, I went to Metz in Lorraine, and left a great quantity of my land there in pawn; and know, that on the day I left our country to go to the Holy Land, I was not possessed of one thousand pounds of rent in land, for my Lady Mother was still alive. And so I set out, with nine other knights, myself the tenth, three of us being bannerets. And so you see, that if God had not been ever at my side, I could assuredly not have held out through those long six years that I spent in the Holy Land.
Whilst I was getting ready to start, John Lord of Apremont and Count of Sarrebruck by right of his wife, sent me word, that he had made arrangements for going over seas at the head of ten knights, and that if I liked, we would hire a ship between us; and I consented; and his people and mine hired a ship at Marseilles.
The King summoned his barons to Paris, and made them take an oath, that they would keep faith and loyalty towards his children if anything should happen to him on the way. He desired me to do so; but I would take no oath, because I was not his man.
Whilst I was on the road, I came across three men, lying dead on a cart, whom a clerk had slain; and I was told, that they were being taken to the King. Thereupon I sent one of my squires after them to learn what happened. The squire reported that the King, on leaving his chapel, went onto the steps to see the bodies, and asked the Provost of Paris: How it had occurred? And the Provost told him, that the dead men were three of his serjeants from the Chatelet, and that they used to go about robbing people on the high-roads; "and," said he to the King, "they fell in with this clerk, whom you see here, and stripped him of all his clothes. The clerk went off in his shirt to his house, and took his cross-bow, and made a child carry his falchion. Directly he saw the robbers, he shouted to them, and told them they should die on the spot. The clerk wound his cross-bow, and let fly a bolt, and pierced one of them through the heart; and the two others took to their heels. The clerk took the falchion that the child was holding, and followed them by the light of the moon, which was bright and clear. One of them thought to escape through a hedge into a garden; but the clerk struck him with the falchion, and clean cut off his leg so that it hung only by the boot, as you can see," said the Provost. "The clerk set off again in pursuit of the third, who thought to take refuge in a strange house, where the folks were not yet abed; but the clerk with his falchion struck him full on the head, so that he clove it to the teeth, as you may see, Sir" quoth the Provost to the King, "And, Sir, the clerk showed what he had done to the provost who lives hard-by the street, and then came and gave himself up in your gaol; and, Sir, I bring him to you, and here he is, that you may deal with him according to your pleasure." " Sir Clerk," said the King, " your prowess has lost you your priesthood; and for your prowess I retain you in my pay, and you shall accompany me over seas. I deal thus with you, in order that my followers may see that I will not uphold them in any of their wickedness." When the people that were assembled there heard this, they cried on Our Lord, beseeching God might grant the King a safe life and a long one, and bring him home in health and happiness.
After this, I returned into our country, and we arranged, the Count of Sarrebruck and I, that we should send our baggage by carts to Auxonne, and thence by the river Saone as far as the Rhone. On the day that I left Joinville, I sent for the Abbot of Cheminon, who was reputed the best man in the White Order. I heard one testimony borne him at Clairvaux, on the feast of Our Lady, when the holy King was there; for a monk pointed him out to me, and asked, whether I knew him? "Why do you ask?" said I; and he replied: " Because I believe that he is the best man of all the White Order. Know too," said he, " that I heard from a worthy man who used to lie in the same dormitory as the Abbot of Cheminon, that once the Abbot had bared his chest, because of the heat, and this good man, Lying in the same room where the Abbot was asleep, saw the Mother of God come to his bedside, and draw his gown across his chest lest the draught should hurt him."
So this Abbot of Cheminon gave me my scrip and staff, and thereupon, I departed from Joinville, and would not enter my castle any more, until I should come home again; and I set out on foot, barefooted, and in pilgrim's weeds, and visited Blechicourt and St. Urbans and other holy relics there; and all the while that I was on my way to Blechicourt and St. Urbans, I durst not cast my eyes back to Joinville, lest my heart should fail me for the fair castle and the two children that I was leaving behind me.
I and my companions dined at Fontaine l'Archeveque, hard by Donjeux. And there Abbot Adam of St. Urbans God rest his soul! gave me and my knights a great quantity of fine jewels. Thence we came to Auxonne, and went on with all our baggage, (which we had had placed in boats) down the Saone, from Auxonne to Lyons; and they led our big chargers alongside the boats. At Lyons, we entered the Rhone, on our way to Arles le Blanc; and in the Rhone we came upon a castle called the Rock of Gluy, which the King had caused to be pulled down, because the hue and cry was out against Roger, the lord of the castle, for robbing pilgrims and merchants.
[The following sections provide a detailed history of the crusade. Louis' army went first to Egypt, where initially they were successful, but a series of tactical mistakes caused the defeat of the crusader army and the capture of the king. After he was released (for a huge ransom), he took the remains of his men to Acre, the port city that was the sole remaining piece of Crusader territory in the Holy Land. Here Louis organized the release of the remaining captives, negotiated with the various Muslim factions to retain the independence of Acre, and acted with dignity and impartiality. In 1252 Louis' mother, who had been ruling France in his absence, died, and he knew that he had to return home. I've included just one chapter from this section, to give you a sense of how Joinville showed the king's role.]
"TELLS HOW DAMIETTA WAS OCCUPIED."
GREAT favour the Lord showed us, in delivering Damietta into our hands; for we could never have taken it without much toil and trouble, as we can plainly see, from the trouble King John [of Brienne] had to take it in the time of our fathers. Our Lord may say of us, as He did of the children of Israel: " Et pro nihilo habuerunt terram desiderabilem." And what says He after? He says, that they forgot God, who had saved them. And how we forgot Him, I will tell you presently.
I will deal first with the King, who summoned his barons both clerics and laymen, and begged, that they would help him to consider, how the booty should be divided which had been found in the town.
The Patriarch was the first to speak, and said thus: " Sir, it seems to me, that you will do well to keep the wheat and barley and rice, and all the necessaries of life, to stock the town; and let it be cried throughout the camp, that all the rest of the spoil must be brought to the Legate's dwelling, on pain of excommunication." All the other barons were of the same opinion. Now as it turned out, all the spoil that was brought to the Legate's house only amounted to six thousand pounds.
When this was done, the King and barons sent for my Lord John of Valery the paladin, and spoke to him as follows: " My lord of Valery," said the King, "we have agreed that the Legate shall deliver these six thousand pounds to you, to distribute as you shall think best." "Sir," said the paladin, "you do me great honour, and I thank you; but this honour and this offer that you make me, please God, I shall not accept; for I should be breaking the good customs of the Holy Land, which are these: that when any of the enemies' cities is taken, the King should have one third, and the pilgrims two thirds of the goods that may be found in it. Now King John kept this custom when he took Damietta, and so the ancients say the Kings of Jerusalem before King John kept it; and if it please you to hand over to me two thirds of the wheat and barley and rice, I will willingly undertake to distribute them among the pilgrims."
The King was not minded to do this; and so the matter stayed as it was; whence many people thought themselves aggrieved, in that the King had broken the good old customs.
The King's followers, who should have had the good grace to hold back, hired booths and sold their wares as dear, it was said, as they could; and this was noised about in foreign countries, so that many merchants desisted from coming to the camp.
The barons, who should have kept theirs against a time and place when they might spend it to good purpose, took to giving great feasts with extravagant dishes.
The common people took up with lewd women; on which account the King dismissed a whole quantity of his followers when we got back from prison. I asked him, why he had done so; and he told me that he had found out for certain that those he had dismissed were carrying on their orgies within a short stone's throw of his own pavilion, and that at the time when matters were at their worst with the army.
Now let us return to our subject, and tell how, shortly after we had taken Damietta, all the chivalry of the Sultan assembled before the camp, and besieged us on the land side. The King and all his knights armed themselves; and I went ready armed to the King, and found him armed and sitting on a bench, and with him certain paladins of his battalion, all armed. I desired of him, that I and my followers might draw off just outside the camp, in order that the Saracens might not set upon us in our quarters. When Lord John of Beaumont heard my request, he stormed at me, and ordered me, in the King's name, not to stir out of my quarters, until such time as the King should order me to do so.
I have mentioned the knights-paladins who were with the King, because there were eight of them, all good men, who had carried off prizes of arms both at home and abroad, and such knights they used to call "paladins." The names of those who were knights of the King's household were: Lord Geoffrey of Sargines; Lord Matthew of Marly; Lord Philip of Nanteuil; and Lord Humbert of Beaujeu, Constable of France, who was not there at that time, for he was outside the camp, between the camp and the captain of the cross-bowmen, with most of the King's serjeants-at-arms, keeping watch, lest the Turks should do the camp a mischief.
Now it happened that Lord Walter of Autreche had himself armed at all points within his pavilion; and when he was mounted on his horse, with his shield about his neck and his helmet on his head, he bade lift up the tent-flaps, and pricked out against the Turks; and as he started off alone from his pavilion his servants all set up a cry of "Chatillon! " Now it so chanced, that before ever he reached the Turks, he fell; and his stallion passed on over his body, and rushed, laden with his arms, into the ranks of the enemy, (for most of the Saracens were mounted on mares, which attracted the horse.)
And those who saw it told us, that four Saracens came by Lord Walter while he was lying on the ground; and as they passed by him, they struck him heavily with their clubs as he lay there. Then the Constable of France came to his rescue with some of the King's serjeants, and carried him back by the arms to his pavilion. When he got there he could not speak. Several of the army surgeons and doctors went to him, and, judging that there was no danger of death, they bled him in both arms. Quite late in the evening, Lord Albert of Narcy proposed to me, that we should go and visit him; for we had not seen him, and he was a man of great renown and velour. We came into his tent, and his chamberlain met us, and bade us tread softly and not waken his master. We found him lying on rugs of minnever, and went very quietly up to him, and found him dead. When it was told to the King, he replied, that he should be sorry to have a thousand like him, since they would disobey orders as he had done.
Every night, the Saracens used to steal on foot into the camp, and kill people wherever they found them asleep. Thus it befell, that they slew my Lord of Courtenay's sentry, and left him Lying on a table, and cut off his head, and carried it away with them; and this they did because the Sultan used to give a golden besant for every Christian's head. This came from the battalions keeping guard in the camp night and night about on horseback. For when the Saracens wished to enter the camp, they used to wait until the jingling of the bridles and armour had gone by, and then slip into the camp in the rear of the horses, and get out again before daybreak. Wherefor the King gave orders that the battalions who used to patrol on horseback should patrol on foot; so that the whole army rested secure in the guards, they being spread out in such a way that each was in touch with the next.
When this was done, the King decided not to leave Damietta until his brother, the Count of Poitiers, should arrive, who was bringing up the second detachment from France; and in order that the Saracens might not break into the camp on horseback, the King caused the whole of it to be surrounded with deep trenches; and cross-bowmen and serjeants used to keep guard over the trenches every night and at the entrances to the camp as well.
When the feast of Saint Remy had gone by, and there were still no tidings of the Count of Poitiers, the King and all in the camp were very uneasy, for they feared that some mishap had befallen him. Then I mentioned to the Legate how the Dean of Malrut had made three processions for us at sea, three Saturdays running, and how, before the third Saturday, we had reached Cyprus. The Legate listened to me, and made proclamation through the camp of three processions on three Saturdays. The first procession started from the Legate's house, and proceeded to the minster of Our Lady in the town; which minster had been built by the Saracens for the worship of Mahound, and the Legate had consecrated it to the Mother of God. The Legate preached the sermon on two Saturdays; and the King and rich men of the army were present, to whom the Legate dispensed a general pardon.
Within the third Saturday the Count of Poitiers arrived; and it was just as well that he had not come sooner; for between the first and third Saturday there was such a storm in the sea off Damietta, that full twelve score vessels big and little were wrecked and cast away, with all the people on board them drowned and lost. So that, if the Count of Poitiers had come sooner, he and his followers would all have perished.
[[[The king eventually comes back to France, where he lives for the remainder of his reign, until his death]]]
FROM THE KING'S RETURN TO FRANCE TO HIS DEATH AND CANONIZATION
HOW THE KING SETTLED DISPUTES AND MADE PEACE THROUGHOUT FRANCE; AND HOW HE DEALT WITH THE KING OF ENGLAND.
AFTER the King returned from over-seas, he behaved himself so devoutly, that thenceforth he never wore neither beaver, nor squirrel's fur, nor scarlet, nor gilded stirrups and spurs; his garments were of hair-cloth, or of dark-blue woollen. The trimmings of his coverlets and robes were of hares' feet or lamb's wool.
When the rich men's minstrels came to his house after dinner, and brought their viols, he would wait to hear grace until the minstrel had ended his lay; then he would rise, and before him stood the priests who said his grace. When we were in private, he would sit at the foot of his bed; and when the preachers or friars who were there put him in mind of some good book, to which he liked to listen, he would say to them, "You shall not read to me; for after meals there is no book so good as a 'quolibet,' and that means ' let each say what he pleases."
When any rich men dined with him they found him very good company.
I will tell you about his wisdom. On various occasions he showed himself to be the wisest man in his Council; as for instance when, apart from his Council and on the spur of the moment, he replied to a petition from all the prelates of the kingdom of France. It was as follows:
Bishop Guy of Auxerre addressed him for them all: " Sir " said he " these archbishops and bishops here present, have charged me to tell you that Christendom is falling to pieces and melting away in your hands, and will fall away still further, unless you study to remedy It; inasmuch as no one, nowadays, has any dread of excommunication. Wherefor we desire you, Sir, to order your serjeants and bailiffs to use compulsion on such as have been excommunicated a year and a day, that they may give satisfaction to the Church." And the King, without taking counsel at all, made answer, that he would willingly order his bailiffs and serjeants to use compulsion on those that were excommunicated as they demanded; but that he must be allowed to have cognisance whether the sentence were legal or no.
They consulted together and replied to the King; that they would not give him cognisance of what pertained to religion; and the King in his turn replied; that he would never give them cognisance of what pertained to him; nor would he ever order his serjeants to force those who were excommunicated to procure absolution whether right or wrong. "For if I did so, I should be flying in the face of God and of justice; and I will give you this as an instance: The bishops of Brittany kept the Count of Brittany no less than seven years under sentence of excommunication, and in the end the Court of Rome absolved him. Now, if I had put compulsion on him after the first year, I should have done so wrongly."
It happened after our return from over-seas, that the monks of St. Urban elected two abbots. Bishop Peter of Ch‰lons God rest his soul! turned them both out, and consecrated as abbot my Lord John of Mymery, and gave him the crozier. I would not acknowledge him, because he had wronged Abbot Geoffrey, who had appealed against him and gone to Rome. I kept the abbey in my own hands until the said Geoffrey carried off the crozier, and the bishop's man lost it. While the dispute was going on, the bishop had excommunicated me. In consequence of this, there was a great fuss made, in a parliament held at Paris, about me and Bishop Peter, and Countess Margaret of Flanders, and the Archbishop of Rheims to whom she gave the lie.
At the next parliament, all the prelates begged the King that he would come and speak with them alone. On his return from talking with the bishops, he came to us who were awaiting him in the Chamber of Pleas, and told us laughing how the bishops had baited him. It began with the Archbishop of Rheims saying to the King, "Sir, what are you going to do about thewardship of St. RŽmy of Rheims, of which you are robbing me? I would not have such a sin as yours on my conscience for the kingdom of France." " By the holy relics of this place," said the King, "you would, though, for Compiegne, such is your greed. So some one is perjured!,"
"The Bishop of Chartres," said the King, "desired me to restore him on credit what I held of his; and I told him that I should not do so until my castle were paid for. And I told him that he was my sworn liegeman, and that he was behaving neither well nor loyally towards me, in trying to rob me of my heritage."
"The Bishop of Ch‰lons said to me," said the King, " 'What are you going to do about the Lord of Joinville, who is robbing that poor monk of the abbey of St. Urban's?' Sir Bishop," quoth the King, " you have settled amongst your own selves that no excommunicated person shall be heard in a lay court. Now I have seen in letters sealed with thirty-two seals, that you are excommunicated; so I shall not hear you until you be absolved."
I tell you these things to show you how by his own unaided wits he despatched whatever business he had to do.
Abbot Geoffrey of St. Urban's, though I had done his business for him, rendered me evil for good afterwards, and appealed against me. He gave our holy King to understand that he was in his ward.
I begged the King to have the truth declared, whether the wardship were his or mine. " Sir," said the Abbot, "you shall never do that, please God rather admit us to a formal suit between us and the Lord of Joinville; seeing that we, to whom the property belongs, would rather have our abbey in your ward than in his."
Then said the King to me: " Is it true what they say, that the wardship of the abbey is mine " Certainly not, Sir," said I, " on the contrary, it is mine. "
Then the King said to them, " The property is very possibly yours; but with the wardship of your abbey you have nothing to do; so, by your leave, it must needs belong, according to what you say and to what the Seneschal says, either to me or to him. Neither will anything you say ever dissuade me from having the truth declared. For if I were to involve him in a formal suit, I should be acting disloyally towards him, who is my liegeman, by putting his rights to a trial when he offers to have them plainly declared."
He caused the truth to be declared, and when it was declared, he delivered me the wardship of the abbey, and gave me his letters.
It came about, through the exertions of the holy King, that the King of England, with his wife and children, came to France to treat of the peace between him and them. His Council was strongly opposed to the said peace, and addressed him thus: " Sir, we are greatly astonished at your purpose, that you intend to give the King of England so large a portion of your territory, which you and your forbears have conquered from him and by their own fault. It appears to us, that if you believe yourself to have no right to it, you are making but poor restitution to the King of England, unless you give him back the whole of what you and your forbears have conquered; whereas if you think that you have a right to it, it seems to us, that whatever you give him is so much lost."
To this the holy King replied as follows. " Sirs, I am quite sure that the King of England's forbears rightly and justly lost the conquered lands that I hold, and what I give him, I give him not because I am in any wise beholden to him nor to his heirs, but to put bonds of love betwixt my children and his who are first cousins. And methinks that what I give him is well spent; for whereas he was not my liege-man, now he comes into homage to me."
Indeed, he was the man of all the world who worked hardest for peace among his subjects, particularly among the rich men on his borders, and the princes of the realm; as for instance, between the Count of Ch‰lons (the Lord of Joinville's uncle) and his son the Count of Burgundy, between whom there was great strife, when we returned from overseas. And to make peace between father and son he sent some of his Council into Burgundy at his own expense, and through his exertions peace was made between them.
Again, there was great strife between King Tibald II of Champagne, and Count John of Ch‰lons, and his son the Count of Burgundy, over the abbey of Luxeuil; to pacify which my Lord the King sent thither Lord Gervaise Desoraines, who at that time was Chief Cook of France, and by his exertions he made peace. After the King had pacified this war, a fresh war sprang up, between Count Tibald of Bar, and Count Henry of Luxemburg, who had his sister to wife; and it fell out that they fought with each other below Pigney, and Count Tibald of Bar took Count Henry of Luxemburg prisoner, and also captured the castle of Liney, which belonged to the Count of Luxemburg by right of his wife. To end this war the King despatched my Lord Peter the Chamberlain, the man of all the world whom he most trusted all at the King's expense; and finally the King succeeded in pacifying them.
As for these foreigners whose quarrels the King had settled, some of his Council told him that he would have done better to have let them go on fighting, for, that if he let them thoroughly ruin themselves, they would not be so ready to turn against himself as if they were wealthy. To this the King replied, that they argued ill: For if the neighbouring princes became aware that I encouraged their quarrelling, they might lay their heads together and say, "The King out of his malice encourages our fighting"; and so it would come to pass that out of the hatred they would conceive against me, they would turn on me; and then I should be much worse off; besides incurring the hatred of God, who says, " Blessed are the peacemakers."
The result was, that the Burgundians and the Lorrainers whom he had pacified, loved and obeyed him so well that I have seen them come to the King's court to plead in their private quarrels before him, at Rheims, at Paris, and at Orleans.
HOW THE KING BEHAVED HIMSELF TOWARDS THE POOR AND TOWARDS MEN OF RELIGION.
THE King loved God and His sweet Mother so well that if anybody within his reach used any foul language or lewd oath about God or His Mother, the King caused them to be very severely punished. For this I saw him cause a goldsmith at Cesarea to be put on a ladder in his shirt and breeches, with the entrails of a pig hung round his neck, right up to his ears. I heard say, after I returned from over-seas that he had a burgher of Paris seared through the nose and lips for the same offence, but I did not see it. And the holy King said, " I would gladly be branded with a hot iron, on condition that all lewd oaths were done away with out of my kingdom."
I was about twenty-two years in his company; and never heard him swear by God, nor by His Mother nor by His Saints; but whenever he wanted to affirm anything, he used to say, " Truly it was thus," or " Truly it shall be thus."
Never did I hear him name the devil, unless it were in some book where the name came in, or in the life of the Saints of whom the book was speaking. And a great disgrace it is to the realm of France, and to the King who allows it, that a man can hardly open his lips without saying " Deuce take it!" and a great abuse it is of language to devote to the devil a man or woman who was given to God at baptism. In the household of Joinville, whoever uses such an expression, pays for it with a buffet or a slap, and such bad language has been almost entirely put down.
Before he went to bed, he used to send for his children, and would tell them stories of the deeds of good kings and emperors; and he used to tell them that they must take example by people such as these. He would tell them too, about the deeds of wicked rich men, who by their lechery and their rapine and their avarice, had lost their kingdoms. "And these things," he used to say, " I tell you as a warning to avoid them, lest you incur the anger of God."
He had them taught the Hours of Our Lady, and caused the Hours for the Day to be repeated to them, in order to give them the habit of hearing their Hours when they should come into their estates.
The King was so liberal an almsgiver, that wherever he went throughout his kingdom, he made gifts to poor churches, to lazar-houses, to alms houses, to asylums, and to poor gentlemen and gentlewomen.
From his childhood up, he was compassionate towards the poor and the suffering; and it was the custom that, wherever he went, six score poor should always be replenished in his house with bread and wine, and meat or fish every day. In Lent and Advent, the number was increased, and many a time the King would wait on them, and place their meat before them, and would carve their meat before them, and with his own hand would give them money when they went away.
Likewise on the high vigils of solemn feasts, he would serve the poor with all these things, before he either ate or drank.
Besides all this, he had every day old broken-down men to dine and sup with him, and had them
served with the same food that he himself was eating. And when they had feasted, they took away with them a certain sum of silver.
Over and above all these things, the King used every day to give large and liberal alms to poor men of religion, to poor asylums, to the sick poor, and all sorts of poor colleges, to poor gentlemen and married women and spinsters, to fallen women, to poor widows, and to women in child-bed, and to such poor as by reason of old age or sickness were unable to labour or pursue their trade in number past all telling. So that we may say that he was herein more fortunate than Titus, Emperor of Rome, of whom old writers tell us, that he was passing sorrowful and downcast, because of one day in which he had conferred no benefit.
He asked me whether I washed the feet of the poor on Shrove Thursday; and I replied No, that I thought it unseemly. And he told me that I ought not to contemn it, for God had done it. "For you would find it very hard to do what the King of England does, who washes the feet of lepers and kisses them."
When any of the benefices of Holy Church escheated to the King, before bestowing it, he would first take counsel with good persons of religion and others; and after consultation he would bestow the benefices in good faith, honourably and according to God. Nor would he give any benefice to any cleric, unless he resigned all the other Church benefices that he might hold.
In all the towns of his realm where he had never been before, he would seek out the Preachers and Grey Friars, if there were any, and desire their prayers.
From the very first, when he came into his kingdom and to years of discretion, he began building monasteries and various religious houses, amongst which the Abbey of Royaumont bears the palm for eminence and renown.
He founded the Abbey of St. Anthony near Paris; and the Abbey of St. Matthew of Rouen, into which he put women of the order of Preaching Friars; and that of Longchamp for women of the Minorite order; and endowed them highly. He allowed his mother to found the Abbey of Liz by Melun-sur-Seine, and that of Pontoise, which is called Maubuisson.
He founded several almshouses: the Almshouse of Paris, that of Pontoise, and that of Compiegne and of Vernon, and endowed them highly; besides the Grey Friars Nunnery of St. Cloud, which his sister, my Lady Isabel, founded by his leave.
Also he founded the Blind Asylum near Paris to receive the blind of the city of Paris, and had a chapel built for them to hear divine service. And the good King built the Charterhouse outside Paris, and assigned sufficient revenues to the monks who dwelt there for the service of Our Lord. Shortly afterwards he had another house built outside Paris, which was called the House of the Daughters of God, and caused a great number of women to be boarded there, who by reason of poverty had fallen into the sin of wantonness, and granted them four hundred pounds' worth of revenue to support them. Also in many places of his kingdom he founded houses of female Begouins, and gave them revenues to live upon, and gave orders to admit such as gave promise of a chaste life.
Some of his kindred used to grumble at his liberal almsgiving, and because he spent so much on this kind of thing; but he used to say: " I would much rather be extravagant in alms, for the love of God, than in the pomp and vainglories of this world."
Yet, though the King spent so much in charity, his daily household expenses were none the less very great. He lived in a free and open-handed style at the parliaments and assemblies of barons and knights; and the hospitality at his Court was so courteous, generous, and plentiful that nothing like it had been known for a long time past at the courts of his predecessors.
The King loved all people who devoted themselves to the service of God and wore the religious habit, and all such as came to him were secure of a livelihood. He made provision for the Brethren of Carmel, and bought them a site on the banks of the Seine in the direction of Charenton; and he built a house for them, and bought them vestments and chalices and all the things needful for performing divine service.
Next, he provided for the Austin Friars, and bought them a grange belonging to a burgher of Paris, with all its appurtenances, outside the gate of Montmartre, and had it turned into a monastery for them.
He provided for the Brethren of the Bag, and granted them a site on the Seine, over against St. Germain des PrŽs, where they took up their quarters; but they did not stay long there, for they were soon suppressed.
When the Brethren of the Bag were provided for, another sort of Brotherhood sprang up, called the " Order of White Mantles," and demanded that the King should help them to settle in Paris; and to harbour them he bought them a house and several old sites round about, close to the old Temple Gate at Paris, not far from the Weavers' quarter. These White Monks were put down by the Council of Lyons, that Gregory X held.
Again there came a new sort of Friars, who entitled themselves " Brethren of the Holy Cross," and wore the cross on their breasts; and they begged the King to help them. The King did so readily, and lodged them in a street called Temple Crossing, which nowadays is called the street of the Holy Cross.
Thus did the good King fence about the city of Paris with men of religion.
"HOW THE KING ADMONISHED HIS BAILIFFS, HIS PROVOSTS, AND HIS MAYORS; AND HOW HE MADE NEW ORDINANCES, AND HOW STEPHEN BOILEAU BECAME HIS PROVOST OF PARIS."
AFTER King Louis returned to France from overseas, he bore himself meekly towards Our Lord, and uprightly towards his subjects. And he perceived and bethought him that it would be a fine work to reform the realm of France.
First of all, he made a general ordinance for his subjects throughout all the realm of France in the following manner.
Edict I: The King's officers shall administer justice and maintain the customs, without fear or favour, and shall be held responsible in their persons and properties.
"We, Louis, by the grace of God King of France, do ordain that all our Bailiffs, Sheriffs, Provosts, Mayors and t all others, be they who they may, and be the matter what it may, do take IS oath that so long as they shall hold office or bailly, they will do justice to every man without exception of persons, to poor and rich alike, to stranger and friend alike, and will maintain such usages and customs as are good and tried. And if any matter occur in which the bailiffs or sheriffs or others such as serjeants or foresters act contrary to their oaths and be attainted of so doing, it is our will that they be punished in their goods and in their persons, according as the offence demands, and the bailiffs shall be punished by us, and the rest by the bailiffs.
II: They shall make oath to maintain the King's privileges.
Henceforth the provosts, bailiffs, serjeants and the rest shall swear to well and truly maintain our revenues and rights, and that they will not suffer our rights to be withheld nor done away with, nor diminished.
III: They shall accept no bribe directly nor indirectly.
Henceforth they shall swear that they will not take nor receive, neither in person nor through others, gold, nor silver, nor perquisites, nor anything else, unless it be fruit or bread or wine or other gift not exceeding the value of ten shillings (a week). Moreover they shall swear not to accept any gift whatever for their wives or children or brothers or sisters or any other person in any wise connected with them; neither permit them to accept such gifts, and directly they shall find that such gifts have been received they shall cause them to be returned as soon as possible. Henceforth they shall swear not to keep any gift whatever from any man of their bailly.
IV: They shalt not give bribes directly nor indirectly.
Henceforth they shall swear not to give nor send any gift to any man who may be on our council, nor to their wives nor children nor to any soul belonging to them; nor to those who shall audit their accounts on our behalf; nor to any inquisitors whom we may send into their baillies or provosties to make inquiry into their acts. And moreover they shall swear that they will take no commission from any sale of our revenues or coinage or anything else pertaining to us.
V: They shall maintain discipline among their subordinates; and not corrupt their chiefs.
Moreover, they shall swear that if they know any official, serjeant or provost, under them to be dishonest, addicted to rapine, usury or other vices, whereby he ought to forfeit our service, that they will not support him by reason of gift or promise or friendship, or any other thing, but will punish and judge him in good faith. Henceforth our provosts, sheriffs, mayors, foresters, and other serjeants of foot or horse, shall swear not to give any gifts to their superiors, nor to their wives and children.
VI: These oaths shall be taken publicly.
And because it is our will that these oaths be firmly established, we will that they be sworn in full assize, in the face of all men, both clerics and laymen, knights and serjeants, notwithstanding that they may have already taken the oath to ourselves; so that they may shun the sin of perjury, not only for fear of God and us, but from worldly shame.
VII: Against swearing, gambling and prostitution.
We will and ordain that all our provosts and bailiffs abstain from any oath savouring of blasphemy towards God, Our Lady, and all the Saints; and keep themselves from games of dice, and from the tavern.
It is our will that the manufacture of dice be forbidden throughout our kingdom, and that all lewd women be put out of their houses; and whosoever shall lease a house to a lewd woman, he shall make over the rent of the house for one year to the provost or bailiff.
VIII: Government officials over the rank of a provost shall not acquire property in their own jurisdiction; nor make a profit out of the wardships of minors; nor form any ties nor party outside the King's interests.
Further, we utterly forbid our bailiffs to buy, or cause to be bought, by themselves or others, any land or property in their own bailly or any other, so long as they are in our employ. And we forbid them to marry any son or daughter of theirs, or any person connected with them, to anybody in their bailly, without our special leave: Also, they shall not place them in any religious house of theirs, nor procure them any benefice of Holy Church nor any property whatever. Also they shall not take any office nor appointment in any religious house, nor about themselves, to the detriment of the religious.
We do not intend the aforesaid prohibition to marry or acquire property to apply to provosts or mayors nor others holding minor posts.
IX: Minor officials to be limited in number, beadles publicly appointed, and serjeants accredited by letter.
We command our bailiffs, provosts, and others not to keep over many serjeants and beadles, to be a burthen on the people. The beadles shall be called in full assize, otherwise they shall not be accounted beadles. When our serjeants shall be sent into any distant place, or foreign country, it is our will that they be not credited without a letter from their superior.
X: About debts and fines.
We order every bailiff and provost holding office under us not to burden honest folk with his justice beyond what is lawful; and that no one under our jurisdiction be put in prison for any debt that he may owe saving only what he may owe to ourselves.
We ordain that none of our bailiffs levy a fine for any debt that our subjects owe us, nor for any crime; save it be tried and assessed in full court. And if it chance that the accused be not willing to await the judgment of the court which is open to him, but rather offers a certain sum of money as a fine, as has been commonly accepted, we will that the court accept the sum, if it is reasonable and adequate; and if not, then that the fine be judged according as is said above, notwithstanding the accused submits himself to the pleasure of the court.
We forbid the bailiff, mayor or provost, to constrain our subjects by fear or threats or intrigue, to pay a fine secretly or openly.
XI: Office not to be bartered nor shared; nor used for private purposes.
Moreover we ordain that those who hold the provosties, shrievalties, and other baillies cannot sell them to anyone else without our leave, and if several persons combine to buy the aforesaid offices, it is our will that one of the buyers shall perform the duties for all the rest, and exercise the liberties pertaining to remounts, tallages and public charges, as the custom is. And we forbid them, after they have bought the said offices from us, to resell them to brothers, nephews, or cousins: nor shall they through their own office require any debt that may be owed them, except debts due to their office.
But their personal debts they shall require through the authority of the bailiff, just as though they were not in our employ.
XII: Deals with various vexatious abuses of justice.
We forbid that bailiffs and provosts should harass our subjects in any cases which they have brought before them by changing from place to place: but let them hear such matters as are before them in the place where they have been wont to give a hearing; so that people may not abstain from seeking justice because of trouble or expense.
Henceforth we command that no man be disseized of any seisin that he holds, without cognisance of cause, or special order from ourselves; and that our people be not oppressed with new exactions of tallages and fresh customs; nor shall a muster be ordered in order to get the people's money, nor shall they be called out for military service without sufficient cause. And those who wish to serve in person shall not be forced to buy themselves off for money.
Further we forbid bailiffs and provosts to prohibit the export of corn, wine, and other merchandise out of our realm without due cause. And when it must needs be prohibited we will that it be done by common consent in a council of good and true men without suspicion of fraud or deceit.
Item: It is our will that all ex-bailiffs, sheriffs, provosts, and mayors shall, after they have quitted office, continue for the space of forty days in the district where they held office, in their own persons or by deputy, that any whom they have wronged may lodge a complaint against them. By this edict he greatly amended the realm.
The provosty of Paris used at that time to be sold to the burghers of Paris, or to some of them; and whenever any of them had bought it, then they used to uphold their children and nephews in their lawlessness; for the young men relied on their kinsmen and friends who held the provosty. For this cause the common people were over much trodden down, and could get no justice on the rich men, because of the great gifts and donations that these made to the provosts. At that time, whoever spoke truth before the provost, or attempted to keep his oath, and not perjure himself, about a debt or any other matter about which he was called in question, the provost would levy a fine on him, and he would be punished. By reason of the great deeds of injustice and violence which were done in the provosty, the common people durst not live on the King's land, but rather went and dwelt under other provosts and other lords. And the King's land was so empty, that when he held his Court of Pleas, not more than ten or twelve persons used to come to it. There were moreover so many malefactors and robbers in Paris and round about, that the whole country was overrun with them. The King, who was very zealous for the protection of the common people, found out the whole truth; so he would no longer allow the provosty of Paris to be sold, but gave secure and high wages to those who for the future should hold it. And he put down all the evil customs whereby the people might be oppressed; and made inquiry throughout the whole kingdom and country where a man might be found who would administer sound and strict justice, and spare the rich no more than the poor. And then Stephen Boileau was pointed out to him; and he upheld and kept the provosty so well that no malefactor, nor robber, nor murderer, durst abide in Paris but he was presently hanged or ruined: neither kith nor kin, gold nor silver could protect him. The King's territory began to improve; people came thither for the sake of the good justice that was done there. It so multiplied and improved that the sales, seisins, purchases, and other things were worth double what the King got from them formerly.
" In all these things that we have ordered for the advancement of our subjects and our kingdom we have reserved to ourselves the power of expounding, amending, adding, and restricting, according as we shall be advised."
By this act he greatly benefited the kingdom of France, as many wise and aged men testify.
HOW THE KING TOOK THE CROSS FOR HIS LAST PILGRIMAGE -- HIS DEATH, BURIAL, AND CANONIZATION; AND OF THE VISION THAT APPEARED TO THE LORD OF JOINVILLE.
AFTER the events above narrated, it came to pass one Lent, that the King summoned all his barons to Paris. I excused myself, on account of a quartan fever, from which I was suffering at the time, and begged him to allow me to stay away. But he sent me word that he was absolutely determined I should come, for he had good doctors there who well understood the cure of quartan fever. So to Paris I went. When I arrived, on the evening of the Vigil of Our Lady in March, I found neither the King, nor anyone who could tell me why the King had sent for me. Now it so happened by God's will that I fell asleep at Matins; and in my sleep methought I saw the King on his knees before an altar, and methought several prelates in their vestments were clothing him with a crimson chasuble of Rheims serge. After this vision, I called my priest, Lord William, who was a very clever man, and told him the vision; and this is what he said to me: " Sir, you will see that the King will take the Cross to-morrow." I asked him, why he thought so? and he told me that he thought so because of the dream that I had dreamed, for the chasuble of crimson serge betokened the Cross which was crimsoned with the blood that God had shed from his side and hands and feet; " As for the chasuble being of serge of Rheims, that signifies that the Crusade will be one of small note as you will see if God grants you life."
When I had heard mass at the Magdalen at Paris I went into the King's chapel, and found the King, who had gone up into the gallery of relics and was having the true Cross brought down. Whilst the King was on his way down, two knights of his Council began talking together; and one of them said, " Never trust me again, if the King does not take the Cross while he is here." And the other replied " If the King takes the Cross, it will be one of the saddest days in France that ever were. For if we do not take the Cross, we shall lose the King, and if we do take the Cross we shall lose God, for it will not be for His sake that we take it." Now it came to pass, that the King took the Cross on the morrow and his three sons besides; and afterwards it came to pass that the Crusade was of little note, just as my priest had foretold. I was much urged by the King of France and by the King of Navarre to take the Cross. To this I replied, that all the while that I had been serving God and the King over-seas, and also after my return, the serjeants of the King of France and the King of Navarre had destroyed and impoverished my people; so that I and they should be the worse for it for all time to come. And I told them this: that if I wished to work God's will, I should stay where I was to help and protect my people; for that if I risked my life on the chances of this pilgrimage, seeing as I did quite plainly that it would be to the harm and injury of my people, I should anger God, who gave His life to save His people.
To my mind they committed a deadly sin who encouraged his going; for France had reached a condition when all the kingdom was at peace within itself and with its neighbours; and never again has it been so since he left it; but the state of the kingdom has steadily gone from bad to worse. A very great sin it was in those who encouraged him to go, seeing how weak he was in health at the time; for he could endure neither to drive nor ride. His weakness was so great that he let me carry him in my arms from the Count of Auxerre's house, where I took leave of him, as far as the Greyfriars. And yet, weak as he was, if he had stayed in France, he might still have lived a good while and done a great deal of good.
I shall not say anything about his journey to Tunis, nor give any account of it, because I was not there thank God! And I do not wish to say or put anything in my book of which I am not quite sure. So we will speak only of our holy King, and say, that after he landed at Tunis, before the castle of Carthage, he fell sick of a catarrh of the stomach, by reason of which he took to his bed, and felt that the time was come for him to pass from this world to the next. Thereupon he called for my Lord Philip his son, and bade him to observe, as though it were his testament, all the instructions that he left him; which instructions are written below in the common tongue; and the King wrote them so they say with his own blessed hand.
When the good King had given his instructions to my Lord Philip, his infirmity began to increase greatly upon him, and he asked for the sacraments of Holy Church. And he received them with a sound mind and right understanding, as was plain; for, whilst they were anointing him and repeating the seven psalms, he repeated the verses in response. And I heard my lord theCount of Alenon, his son, relate, that when death drew near, he cried on the saints to aid and succour him; and likewise on my Lord St. James, repeating his prayer the while, which begins: "Esto Domine," which means " May the Lord sanctify and watch over our people." Next he called upon my Lord St. Denis to help him, saying his prayer, which means "Lord God, grant that we may so despise the ruggedness of this world that we may fear no adversity." And then I heard my Lord of Alenon say that his father called upon St. Genevieve.
After that, the holy King made them lay him on bed strewn with ashes, and laid his hands upon his breast, and looking up to heaven, yielded up his spirit to our Creator, in the very same hour when the Son of God died upon the Cross.
A precious matter and worthy of tears is the death of this holy Prince, who so righteously and faithfully watched over his kingdom; who did so many fair works of charity, and founded so many fine institutions. And just as a writer when he has ended his book illuminates it with gold and azure, so did this King illuminate his kingdom with the fair abbeys that he built, and with the almshouses, and convents of Preachers, Greyfriars and other orders aforetold.
On the morrow of the feast of St. Bartholomew the Apostle, passed away from this world Louis, a good King, in the year of the Incarnation of Our Lord, the year of grace, MCCLXX; and his bones were preserved in a casket and buried at St. Denis in France, where he had chosen his burying-place. In this same place was he buried; and there God has wrought many a fair miracle for his sake and by his merits.
Afterwards, at the instance of the King of France [Philip III], and by the Pope's orders, the Archbishop of Rouen came, and Brother John of Samoys, who afterwards became bishop. They came to St. Denis in France, and stayed there a long while, inquiring into his life and works and miracles; and I got word to go to them, and they kept me for two days. And after they had made inquiry of me and others, what they had learnt was taken to the Court of Rome, and the Pope and Cardinals diligently perused it. And in accordance with what they had read, they did him justice, and placed him among the number of Martyr Confessors; which was, and always should be, a great joy to the kingdom of France, and a great honour to all of his descendants who will copy him in well doing; and a great honour to all of his race who by good works seek to follow in his footsteps; but a great dishonour to those of his race who seek to work evil, for men will point at them, and will say, that the holy King from whom they sprang would never have done such wickedness.
After this good news had arrived from Rome, the King [Philip IV] appointed a day, the morrow of St. Bartholomew, on which day the holy body was lifted. When it was lifted, the Archbishop of Rheims, that then was God rest his soul! and Lord Henry of Villars, my nephew, who at that time was Archbishop of Lyons, bore it in front, with many others, archbishops and bishops, whose names I cannot tell; and it was carried to the stage that had been erected.
There, Brother John of Samoys preached the sermon; and among the other great deeds of our holy King, he recorded one to which I had borne witness on my oath, and which I had seen; saying as follows: "In order that you may see that he was the most faith-abiding man that ever lived in his day, I must tell you that he was so faithful, that even when dealing with the Saracens he wanted to keep his promise, though he had only given them his bare word; and though, had it been kept, he would have lost ten thousand pounds and more." And he related all that had happened as it is written further back. And at the end, he said, " Do not imagine that I am deceiving you, for I see a man here who told me this and bore witness to it under oath."
When the sermon was over, the King and his brothers, assisted by their kindred, carried the holy body back into the church; for it behoved them to do him honour; for great honour has been done to them, if, as I said before, they do not thwart it. Let us beseech him that he will pray God to grant us all we need both for soul and body. Amen.
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There is still something that I want to tell you about our holy King, which is to his honour. It is this. In a dream methought I saw him in front of my chapel at Joinville; and methought he was wondrous joyous and light-hearted. And I myself was very happy at seeing him in my castle; and I said to him: " Sir, when you leave this place, I will lodge you in a house of mine, which stands in one of my towns called Chevillon." And he answered me laughing, and said, " By my faith, Sir de Joinville, I am in no such hurry to leave this place."
When I awoke, I thought it over, and it seemed to me that it was God's pleasure and his that I should give him a dwelling in my chapel; and so I have done. For I have built an altar in honour of God and of himself; and there is a revenue appointed in perpetuity for the service of it.
I have reminded my Lord King Louis of these things, who inherits his name; and methinks he would please God and our holy King Louis, if he were to procure some relics of the true holy body, and send them to the said chapel of St. Lawrence at Joinville; so that those who come to his altar may be moved to greater devotion.
I give all men to know that I have herein set down a great part of the deeds of this our holy King, by me seen and heard, and a great part of his deeds that I have come across in a narrative, which I have caused to be written in this book. This I mention, in order that those who shall hear this book may believe firmly in what the book says, which I have truly seen and heard.
This was written in the year of grace 1309, in the month of October.