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From cant of all kinds he was totally free. He was a friend of the people, but he indulged in no enthusiasm for liberty. He never dilated on the beauties of virtue, or complimented, as Cicero did, a Providence in which he did not believe. He was too sincere to stoop to unreality.
He held to the facts of this life and to his own convictions; and as he found no reason for supposing that there was a life beyond the grave he did not pretend to expect it. He respected the religion of the Roman State as an institution established by the laws. He encouraged or left unmolested the creeds and practices of the uncounted sects or tribes who were gathered under the eagles.
But his own writings contain nothing to indicate that he himself had any religious belief at all. He saw no evidence that the gods practically interfered in human affairs. He never pretended that Jupiter was on his side. He thanked his soldiers after a victory, but he did not order Te Deums to be sung for it; and in the absence of these conventionalisms he perhaps showed more real reverence than he could have displayed by the freest use of the formulas of pietism.
He fought his battles to establish some tolerable degree of justice in the government of this world; and he succeeded, though he was murdered for do
THE BATTLE OF CRESSY
From THE CHRONICLES OF FROISSART* NotE.—The following selection is from an account of the Hundred Years' War by Froissart. The Hundred Years' War is the name given to a series of contests between the French and the English between 1337 and 1453. The war was undertaken by the English kings and the object was to gain possession of the French crown, to which Edward III of England believed that he was entitled. There were various skirmishes prior to the Battle of Crecy (or Cressy), but that was the first great and decisive contest. The English were victorious, as they were in most of the battles during the reign of Edward III, but these victories, brilliant as they were, gave to England little permanent advantage; and when Edward finally withdrew from the war, England as well as France was in an exhausted condition. The war was continued with varying fortunes during the reigns of Edward's successors, and in the time of Henry V (1413–1422), it really seemed as if England might permanently subdue France. However, with the help of Joan of Arc (Volume IV, page 404) the French losses were retrieved, and when in 1453 the English were finally driven from France, they held nothing in their possession except the city of Calais, which they had captured shortly after the Battle of Crecy.
The English king referred to in Froissart's account is Edward III (1312-1377), and the French king is Philip
* Jean Froissart was a French poet and historian who lived from about 1338 to about 1410. From 1361 to 1366 he was secretary to Philippa, Queen of England, the wife of Edward III, whose exploits are celebrated in this extract from his works. Froissart's great work is his Chronicles, in the four books of which he described in a vivid manner the wars and other events of the last three-quarters of the fourteenth century. His account is of especial interest because he received most of his information about the events he described from people who had taken prominent parts in them.
VI (1296–1950). The English prince who distinguished
they made three battles afoot
lay in the fields, for the country
a supper to all his chief lords of his host and made them good cheer; and when they were all departed to take their rest, then the king entered into his oratory and kneeled down before the altar, praying God devoutly, that if he fought the next day, that he might achieve the journey to his honor; then about midnight he laid him down to rest, and in the morning he rose betimes and heard mass, and the prince his son with him, and the most part of his company were confessed and houselled; and after the mass said he commanded every man to be armed and to draw to the field to the same place before appointed.
Then the king caused a park to be made by the wood side behind his host, and there was set all carts and carriages, and within the park were all their horses, for every man was afoot; and into this park there was but one entry. Then he ordained three battles :: in the first was the young Prince of Wales, with him the Earl of Warwick and Oxford, the Lord Godfrey of Harcourt, Sir Raynold Cobham, Sir Thomas Holland, the Lord Stafford, the Lord of Mohun, the Lord Delaware, Sir John Chandos, Sir Bartholomew de Burghersh, Sir Robert Nevill, the Lord de Latimer, and divers other knights and squires that I cannot name: they were an eight hundred men of arms and two thousand archers, and a thousand of other: every lord drew to the field appointed under his own banner and pennon. In the second battle was the Earl of Northampton, the Earl of Arundel, the Lord Ros, the Lord Lucy, the Lord Willoughby, the Lord Basset, the Lord of SaintAubin, Sir Louis Tufton, the Lord of Multon, the Lord Lascelles and divers other, about an eight hundred men of arms and twelve hundred archers. The third battle had the king: he had seven hundred men of arms and two thousand archers. Then the king leaped on a hobby, with a white rod in his hand, one of his marshals on the one hand and the other on the other hand: he rode from rank to rank desiring every man to take heed that day to his right and honor. He spake it so sweetly and with so good countenance and merry cheer, that all such as were discomfited took courage in the seeing and hearing of him. And when he had thus visited all his battle, it was then nine of the day: then he caused every man to eat and drink a little, and so they did at their leisure. And afterward they ordered again their battles: then every man lay down on the earth and by him his salet' and bow, to be the more fresher when their enemies should come.
1. Journey has here its old meaning of the day's work. 2. To housel means to administer the eucharist. 3. Battles means here battalions.
4. A salet, or sallet, was a sort of helmet made without a visor, 5. To aview is an archaic synonym of to survey. 6. Sith means since.
The order of the Frenchmen at Cressy, and how they beheld the demeanor of the Englishmen
HIS Saturday the French king rose betimes and heard mass in Abbeville in his lodging in the Abbey of Saint Peter, and he departed after the sunrising. When he was out of the town two leagues, approaching toward his
enemies, some of his lords said to him: “Sir, it were good that ye ordered your battles and let all your footmen pass somewhat on before, that they be not troubled with the horsemen.” Then the king sent four knights, the Moine of Bazeilles, the Lord of Noyers, the Lord of Beaujeu and the Lord d'Aubigny to ride to aview the English host; and so they rode so near that they might well see part of their dealing.
The Englishmen saw them well and knew well how they were come thither to aview them: they let them alone and made no countenance toward them, and let them return as they came.
And when the French king saw these four knights return again, he tarried till they came to him and said: “Sirs, what tidings?” These four knights each of them looked on other, for there was none would speak before his companion; finally the king said to the Moine, who pertained to the king of Bohemia and was reputed for one of the valiantest knights of the world: “Sir, speak you.”
Then he said: "Sir, I shall speak, sith it pleaseth you, under the correction of my fellows. Sir, we