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When any thing that touched his poetical works was alluded to in his presence, it was obvious how anxious he still was lest what might be even casually dropped should tend to their depreciation. Yet nothing of this was expressed in words, nor need it have been to one who knew the poet so well as myself.
"You are not the first Campbell that has written upon Hope," said Pringle, you had a predecessor, a Dr. Campbell, too, who wrote on the same subject in 1784."
"Indeed!" and the poet seemed to prick up his ears.
"I do not think you will find his rivalry very formidable. He only wrote three stanzas upon the subject. One of them invokes Hope as follows::
My beating bosom is a well-wrought cage
Whence thee, sweet goldfinch, never shalt elope,
So soft the songs of sweet-deluding Hope!
Campbell smiled himself out of an expression of feature that, at first, indicated alarmed sensibility, he feared that something like a borrowed thought, or line, had been detected, at least so I imagined. Then, as to Doctor Campbell, he had a detestation beyond example of being so denominated, it was his most particular aversion. Mrs. Campbell used to say to me, it was his peculiar detestation-" Don't call him doctor, any thing else." When the remark was now made, that he was Doctor Campbell too, he looked grave on Pringle, and said, he was LL.D., but no friend of his would ever call him so. This was pride, honest pride; he felt that so dog-cheap an honour bestowed on any body for almost any thing, was no mark of merit on the owner's part, and was not worth a plain name that had worked out its own celebrity. No one can deny but that the poet was right; the continued abuse in the bestowal of these titles renders them of no value whatever-genius is its now better and more durable distinction.
BY CAPTAIN MEDWIN.
PUT not your trust in princes. Now when man,
Is this the consummation? Hark! I hear
Of tyrants. Lo! up towers the grim huge mound,
And speak of sunless dungeons damp and cold,
Strewn with the bones of captives soaked with blood,
A VISIT TO THE BATTLE-FIELDS OF CRESSY AND AGINCOURT.
IN LETTERS ADDRESSED TO H. P. SMITH, ESQ.
BY H. L. LONG, ESQ.
If our Hotel de l'Europe at Hesdin presented us with accommodations somewhat inferior to those of its namesake at Abbeville, we had no reason to be displeased with our quarters, and, as far as the operations of the chef are a matter of importance, they were unexceptionable.
The great post-road leading to St. Omer ascends the chalk on the north of the valley immediately after passing the river, traverses the forest of Hesdin, and then emerges into the open country. At the distance of about eight miles from Hesdin, the spire of the church of Agincourt becomes visible on the right of the road, rising above the trees which conceal the other buildings of the village, beyond which lies the field of battle. This road is, of course, the easiest and the most direct way to approach the spot, but a desire to get upon the line of march of our fifth Harry previous to the action, led us to adopt a different route, and for this purpose we were obliged to leave our large carriage at Hesdin, and adopt one of the light cabriolets of the country.
And now we exchanged the recollection of the "great Edward, with the lilies on his brow from haughty Gallia torn," for those of the worthy although illegal inheritor of his crown, his valorous great grandson, in no way his inferior, whether in the qualities of mind or body, the renowned of English monarchs, Henry the Fifth.
Let me remind you, by way of giving consistency to my_letter, that Henry had opened his campaign of 1415, by landing in France near Harfleur-the capture of that town followed-but after the loss of nearly half his army by disease, he was fain to retire, and, in making his way towards Calais, found himself planted between the Somme and the ocean, precisely as had been the case with his great ancestor sixty-nine years previously. No Blanquetaque was now practicable. That memorable passage 66 was now so impeached with stakes in the bottom of the ford, that he could not pass, his enemies besides there away so swarming on all sides"-an unlucky prudence had on this occasion inspired the French-better had it been for them to have built a bridge of gold for their flying enemy. No place of passage could be forced or found anywhere, until after ascending the left bank of the river almost as far up as the fortress of Ham, he discovered a "shallow, which was never espied before," and there, on the 19th of October, he effected his passage, and resumed his march in the direction of Calais. At some distance, a little in advance of his right flank, in a course almost parallel to his own, but gradually converging until the two lines met at Agincourt, marched the French army, amounting to 60,000 or 80,000 men,
and arrayed under a numerous and brilliant assemblage of chiefs and nobles-Delabret, Constable; Chatillon, admiral of France; Ramburés, grand master of the cross-bows; together with the Dukes of Orleans, Bourbon, Alençon, Brabant, Bar, and an infinity of others. "Willing to wound but yet afraid to strike," they continued their course, sometimes, indeed, sending a herald with proposals to treat, but for the most part enjoying an easy security of having their prey within their grasp whenever a fitting opportunity enabled them to clutch him, after he had been duly weakened by a little further exhaustion.
This state of things continued until the English army approached Blangy, on the Ternoise, on the 24th of October, and to Blangy we bent our steps, as the best place for getting upon their track. An excellent road leads up the valley of the Ternoise from Hesdin, and we passed on our right the hill of le Parc, the "nominis umbra" of the ancient domain. It might be an anachronism to allude to events which at an interval of nine years succeeded the Battle of Agincourt, but we could not pass le Parc without recollecting that it was the place of training for Philip Duke of Burgundy in his expected duel with Humphrey Duke of Gloucester. The princes were going to decide by trial of battle the right to the possession of the hand of Jaquetta of Bavaria, Duchess of Brabant, who had fled from her husband under the escort of the Seigneur de Robsart, to Valenciennes, " et là fut pratiqué le marriage du Duc de Gloucester et la Duchesse de Brabant, nonobstant qu'elle feut mariée au Duc de Brabant." The Duke of Burgundy threw down the gauntlet on behalf of his relative of Brabant, and a single combat was arranged to take place. The Duke of Burgundy, says St. Rémy, "grant désir avoit de essayer son corps allencontre du Duc de Gloucestre et à la verité c'estoit le plus grant désir que il eust en ce monde, et adfin d'estre prest au jour Saint George, il se tira en la ville de Hesdin (vieux Hesdin of course), où là fist venir pleuseurs armoiers pour forgier le harnas et habillement qui pour son corps lui estoient necessaire, et en ce beau Parc de Hesdin, qui est l'un des beaux du Royaulme, se trouvoient tous les matins pour prendre alaine et avec che avoit pluiseurs certains lieux et places secrettes ou il exercitoit son corps à combattre et faire ses essais." Something, however, interfered to prevent a meeting between these dukes, who both bore the surname of "Good"-Gloucester, who was a man of distinguished skill and courage, and who had fought gallantly at Agincourt, where he was dangerously wounded, might have proved more than a match even for the father of Charles le Hardi. I can easily imagine the Parc of Vieux Hesdin to have been "des plus beaux," in an agreeable situation, occupying the high ground at the angle formed by the union of the two streams,-all this is now completely disparked, and, on the Ternoise side at least, bears not the slightest vestige of its original forestial state.
On reaching Blangy we turned by a villanous road down to the river, and stationed ourselves for awhile on the bridge. Here then we were treading on the footsteps of Henry, and heard the echo of his commands. "March to the bridge; it now draws towards the night. Beyond the river we'll encamp ourselves, and on the morrow bid them march away!" Here the position of Henry for a time must have been awfully perilous -with a French army of sixfold force within a very few miles of him,
he was entangled in a deep valley, with his little army embarrassed by the passage of the river-and his situation must have been known to the French, for he had just put to flight a detachment of their troops, who had attempted to destroy the bridge. Had they at that moment poured down the hill upon him, utter annihilation would have been inevitable! But before we left this spot some images of a milder and more pacific description, unconnected indeed with the heroes of Agincourt, but not altogether unconnected with another British army came floating over our imaginations. You who were one of that army, the army of occupation in 1816, may perhaps remember that Blangy was the headquarters of the fly-fishers at that period. The Ternoise is a beautiful stream, and I could not quit its banks without wetting a line. Trout are reported, and with truth, I believe, to be abundant-in spite of the unfavourable state of the water after a night of rain, it was impossible to resist the attempt; a peasant who looked on for a time observed rather solemnly, "vous ne prendrez rien," and he was right.
This was soon over, and Harry again became lord of the ascendanthis progress cannot be better told than in the words of the old chroniclers:
"The Duke of York that led the vanguard (after the army had passed the river) mounted up to the heighth of a hill with his people, and sent out scouts to discover the country; one of them, astonished at the extent of the French army, returned with the utmost speed to the duke, exclaiming, 'quickly be prepared, for you are just about to fight against a world of innumerable people.' This news induced the king to halt, and he hastened with the utmost speed of the fine horse he rode to view the enemy, who, like so many forests, covered the whole country far and wide. That done, he returned to his people, and with cheerful countenance caused them to be put in order of battle, and so kept them still in that order till night was come, and then determined to seek a place to encamp and lodge his army in for that night. There was not one amongst them that knew any certain place whither to go in that unknown country, but by chance they happened upon a beaten way, white, in sight, by the which they were brought unto a little village, where they were refreshed with meat and drink somewhat more plenteously than they had been divers days before."
This is a sketch of the country and the incidents which filled up the interval between the passage of the Ternoise and the halt of the army in the village of Marconcelles, in front of the field of Agincourt, and only 250 paces distant from the position of the French army. In reflecting on these events, we are struck with astonishment at the hardihood of the king-at the hairbreadth escapes of the English army—at the wondrous ignorance manifested as to where they were, or where they were going, and lastly, at the extraordinary good luck which guided them not only into comfortable quarters, but into a military position, which proved excellently suited to the diminished numbers of the English forces. We had ample time to survey all this ground attentively-it was impossible to proceed with the carriage, except at a very slow pace, for not only is the ascent from the Ternoise exceedingly long and steep, but the road, if "white in sight" in the days of Harry, was white to our sight with a vengeance, for it had all been lately shaped, and freshly laid with chalk
of a snowy brilliancy; satisfactory preparations for all future travellers, but rendering our own progress extremely tedious.
We were mounting some of the most elevated land in this part of France-a" divortium aquarum”—the waters on the south unite with the Ternoise and the Canche, discharging themselves into the English Channel at Etaples, while to the north they form the sources of the Lys, flow into the Scheld, and thence to the North Sea. On reaching the plateau on the top, we were on the spot whence Henry the First descried the formidable host of his adversary, covering all the open country to the northeast, and onwards to the woods which surround Tramecourt.
The three villages of Tramecourt, Maisoncelles, and Agincourt, are all enveloped in clusters of wood, as a shelter in this high and exposed country -they form a triangle; between them lies the field of battle-Tramecourt and Agincourt, the north-eastern and north-western angles, were occupied by the French, together with the intermediate space, and there they passed the night, in a state of great excitement, confident of victory, calculating the anticipated ransoms of their English prisoners, and making the plain resound with their loud cries, as they shouted after their grooms and varlets. Rain fell abundantly, and the "tawny" ground, as Shakspeare truly calls it, using Hollingshed's epithet, was soaked where the horses stood over their fetlocks in mire. The soil of Agincourt reposes on chalk, like that of Cressy, but is of a far more clayey and tenacious description, and had its effect in fatiguing the French cavalry. The quarters of the English monarch were at Maisoncelles, the southern angle of the field, and fortunately they were such as met the exigencies of his little army, like the " Copiolas," as D. Brutus jokingly calls his troops, " sic enim verè eas appellare possum, sunt enim extenuatissimæ, et inopiâ omnium rerum pessimè acceptæ." The English, in fact, had been reduced to half their original numbers by death and sickness, "their victuals in a manner spent, and no hope to get more; for their enemies had destroyed all the corn before they came. Rest could they none take, for their enemies with alarms did ever so infest them: daily it rained, and nightly it freezed: of fuel there was great scarcity; of disorders plenty money enough, but wares for their relief to bestow it on, had they none." Walsingham tells us there had been a want of bread in the army, so that many had used filbert-nuts instead; the men of inferior rank had drunk nothing but water for eighteen days. "They were hungry, weary, sore travelled, and vexed with many cold diseases. Howbeit, reconciling themselves with God by housel and shrift, requiring assistance at His hands as the only Giver of victory, they determined rather to die than to yield or flee." They had, too, in their Harry a leader to comfort and inspire them under the most threatening aspect of fortune. He rejected the wish, not of his "cousin Westmoreland," but more correctly of Sir Walter Hungerford, for "more men from England." "I would not wish a man more here than I have. We are indeed in comparison with the enemies but a few, but if God of his clemency do favour us, and our just cause (as I trust he will), we shall speed well enough." It might have been more difficult, perhaps, for him to explain his just cause than to fight for it; some qualms seem to have come over him in secret, for we read of him, on the eve of the battle, somewhat stung by the recollection