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Exclaim'd the Bastard; " there Alencon died " Valiant in vain ; and he the haughty chief “D' Albert, who rashly arrogant of strength "Impetuous rush'd to ruin. Brabant fell, “ Vaudemont, and Marle, and Bar, and Faquenberg, “Her noblest warriors; dariug in despair Fought the fierce foe; ranks fell on ranks before them;
The prisoners of that shameful day out-summ'd « Their'f victors !
“ There are those,” old Bertram cried, “ Who for his deeils will honour Henry's name. “ That honour that a conqueror may deserve “ He merits, for right valiantly he fought
† According to Holinshed the English army consisted of only 15,000 men, harrassed with a tedious march of a month, in very bad weather, through an enemy's country, and for the most part sick of a flux. He states the number of the French at 60,000, of whom 10,000 were slain and 1500 of the higher order taken prisoners. Some historians make the disproportion in numbers still greater. Goodwin says, that among the slain there were one Archbishop, three Dukes, six Earls, ninety Barons, fifteen hundred Knights, and seven thousand Esquires or Gentlemen.
“ On that disastrous day ; nor deem thou Chief “ That cowardice disgraced the sons of France. * They by their leaders arrogance led on “ With heedless fury, found all numbers vain “ All efforts fruitless there; and hadst thou seen, “ Skilful as brave, how Henry's ready eye “ Lost not a thicket, not a hillock's aid; « From his hersed * bowmen how the arrows fied
* This was the usual method of marshalling the bowmen. At Crecy“ the archers stood in manner of an herse, about two hundred in front and but forty in depth, which is undoubtedly the best way of embattelling archers, especially when the enemy is very numerous, as at this time : for by the breadth of the front the extension of the enemies front is matched ; and by reason of the thinness in flank, the arrows do more certain cxecution, being more likely to reach home.”
Barnes. The viâory at Poitiers is chiefly attributed to the herse of archers. After mentioning the conduct and courage of the English leaders in that battle, Barnes says “ but all this cou. rage had been thrown away to no purpose, had it not been seconded by the extraordinary gallantry of the English archers, who behaved themselves that day with wonderful constancy,
“ Thick as the snow flakes and with lightning force,
alacrity, and resolution. So that by their means in a man. ner all the French Battails received their first foil, being by the barbed arrows so galled and terrific d, that they were easily opened to the men of arms."
“ Without all question, the guns which are used now-adays, are neither so terrible in battle, nor do such execution, nor work such confusion as arrows can do: for bullets being not seen only hurt where they hit, but arrows enrage the horse, and break the array, and terrify all that behold them in the bodies of their neighbours. Not to say that every archer can shoot thrice to a gunner's once, and that whole squadrons of bows may let fly at one time, when only one or two files of musqueteers can discharge at once. Also, that whereas guns are useless when your pikes join, because they only do execution point blank, the arrows which will kill at random, may do good service even behind your men of arms. And it is notorious, that at the famous battle of Lepanto, the Turkish bows did more mischief than the Christian artillery. Besides it is not the least observable, that whereas the weakest may use guns as well as the strongest, in those days your lusty and tall Yeomen were chosen for the bow, whose hose being fastened with one point, and their jackets long and easy to shoot in, they had their limbs at full liberty, so that they might easily draw bows of great strength, and shoot arrows of a yard long beside the head.
46 Thou wouldst have known such soldiers, such a chief,
Might never be subdued.”
“ But when the field
“ Was won, and those who had escaped the carnage “Had yielded up their arms, it was most foul " To glut on the defenceless + prisoners “ The blunted sword of conquest. Girt around “ I to their mercy had surrendered me, “ When lo ! I heard the dreadful groan of death. - Not as amid the fray, when man met man “ And in fair combat gave the mortal blow ; “Here the poor captives, weaponless and bound, “ Saw their stern victors draw again the sword, “ And groan'd and strove in vain to free their hands, “And bade them think upon their plighted faith
+ A company of fugitives, headed by Robert de Bournonville, who had retired by times out of the battle, knowing the English camp was but weakly guarded, pillaged it during the engagement; in consequence of this alarm, Henry ordered the prisoners to be slain except the most eminent,
"And pray'd for mercy in the name of God,
home “ I thought, and of my wife and little ones “ In bitterness of heart. The gallant man, “Whose by the chance of war 1 had become, “ Had pity, and he loos’d my hands and said “Frenchman! I would have killed thee in the battle, “But my arm shrinks at murder! get thee hence."
Henry of Monmouth deserves every commendation for his calm and active courage in the fight of Azincour; but after the engagement we no longer discover the rival of the Edwards. The Black Prince may be suspected of ostentation when he waited upon his captive John ; but the uncharitable suspicion will cease when we reflect that he must have treated him either as a prisoner or as a guest, and that he conformed to the custom of the age in waiting upon a superiour. But of the conduct of Henry to those prisoners who had escaped the massacre at Azincour, only one opinion can be formed.