« AnteriorContinuar »
La Hire, and many other knights, esquires, and about four thousand combatants, and passed the river Loire between Saint Loup and the new tower; and prima facie, they took Saint John Le Blanc, which the English had repaired and fortified ; and then retired upon a small island, which is to the right of Saint Aignan. And then the English of the Tournelles sallied out in great power, uttering loud cries, and came to charge them desperately and very near. But the Pucelle and La Hire, on all sides, joined together with their own people, and fought with such great force and hardihood against the English, that they obliged them to fall back to their boulevards and Tournelles. And immediately on coming up commenced such an assault upon the boulevard and the bastille near that spot, and fortified by the English on the ground where lately stood the church of the Augustins, that they took the same by force, delivering a great number of Frenchmen prisoners, and killing several English who were therein and had most obstinately defended the same, insomuch that many gallant feats of arms were performed upon either side. And the ensuing night the French commenced the siege before the Tournelles and the surrounding boulevards. Therefore, those of Orleans used great diligence in conveying, during the whole of the night, bread, wine, and other provisions, to the men at war carrying on the siege.
The day after, by the dawn of morning, which was Saturday the sixth day of May, the French assailed the boulevards and the Tournelles, even while the English were engaged in fortifying them. And there took place a most marvellous assault, during which were performed many gallant feats of arms, as well by the assailants as those who defended, because the English had great numbers of bold combatants, and were abundantly furnished with every instrument of defence. And well did they also show it'; for notwithstanding the French placed their scaling ladders in divers places and very thickly, and attacked in front the very highest of their fortifications with such valour and hardihood, that it seemed, from their bold array, that they would fain be immortal; yet were they discomfited several times, and hurled from the top to the bottom, as well by cannon and other discharges, as by hatchets, lances, javelins, leaden mallets, and even with their own hands; so that many of the French were killed and wounded, and among the others was there wounded the Pucelle, being struck by an arrow between the shoulder and the throat, so much in front that it passed through. At which all the assailants were mightily doleful and in rage, and more especially the Bastard of Orleans and other captains, who advanced towards her, saying, that it would be better to give up the assault until the ensuing day. But she consoled them by many fine and hardy speeches, exhorting them to maintain
their courage; but they, not believing in her words, left off the assault, and retreated behind, wishing to carry back their artillery until the morrow : whereat she was very doleful, and bespake them :
" In the name of God, you will very briefly enter, “ do not have a doubt; and the English will no “ longer possess strength to oppose you. Where“ fore, if you halt a little, drink and eat.”
Which they did forthwith, and it was à marvel that they obeyed her. So when they had drank, she said to them:
" On the part of God return to the assault imme“diately; for without a doubt the English will no “ longer have strength to defend themselves, and “ their Tournelles and their boulevards will be taken.”
And having spoken thus, she left her standard, and proceeded on horseback to a by-place to deliver her orison to the Lord; and said to a gentleman who chanced to be near,
“ Take good heed, when the tail of my standard “ shall be towards, or touch the boulevard."
Which he soon after told her was the case, exclaiming ; “ Jeanne, the tail touches it;" whereto she made answer: “ All is yours, and now enter.”
The which words were shortly after proved to be à prophecy; for when the valiant chiefs and men at arms, who had continued within Orleans, perceived that they wished to assault anew, many of them sallied forth from the city over the bridge. And in
consequence of several arches being broken, they led with them a carpenter, and transported gutters and ladders, wherewith they formed planks; when, perceiving that they were not long enough to reach both extremities of one of the broken arches, they joined a small piece of wood to one of the longest gutters, so that it held fast. Over the which first passed, completely armed, a very valiant knight of the Order of Rhodes, called of Saint John of Jerusalem, named Brother Nicole de Giresme; and after his example several others also, which is since said to have been more a miracle of our Lord than any other thing, because the gutter was marvellously long and narrow, and high in the air, without having any support. The which having passed over, joined with their other companions in the assault, which had began shortly before; for, as soon as they had recommenced, the English lost all power of longer resisting; so that they could not re-enter the boulevard within the Tournelles, and in consequence very few were enabled to save themselves. For of four to five hundred combatants, who were there, the whole were either killed or drowned, excepting only a few who were retained prisoners, amongst the which there were no great lords; because Glacidas (William Glasdale), who was the captain and high renowned in feats of arms, the lord de Moulins (Moolins), the lord de Pommier (Poynings), the bailiff of Mente, and many other knights bannerets, and English noblemen, were drowned; for in endeavouring to save themselves, the bridge broke under them, which proved a great shock to the English host, and a considerable loss to the valiant French, who, for their ransom, would have much increased their finances. Nevertheless they showed great joy, and praised our Lord for this most signal victory which had been accorded to them, as truly it was their duty so to do. For, it is said, that this assault, which lasted from the morning until the setting of the sun, was so stoutly assailed and defended, that it was one of the most noble feats of arms which had been achieved for a long time before. And truly was there wrought a miracle of our Lord, performed at the request of Saint Aignan and Saint Euverte, anciently bishops and patrons of Orleans, as it seemed to all appearance, according to common opinion, and even by those persons who on the same day were brought into Orleans; one of whom certified that unto himself and to all the other English of the Tournelles and the boulevards it appeared, when they were assailed, as if they saw a marvellous host of people, and that all the world was there assembled. Wherefore the clergy and the people of Orleans sung most devoutly Te Deum Laudamus, and caused all the bells of the city to be rang, most humbly returning thanks to our Lord and the two Saints Confessors for this glorious and divine consolation, and much rejoicing was there