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order to reclaim the crown. [A. D. 1341.] He beat the French in the sea-fight of L'Ecluse. He supported the Earl of Montfort in Brittany, and made a descent upon Normandy. He appeared under the very walls of Paris, and retired into Picardy, followed by the enemy, who gave him battle at Crecy. [A. D. 1346.] Here the French were beaten, as they say themselves, because they would not use the crossbows, but employed Genoese to do so; and because the English had the assistance of " villanous saltpetre.” However this may be, a considerable portion of the fighting men of France were left dead upon the field ; and Edward marched upon Calais, [A. D. 1347,] the capture of which has given rise to sundry pretty stories and fierce dispu. tations.
About this time a pestilence occurred, which swept off exactly a fourth part of the population of Europe. It must have been a difficult task to make this calculation. Persons went about whipping themselves with great vigour, in hopes to melt God to compassion by the sight of their lacerated backs.
John, who succeeded Philip, commenced his reign [A. D. 1350,] by cutting off the head of the Count d’Eu, his constable, no one knew why. He convoked the States-General, and was surprised to find that some ideas had got abroad since their last meeting of the real use of such a body.. They would absolutely represent the people, or at least they would represent themselves; and the king was obliged to submit.
John gave battle to Edward the Black Prince, who had intrenched himself at Poitiers with eight thousand heroes, and lost himself and an army of sixty thousand men. [A. D. 1356.] He was carried prisoner to England, but liberated on the moderate ransom, for a king, of onehalf of France, and four millions of gold crowns, reduced afterward to a third of France, and three millions of crówns. John, however, could not raise the money, and being a man of honour, he returned to England, where he died.
During his absence, the kingdom was governed by the Dauphin, who committed the favourite felony of kings in playing tricks with the national currency. . The people revolted; Paris was like a democracy; and Marcel, the chief of the insurgents, had begun to establish a federation throughout the country, when the Dauphin escaped to Compéigne, and convoked the States-General. (A. D. 1358.] In this confusion, the nobles endeavoured to bring back the liberated serfs into their feudal chains ; but the peasants being unwilling to comply, both parties cut each other's throats. At last, when everybody was tired, the States-General at Compéigne granted all that was asked of them; Paris was blockaded; Marcel assassinated; and the regent-dauphin entered the city in triumph.
Charles V. was prudent and clever. He restored the finances, beat the English in Brittany, and finally hunted them out of France. [A. D. 1364.) Du Guesclin was the hero of his time. The people were kept employed, not only by the wars of the French and English, but by the difficulty of knowing who was the legitimate son of Saint Peter. Several popes were elected at once, and each of them solemnly declared that he alone possessed the keys of heaven and hell. The people did not know which to believe ; but, as usual, they fought bitterly on one side or other.
Charles VI. succeeded ; [A. D. 1330.] and after several struggles with his parliament, suffered a defeat. He carried war into Flanders, and after committing great carnage, returned, at the head of his army, to chastise his rebellious citizens of Paris. [A. D. 1383.] He thought of a crusade! Marching through a forest in search of one of his barons who had murdered the Constable de Clisson, he was met by a stranger, who warned him not to advance; and thereupon the king became raging mad. Having recovered, he dressed himself as a satyr at a masked ball, and his dress taking fire, he was again frightened out of his wits. [A. D. 1395.] A truce was concluded with the English, or there is no knowing how far the disorders which ensued might have gone.
In the fourteenth century some advance was made in knowledgeif it was only in astrology. Charles V. collected nine hundred volumes, and the monks translated a few Latin works.
THE PHANTOM FIGHT.
Black spirits and white,
Red spirits and gray;