One thing is certain in our Northern land—
Allow that birth or valour, wealth or wit,
Give each precedence to their possessor,
Envy, that follows on such eminence,
As comes the lyme-hound on the roebuck's trace,
Shall pull them down each one.
SIR DAVID LINDSAY.
 LEOPOLD, Grand Duke of Austria, was the first possessor of that
noble country to whom the princely rank belonged. He had been
raised to the ducal sway in the German Empire on account of his
near relationship to the Emperor, Henry the Stern, and held under
his government the finest provinces which are watered by the
Danube. His character has been stained in history on account of
one action of violence and perfidy, which arose out of these very
transactions in the Holy Land; and yet the shame of having made
Richard a prisoner when he returned through his dominions;
unattended and in disguise, was not one which flowed from
Leopold's natural disposition. He was rather a weak and a vain
than an ambitious or tyrannical prince. His mental powers
resembled the qualities of his person. He was tall, strong, and
handsome, with a complexion in which red and white were strongly
contrasted, and had long flowing locks of fair hair. But there
was an awkwardness in his gait which seemed as if his size was
not animated by energy sufficient to put in motion such a mass;
and in the same manner, wearing the richest dresses, it always
seemed as if they became him not. As a prince, he appeared too
little familiar with his own dignity; and being often at a loss
how to assert his authority when the occasion demanded it, he
frequently thought himself obliged to recover, by acts and
expressions of ill-timed violence, the ground which might have
been easily and gracefully maintained by a little more presence
of mind in the beginning of the controversy.
Not only were these deficiencies visible to others, but the
Archduke himself could not but sometimes entertain a painful
consciousness that he was not altogether fit to maintain and
assert the high rank which he had acquired; and to this was
joined the strong, and sometimes the just, suspicion that others
esteemed him lightly accordingly.
When he first joined the Crusade, with a most princely
attendance, Leopold had desired much to enjoy the friendship and
intimacy of Richard, and had made such advances towards
cultivating his regard as the King of England ought, in policy,
to have received and answered. But the Archduke, though not
deficient in bravery, was so infinitely inferior to Coeur de Lion
in that ardour of mind which wooed danger as a bride, that the
King very soon held him in a certain degree of contempt.
Richard, also, as a Norman prince, a people with whom temperance
was habitual, despised the inclination of the German for the
pleasures of the table, and particularly his liberal indulgence
in the use of wine. For these, and other personal reasons, the
King of England very soon looked upon the Austrian Prince with
feelings of contempt, which he was at no pains to conceal or
modify, and which, therefore, were speedily remarked, and
returned with deep hatred, by the suspicious Leopold. The
discord between them was fanned by the secret and politic arts of
Philip of France, one of the most sagacious monarchs of the time,
who, dreading the fiery and overbearing character of Richard,
considering him as his natural rival, and feeling offended,
moreover, at the dictatorial manner in which he, a vassal of
France for his Continental domains, conducted himself towards his
liege lord, endeavoured to strengthen his own party, and weaken
that of Richard, by uniting the Crusading princes of inferior
degree in resistance to what he termed the usurping authority of
the King of England. Such was the state of politics and opinions
entertained by the Archduke of Austria, when Conrade of
Montserrat resolved upon employing his jealousy of England as the
means of dissolving, or loosening at least, the league of the
The time which he chose for his visit was noon; and the pretence,
to present the Archduke with some choice Cyprus wine which had
lately fallen into his hands, and discuss its comparative merits
with those of Hungary and of the Rhine. An intimation of his
purpose was, of course, answered by a courteous invitation to
partake of the Archducal meal, and every effort was used to
render it fitting the splendour of a sovereign prince. Yet the
refined taste of the Italian saw more cumbrous profusion than
elegance or splendour in the display of provisions under which
the board groaned.
The Germans, though still possessing the martial and frank
character of their ancestors—who subdued the Roman Empire—had
retained withal no slight tinge of their barbarism. The
practices and principles of chivalry were not carried to such a
nice pitch amongst them as amongst the French and English
knights, nor were they strict observers of the prescribed rules
of society, which among those nations were supposed to express
the height of civilization. Sitting at the table of the
Archduke, Conrade was at once stunned and amused with the clang
of Teutonic sounds assaulting his ears on all sides,
notwithstanding the solemnity of a princely banquet. Their dress
seemed equally fantastic to him, many of the Austrian nobles
retaining their long beards, and almost all of them wearing short
jerkins of various colours, cut, and flourished, and fringed in a
manner not common in Western Europe.
Numbers of dependants, old and young, attended in the pavilion,
mingled at times in the conversation, received from their masters
the relics of the entertainment, and devoured them as they stood
behind the backs of the company. Jesters, dwarfs, and minstrels
were there in unusual numbers, and more noisy and intrusive than
they were permitted to be in better regulated society. As they
were allowed to share freely in the wine, which flowed round in
large quantities, their licensed tumult was the more excessive.
All this while, and in the midst of a clamour and confusion which
would better have become a German tavern during a fair than the
tent of a sovereign prince, the Archduke was waited upon with a
minuteness of form and observance which showed how anxious he was
to maintain rigidly the state and character to which his
elevation had entitled him. He was served on the knee, and only
by pages of noble blood, fed upon plate of silver, and drank his
Tokay and Rhenish wines from a cup of gold. His ducal mantle was
splendidly adorned with ermine, his coronet might have equalled
in value a royal crown, and his feet, cased in velvet shoes (the
length of which, peaks included, might be two feet), rested upon
a footstool of solid silver. But it served partly to intimate
the character of the man, that, although desirous to show
attention to the Marquis of Montserrat, whom he had courteously
placed at his right hand, he gave much more of his attention to
his spruchsprecher, that is, his man of conversation, or
'sayer-of-saying,' who stood behind the Duke's right shoulder.
This personage was well attired in a cloak and doublet of black
velvet, the last of which was decorated with various silver and
gold coins stitched upon it, in memory of the munificent princes
who had conferred them, and bearing a short staff to which also
bunches of silver coins were attached by rings, which he jingled
by way of attracting attention when he was about to say anything
which he judged worthy of it. This person's capacity in the
household of the Archduke was somewhat betwixt that of a minstrel
and a counsellor. He was by turns a flatterer, a poet, and an
orator; and those who desired to be well with the Duke generally
studied to gain the good-will of the spruchsprecher.
Lest too much of this officer's wisdom should become tiresome,
the Duke's other shoulder was occupied by his hoffnarr, or
court-jester, called Jonas Schwanker, who made almost as much
noise with his fool's cap, bells, and bauble, as did the orator,
or man of talk, with his jingling baton.
These two personages threw out grave and comic nonsense
alternately; while their master, laughing or applauding them
himself, yet carefully watched the countenance of his noble
guest, to discern what impressions so accomplished a cavalier
received from this display of Austrian eloquence and wit. It is
hard to say whether the man of wisdom or the man of folly
contributed most to the amusement of the party, or stood highest
in the estimation of their princely master; but the sallies of
both seemed excellently well received. Sometimes they became
rivals for the conversation, and clanged their flappers in
emulation of each other with a most alarming contention; but, in
general, they seemed on such good terms, and so accustomed to
support each other's play, that the spruchsprecher often
condescended to follow up the jester's witticisms with an
explanation, to render them more obvious to the capacity of the
audience, so that his wisdom became a sort of commentary on the
buffoon's folly. And sometimes, in requital, the hoffnarr, with
a pithy jest, wound up the conclusion of the orator's tedious
Whatever his real sentiments might be, Conrade took especial care
that his countenance should express nothing but satisfaction with
what he heard, and smiled or applauded as zealously, to all
appearance, as the Archduke himself at the solemn folly of the
spruchsprecher and the gibbering wit of the fool. In fact, he
watched carefully until the one or other should introduce some
topic favourable to the purpose which was uppermost in his mind.
It was not long ere the King of England was brought on the carpet
by the jester, who had been accustomed to consider Dickon of the
Broom (which irreverent epithet he substituted for Richard
Plantagenet) as a subject of mirth, acceptable and inexhaustible.
The orator, indeed, was silent, and it was only when applied to
by Conrade that he observed, "The genista, or broom-plant, was an
emblem of humility; and it would be well when those who wore it
would remember the warning."
The allusion to the illustrious badge of Plantagenet was thus
rendered sufficiently manifest, and Jonas Schwanker observed that
they who humbled themselves had been exalted with a vengeance.
"Honour unto whom honour is due," answered the Marquis of
Montserrat. "We have all had some part in these marches and
battles, and methinks other princes might share a little in the
renown which Richard of England engrosses amongst minstrels and
minnesingers. Has no one of the joyeuse science here present a
song in praise of the royal Archduke of Austria, our princely
Three minstrels emulously stepped forward with voice and harp.
Two were silenced with difficulty by the spruchsprecher, who
seemed to act as master of the revels, and a hearing was at
length procured for the poet preferred, who sung, in high German,
stanzas which may be thus translated:—
"What brave chief shall head the forces,
Where the red-cross legions gather?
Best of horsemen, best of horses,
Highest head and fairest feather."
Here the orator, jingling his staff, interrupted the bard to
intimate to the party—what they might not have inferred from the
description—that their royal host was the party indicated, and a
full-crowned goblet went round to the acclamation, "Hoch lebe der
Another stanza followed:—
"Ask not Austria why, 'midst princes,
Still her banner rises highest;
Ask as well the strong-wing'd eagle,
Why to heaven he soars the highest."
"The eagle," said the expounder of dark sayings, "is the
cognizance of our noble lord the Archduke—of his royal Grace, I
would say—and the eagle flies the highest and nearest to the sun
of all the feathered creation."
"The lion hath taken a spring above the eagle," said Conrade
The Archduke reddened, and fixed his eyes on the speaker, while
the spruchsprecher answered, after a minute's consideration,
"The Lord Marquis will pardon me—a lion cannot fly above an
eagle, because no lion hath got wings."
"Except the lion of Saint Mark," responded the jester.
"That is the Venetian's banner," said the Duke; "but assuredly
that amphibious race, half nobles, half merchants, will not dare
to place their rank in comparison with ours."
"Nay, it was not of the Venetian lion that I spoke," said the
Marquis of Montserrat, "but of the three lions passant of
England. Formerly, it is said, they were leopards; but now they
are become lions at all points, and must take precedence of
beast, fish, or fowl, or woe worth the gainstander."
"Mean you seriously, my lord?" said the Austrian, now
considerably flushed with wine. "Think you that Richard of
England asserts any pre-eminence over the free sovereigns who
have been his voluntary allies in this Crusade?"
"I know not but from circumstances," answered Conrade. "Yonder
hangs his banner alone in the midst of our camp, as if he were
king and generalissimo of our whole Christian army."
"And do you endure this so patiently, and speak of it so coldly?"
said the Archduke.
"Nay, my lord," answered Conrade, "it cannot concern the poor
Marquis of Montserrat to contend against an injury patiently
submitted to by such potent princes as Philip of France and
Leopold of Austria. What dishonour you are pleased to submit to
cannot be a disgrace to me."
Leopold closed his fist, and struck on the table with violence.
"I have told Philip of this," he said. "I have often told him
that it was our duty to protect the inferior princes against the
usurpation of this islander; but he answers me ever with cold
respects of their relations together as suzerain and vassal, and
that it were impolitic in him to make an open breach at this time
"The world knows that Philip is wise," said Conrade, "and will
judge his submission to be policy. Yours, my lord, you can
yourself alone account for; but I doubt not you have deep reasons
for submitting to English domination."
"I submit!" said Leopold indignantly—"I, the Archduke of
Austria, so important and vital a limb of the Holy Roman Empire
—I submit myself to this king of half an island, this grandson
of a Norman bastard! No, by Heaven! The camp and all
Christendom shall see that I know how to right myself, and
whether I yield ground one inch to the English bandog.—Up, my
lieges and merry men; up and follow me! We will—and that
without losing one instant—place the eagle of Austria where she
shall float as high as ever floated the cognizance of king or
With that he started from his seat, and amidst the tumultuous
cheering of his guests and followers, made for the door of the
pavilion, and seized his own banner, which stood pitched before
"Nay, my lord," said Conrade, affecting to interfere, "it will
blemish your wisdom to make an affray in the camp at this hour;
and perhaps it is better to submit to the usurpation of England a
little longer than to—"
"Not an hour, not a moment longer," vociferated the Duke; and
with the banner in his hand, and followed by his shouting guests
and attendants, marched hastily to the central mount, from which
the banner of England floated, and laid his hand on the
standard-spear, as if to pluck it from the ground.
"My master, my dear master!" said Jonas Schwanker, throwing his
arms about the Duke, "take heed—lions have teeth—"
"And eagles have claws," said the Duke, not relinquishing his
hold on the banner-staff, yet hesitating to pull it from the
The speaker of sentences, notwithstanding such was his
occupation, had nevertheless some intervals of sound sense. He
clashed his staff loudly, and Leopold, as if by habit, turned his
head towards his man of counsel.
"The eagle is king among the fowls of the air," said
the spruchsprecher, "as is the lion among the
beasts of the field—each has
his dominion, separated as wide as England and Germany. Do thou,
noble eagle, no dishonour to the princely lion, but let your
banners remain floating in peace side by side."
Leopold withdrew his hand from the banner-spear, and looked round
for Conrade of Montserrat, but he saw him not; for the Marquis,
so soon as he saw the mischief afoot, had withdrawn himself from
the crowd, taking care, in the first place, to express before
several neutral persons his regret that the Archduke should have
chosen the hours after dinner to avenge any wrong of which he
might think he had a right to complain. Not seeing his guest, to
whom he wished more particularly to have addressed himself, the
Archduke said aloud that, having no wish to breed dissension in
the army of the Cross, he did but vindicate his own privileges
and right to stand upon an equality with the King of England,
without desiring, as he might have done, to advance his banner
—which he derived from emperors, his progenitors—above that of
a mere descendant of the Counts of Anjou; and in the meantime he
commanded a cask of wine to be brought hither and pierced, for
regaling the bystanders, who, with tuck of drum and sound of
music, quaffed many a carouse round the Austrian standard.
This disorderly scene was not acted without a degree of noise,
which alarmed the whole camp.
The critical hour had arrived at which the physician, according
to the rules of his art, had predicted that his royal patient
might be awakened with safety, and the sponge had been applied
for that purpose; and the leech had not made many observations
ere he assured the Baron of Gilsland that the fever had entirely
left his sovereign, and that, such was the happy strength of his
constitution, it would not be even necessary, as in most cases,
to give a second dose of the powerful medicine. Richard himself
seemed to be of the same opinion, for, sitting up and rubbing his
eyes, he demanded of De Vaux what present sum of money was in the
The baron could not exactly inform him of the amount.
"It matters not," said Richard; "be it greater or smaller,
bestow it all on this learned leech, who hath, I trust, given me
back again to the service of the Crusade. If it be less than a
thousand byzants, let him have jewels to make it up."
"I sell not the wisdom with which Allah has endowed me," answered
the Arabian physician; "and be it known to you, great Prince,
that the divine medicine of which you have partaken would lose
its effects in my unworthy hands did I exchange its virtues
either for gold or diamonds."
"The Physician refuseth a gratuity!" said De Vaux to himself.
"This is more extraordinary than his being a hundred years old."
"Thomas de Vaux," said Richard, "thou knowest no courage but what
belongs to the sword, no bounty and virtue but what are used in
chivalry. I tell thee that this Moor, in his independence, might
set an example to them who account themselves the flower of
"It is reward enough for me," said the Moor, folding his arms on
his bosom, and maintaining an attitude at once respectful and
dignified, "that so great a king as the Melech Ric [Richard was
thus called by the Eastern nations.] should thus speak of his
servant.—But now let me pray you again to compose yourself on
your couch; for though I think there needs no further repetition
of the divine draught, yet injury might ensue from any too early
exertion ere your strength be entirely restored."
"I must obey thee, Hakim," said the King; "yet believe me, my
bosom feels so free from the wasting fire which for so many days
hath scorched it, that I care not how soon I expose it to a brave
man's lance.—But hark! what mean these shouts, and that distant
music, in the camp? Go, Thomas de Vaux, and make inquiry."
"It is the Archduke Leopold," said De Vaux, returning after a
minute's absence, "who makes with his pot-companions some
procession through the camp."
"The drunken fool!" exclaimed King Richard; "can he not keep his
brutal inebriety within the veil of his pavilion, that he must
needs show his shame to all Christendom?—What say you, Sir
Marquis?" he added, addressing himself to Conrade of Montserrat,
who at that moment entered the tent.
"Thus much, honoured Prince," answered the Marquis, "that I
delight to see your Majesty so well, and so far recovered; and
that is a long speech for any one to make who has partaken of the
Duke of Austria's hospitality."
"What! you have been dining with the Teutonic wine-skin!" said
the monarch. "And what frolic has he found out to cause all this
disturbance? Truly, Sir Conrade, I have still held you so good a
reveller that I wonder at your quitting the game."
De Vaux, who had got a little behind the King, now exerted
himself by look and sign to make the Marquis understand that he
should say nothing to Richard of what was passing without. But
Conrade understood not, or heeded not, the prohibition.
"What the Archduke does," he said, "is of little consequence to
any one, least of all to himself, since he probably knows not
what he is acting; yet, to say truth, it is a gambol I should not
like to share in, since he is pulling down the banner of England
from Saint George's Mount, in the centre of the camp yonder, and
displaying his own in its stead."
"WHAT sayest thou?" exclaimed the King, in a tone which might
have waked the dead.
"Nay," said the Marquis, "let it not chafe your Highness that a
fool should act according to his folly—"
"Speak not to me," said Richard, springing from his couch, and
casting on his clothes with a dispatch which seemed marvellous
—"Speak not to me, Lord Marquis!—De Multon, I command thee
speak not a word to me—he that breathes but a syllable is no
friend to Richard Plantagenet.—Hakim, be silent, I charge thee!"
All this while the King was hastily clothing himself, and, with
the last word, snatched his sword from the pillar of the tent,
and without any other weapon, or calling any attendance, he
rushed out of his pavilion. Conrade, holding up his hands as if
in astonishment, seemed willing to enter into conversation with
De Vaux; but Sir Thomas pushed rudely past him, and calling to
one of the royal equerries, said hastily, "Fly to Lord
Salisbury's quarters, and let him get his men together and follow
me instantly to Saint George's Mount. Tell him the King's fever
has left his blood and settled in his brain."
Imperfectly heard, and still more imperfectly comprehended, by
the startled attendant whom De Vaux addressed thus hastily, the
equerry and his fellow-servants of the royal chamber rushed
hastily into the tents of the neighbouring nobility, and quickly
spread an alarm, as general as the cause seemed vague, through
the whole British forces. The English soldiers, waked in alarm
from that noonday rest which the heat of the climate had taught
them to enjoy as a luxury, hastily asked each other the cause of
the tumult, and without waiting an answer, supplied by the force
of their own fancy the want of information. Some said the
Saracens were in the camp, some that the King's life was
attempted, some that he had died of the fever the preceding
night, many that he was assassinated by the Duke of Austria. The
nobles and officers, at an equal loss with the common men to
ascertain the real cause of the disorder, laboured only to get
their followers under arms and under authority, lest their
rashness should occasion some great misfortune to the Crusading
army. The English trumpets sounded loud, shrill, and
continuously. The alarm-cry of "Bows and bills, bows and bills!"
was heard from quarter to quarter, again and again shouted, and
again and again answered by the presence of the ready warriors,
and their national invocation, "Saint George for merry England!"
The alarm went through the nearest quarter of the camp, and men
of all the various nations assembled, where, perhaps, every
people in Christendom had their representatives, flew to arms,
and drew together under circumstances of general confusion, of
which they knew neither the cause nor the object. It was,
however, lucky, amid a scene so threatening, that the Earl of
Salisbury, while he hurried after De Vaux's summons with a few
only of the readiest English men-at-arms, directed the rest of
the English host to be drawn up and kept under arms, to advance
to Richard's succour if necessity should require, but in fit
array and under due command, and not with the tumultuary haste
which their own alarm and zeal for the King's safety might have
In the meanwhile, without regarding for one instant the shouts,
the cries, the tumult which began to thicken around him, Richard,
with his dress in the last disorder, and his sheathed blade under
his arm, pursued his way with the utmost speed, followed only by
De Vaux and one or two household servants, to Saint George's
He outsped even the alarm which his impetuosity only had excited,
and passed the quarter of his own gallant troops of Normandy,
Poitou, Gascony, and Anjou before the disturbance had reached
them, although the noise accompanying the German revel had
induced many of the soldiery to get on foot to listen. The
handful of Scots were also quartered in the vicinity, nor had
they been disturbed by the uproar. But the King's person and his
haste were both remarked by the Knight of the Leopard, who, aware
that danger must be afoot, and hastening to share in it, snatched
his shield and sword, and united himself to De Vaux, who with
some difficulty kept pace with his impatient and fiery master.
De Vaux answered a look of curiosity, which the Scottish knight
directed towards him, with a shrug of his broad shoulders, and
they continued, side by side, to pursue Richard's steps.
The King was soon at the foot of Saint George's Mount, the sides
as well as platform of which were now surrounded and crowded,
partly by those belonging to the Duke of Austria's retinue, who
were celebrating, with shouts of jubilee, the act which they
considered as an assertion of national honour; partly by
bystanders of different nations, whom dislike to the English, or
mere curiosity, had assembled together to witness the end of
these extraordinary proceedings. Through this disorderly troop
Richard burst his way, like a goodly ship under full sail, which
cleaves her forcible passage through the rolling billows, and
heeds not that they unite after her passage and roar upon her
The summit of the eminence was a small level space, on which were
pitched the rival banners, surrounded still by the Archduke's
friends and retinue. In the midst of the circle was Leopold
himself, still contemplating with self-satisfaction the deed he
had done, and still listening to the shouts of applause which his
partisans bestowed with no sparing breath. While he was in this
state of self-gratulation, Richard burst into the circle,
attended, indeed, only by two men, but in his own headlong
energies an irresistible host.
"Who has dared," he said, laying his hands upon the Austrian
standard, and speaking in a voice like the sound which precedes
an earthquake—"Who has dared to place this paltry rag beside the
banner of England?"
The Archduke wanted not personal courage, and it was impossible
he could hear this question without reply. Yet so much was he
troubled and surprised by the unexpected arrival of Richard, and
affected by the general awe inspired by his ardent and unyielding
character, that the demand was twice repeated, in a tone which
seemed to challenge heaven and earth, ere the Archduke replied,
with such firmness as he could command, "It was I, Leopold of
"Then shall Leopold of Austria," replied Richard, "presentry see
the rate at which his banner and his pretensions are held by
Richard of England."
So saying, he pulled up the standard-spear, splintered it to
pieces, threw the banner itself on the ground, and placed his
foot upon it.
"Thus," said he, "I trample on the banner of Austria. Is there a
knight among your Teutonic chivalry dare impeach my deed?"
There was a momentary silence; but there are no braver men than
"I," and "I," and "I," was heard from several knights of the
Duke"s followers; and he himself added his voice to those which
accepted the King of England's defiance.
"Why do we dally thus?" said the Earl Wallenrode, a gigantic
warrior from the frontiers of Hungary. "Brethren and noble
gentlemen, this man's foot is on the honour of your country—let
us rescue it from violation, and down with the pride of England!"
So saying, he drew his sword, and struck at the King a blow which
might have proved fatal, had not the Scot intercepted and caught
it upon his shield.
"I have sworn," said King Richard—and his voice was heard above
all the tumult, which now waxed wild and loud—"never to strike
one whose shoulder bears the cross; therefore live, Wallenrode
—but live to remember Richard of England."
As he spoke, he grasped the tall Hungarian round the waist, and,
unmatched in wrestling, as in other military exercises, hurled
him backwards with such violence that the mass flew as if
discharged from a military engine, not only through the ring of
spectators who witnessed the extraordinary scene, but over the
edge of the mount itself, down the steep side of which Wallenrode
rolled headlong, until, pitching at length upon his shoulder, he
dislocated the bone, and lay like one dead. This almost
supernatural display of strength did not encourage either the
Duke or any of his followers to renew a personal contest so
inauspiciously commenced. Those who stood farthest back did,
indeed, clash their swords, and cry out, "Cut the island mastiff
to pieces!" but those who were nearer veiled, perhaps, their
personal fears under an affected regard for order, and cried, for
the most part, "Peace! Peace! the peace of the Cross—the peace
of Holy Church and our Father the Pope!"
These various cries of the assailants, contradicting each other,
showed their irresolution; while Richard, his foot still on the
archducal banner, glared round him with an eye that seemed to
seek an enemy, and from which the angry nobles shrunk appalled,
as from the threatened grasp of a lion. De Vaux and the Knight
of the Leopard kept their places beside him; and though the
swords which they held were still sheathed, it was plain that
they were prompt to protect Richard's person to the very last,
and their size and remarkable strength plainly showed the defence
would be a desperate one.
Salisbury and his attendants were also now drawing near, with
bills and partisans brandished, and bows already bended.
At this moment King Philip of France, attended by one or two of
his nobles, came on the platform to inquire the cause of the
disturbance, and made gestures of surprise at finding the King of
England raised from his sick-bed, and confronting their common
ally, the Duke of Austria, in such a menacing and insulting
posture. Richard himself blushed at being discovered by Philip,
whose sagacity he respected as much as he disliked his person, in
an attitude neither becoming his character as a monarch, nor as a
Crusader; and it was observed that he withdrew his foot, as if
accidentally, from the dishonoured banner, and exchanged his look
of violent emotion for one of affected composure and
indifference. Leopold also struggled to attain some degree of
calmness, mortified as he was by having been seen by Philip in
the act of passively submitting to the insults of the fiery King
Possessed of many of those royal qualities for which he was
termed by his subjects the August, Philip might be termed the
Ulysses, as Richard was indisputably the Achilles, of the
Crusade. The King of France was sagacious, wise, deliberate in
council, steady and calm in action, seeing clearly, and steadily
pursuing, the measures most for the interest of his kingdom
—dignified and royal in his deportment, brave in person, but a
politician rather than a warrior. The Crusade would have been no
choice of his own; but the spirit was contagious, and the
expedition was enforced upon him by the church, and by the
unanimous wish of his nobility. In any other situation, or in a
milder age, his character might have stood higher than that of
the adventurous Coeur de Lion. But in the Crusade, itself an
undertaking wholly irrational, sound reason was the quality of
all others least estimated, and the chivalric valour which both
the age and the enterprise demanded was considered as debased if
mingled with the least touch of discretion. So that the merit of
Philip, compared with that of his haughty rival, showed like the
clear but minute flame of a lamp placed near the glare of a huge,
blazing torch, which, not possessing half the utility, makes ten
times more impression on the eye. Philip felt his inferiority in
public opinion with the pain natural to a high-spirited prince;
and it cannot be wondered at if he took such opportunities as
offered for placing his own character in more advantageous
contrast with that of his rival. The present seemed one of those
occasions in which prudence and calmness might reasonably expect
to triumph over obstinacy and impetuous violence.
"What means this unseemly broil betwixt the sworn brethren of the
Cross—the royal Majesty of England and the princely Duke
Leopold? How is it possible that those who are the chiefs and
pillars of this holy expedition—"
"A truce with thy remonstrance, France," said Richard, enraged
inwardly at finding himself placed on a sort of equality with
Leopold, yet not knowing how to resent it. "This duke, or
prince, or pillar, if you will, hath been insolent, and I have
chastised him—that is all. Here is a coil, forsooth, because of
spurning a hound!"
"Majesty of France," said the Duke, "I appeal to you and every
sovereign prince against the foul indignity which I have
sustained. This King of England hath pulled down my banner-torn
and trampled on it."
"Because he had the audacity to plant it beside mine," said
"My rank as thine equal entitled me," replied the Duke,
emboldened by the presence of Philip.
"Assert such equality for thy person," said King Richard, "and,
by Saint George, I will treat thy person as I did thy broidered
kerchief there, fit but for the meanest use to which kerchief may
"Nay, but patience, brother of England," said Philip, "and I will
presently show Austria that he is wrong in this matter.—Do not
think, noble Duke," he continued, "that, in permitting the
standard of England to occupy the highest point in our camp, we,
the independent sovereigns of the Crusade, acknowledge any
inferiority to the royal Richard. It were inconsistent to think
so, since even the Oriflamme itself—the great banner of France,
to which the royal Richard himself, in respect of his French
possessions, is but a vassal—holds for the present an inferior
place to the Lions of England. But as sworn brethren of the
Cross, military pilgrims, who, laying aside the pomp and pride of
this world, are hewing with our swords the way to the Holy
Sepulchre, I myself, and the other princes, have renounced to
King Richard, from respect to his high renown and great feats of
arms, that precedence which elsewhere, and upon other motives,
would not have been yielded. I am satisfied that, when your
royal grace of Austria shall have considered this, you will
express sorrow for having placed your banner on this spot, and
that the royal Majesty of England will then give satisfaction for
the insult he has offered."
The spruchsprecher and the jester had both retired to a safe
distance when matters seemed coming to blows; but returned when
words, their own commodity, seemed again about to become the
order of the day.
The man of proverbs was so delighted with Philip's politic speech
that he clashed his baton at the conclusion, by way of emphasis,
and forgot the presence in which he was, so far as to say aloud
that he himself had never said a wiser thing in his life.
"It may be so," whispered Jonas Schwanker, "but we shall be
whipped if you speak so loud."
The Duke answered sullenly that he would refer his quarrel to
the General Council of the Crusade—a motion which Philip highly
applauded, as qualified to take away a scandal most harmful to
Richard, retaining the same careless attitude, listened to Philip
until his oratory seemed exhausted, and then said aloud, "I am
drowsy—this fever hangs about me still. Brother of France, thou
art acquainted with my humour, and that I have at all times but
few words to spare. Know, therefore, at once, I will submit a
matter touching the honour of England neither to Prince, Pope,
nor Council. Here stands my banner—whatsoever pennon shall be
reared within three butts' length of it—ay, were it the
Oriflamme, of which you were, I think, but now speaking—shall be
treated as that dishonoured rag; nor will I yield other
satisfaction than that which these poor limbs can render in the
lists to any bold challenge—ay, were it against five champions
instead of one."
"Now," said the jester, whispering his companion, "that is as
complete a piece of folly as if I myself had said it; but yet, I
think, there may be in this matter a greater fool than Richard
"And who may that be?" asked the man of wisdom.
"Philip," said the jester, "or our own Royal Duke, should either
accept the challenge. But oh, most sage spruchsprecher, what
excellent kings wouldst thou and I have made, since those on
whose heads these crowns have fallen can play the proverb-monger
and the fool as completely as ourselves!"
While these worthies plied their offices apart, Philip answered
calmly to the almost injurious defiance of Richard, "I came not
hither to awaken fresh quarrels, contrary to the oath we have
sworn, and the holy cause in which we have engaged. I part from
my brother of England as brothers should part, and the only
strife between the Lions of England and the Lilies of France
shall be which shall be carried deepest into the ranks of the
"It is a bargain, my royal brother," said Richard, stretching out
his hand with all the frankness which belonged to his rash but
generous disposition; "and soon may we have the opportunity to
try this gallant and fraternal wager."
"Let this noble Duke also partake in the friendship of this happy
moment," said Philip; and the Duke approached half-sullenly,
half-willing to enter into some accommodation.
"I think not of fools, nor of their folly," said Richard
carelessly; and the Archduke, turning his back on him, withdrew
from the ground.
Richard looked after him as he retired.
"There is a sort of glow-worm courage," he said, "that shows only
by night. I must not leave this banner unguarded in darkness; by
daylight the look of the Lions will alone defend it. Here,
Thomas of Gilsland, I give thee the charge of the standard—watch
over the honour of England."
"Her safety is yet more dear to me," said De Vaux, "and the life
of Richard is the safety of England. I must have your Highness
back to your tent, and that without further tarriance."
"Thou art a rough and peremptory nurse, De Vaux," said the king,
smiling; and then added, addressing Sir Kenneth, "Valiant Scot, I
owe thee a boon, and I will pay it richly. There stands the
banner of England! Watch it as novice does his armour on the
night before he is dubbed. Stir not from it three spears'
length, and defend it with thy body against injury or insult.
Sound thy bugle if thou art assailed by more than three at once.
Dost thou undertake the charge?"
"Willingly," said Kenneth; "and will discharge it upon penalty of
my head. I will but arm me, and return hither instantly."
The Kings of France and England then took formal leave of each
other, hiding, under an appearance of courtesy, the grounds of
complaint which either had against the other—Richard against
Philip, for what he deemed an officious interference betwixt him
and Austria, and Philip against Coeur de Lion, for the
disrespectful manner in which his mediation had been received.
Those whom this disturbance had assembled now drew off in
different directions, leaving the contested mount in the same
solitude which had subsisted till interrupted by the Austrian
bravado. Men judged of the events of the day according to their
partialities, and while the English charged the Austrian with
having afforded the first ground of quarrel, those of other
nations concurred in casting the greater blame upon the insular
haughtiness and assuming character of Richard.
"Thou seest," said the Marquis of Montserrat to the Grand Master
of the Templars, "that subtle courses are more effective than
violence. I have unloosed the bonds which held together this
bunch of sceptres and lances—thou wilt see them shortly fall
"I would have called thy plan a good one," said the Templar, "had
there been but one man of courage among yonder cold-blooded
Austrians to sever the bonds of which you speak with his sword.
A knot that is unloosed may again be fastened, but not so the
cord which has been cut to pieces."
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