A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 02 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 778 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 02.

And it so happened as Earl William said:  For Earl Robert of Artois persisted to march forward against the Soldan, vainly hoping to win all the glory to himself, before the coming up of the main body of the host.  His first enterprize was ordering an attack on a small castle, or fortified village, called Mansor; whence a number of the villagers ran out, on seeing the approach of the Christians, making a great outcry, which came to the ears of the Soldan, who was much nearer with his army than had been supposed.  In the mean time, the Christians made an assault on Mansor with too little precaution, and were repulsed with considerable loss, many of them being slain by large stones, thrown upon them as they entered the place; by which the army not only lost a considerable number of men, but was much dispirited by this unexpected repulse.

Immediately on the back of this discomfiture, the Soldan came in sight with his whole army; and seeing the Christians in this divided state, brother separated from brother, joyfully seized the opportunity he had long wished for, and inclosing them on all sides, that none might escape, attacked them with great fury.  In this situation, the Earl of Artois sore repented of his headstrong rashness, when it was too late; and, seeing Earl William Longespee fighting bravely against the chief brunt of the enemy, he called out to him in a cowardly manner to flee, as God fought against them.  But William bravely answered, “God forbid that my father’s son should flee from the face of a Saracen.”  Earl Robert turned out of the fight, and fled away, thinking to escape from death or captivity by the swiftness of his horse; and taking the river Thafnis[6], sank through the weight of his armour, and was drowned.  On the flight of Earl Robert, the French troops lost heart, and began to give ground:  But William Longespee, bearing up manfully against the whole force of the enemy, stood firm as long as he was able, slaying and wounding many of the Saracens.  At length, his horse being killed, and his legs maimed, he fell to the ground; yet he continued to mangle their legs and feet, till at last he was slain with many wounds, being finally stoned to death by the Saracens.  After his death, the Saracens set upon the remainder of the army, which they had surrounded on every side, and destroyed them all, so that scarce a single man remained alive.  Of the whole, only two templars, one hospitaller, and one common soldier escaped, to bring the melancholy tidings to the king of France.  Thus by the imprudent and foolish rashness of Earl Robert, the French troops were utterly discomfited, and the valiant English knight overpowered and slain, to the grief of all the Christians, and the glory of the Saracens; and, as it afterwards fell out, to the entire ruin of the whole French army.

[1] Hakluyt, I. 70.

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