That courtesy title which flies to the mind whenever the name Bayard is mentioned—“The Good Knight without Fear and without Reproach”—is no fancy name bestowed by modern admirers, but was elicited by the hero’s merits in his own day and from his own people.
The most valuable chronicle of the Good Knight’s life and deeds was written with charming simplicity by a faithful follower, who, in single-hearted devotion to his beloved master’s fame, took no thought for himself, but blotted out his own identity, content to remain for all time a nameless shadow—merely the loyal servitor. It is from his record that the incidents in the following pages are retold.
The “Loyal Servitor” is now believed from recent research to have been Jacques de Mailles, his intimate friend and companion-at-arms, probably his secretary. He certainly learnt from Bayard himself the story of his early years, which he tells so delightfully, and he writes with the most minute detail about the later events which happened in his presence, and the warlike encounters in which he himself took part; and a most vivid and interesting account he makes of it. In an ancient catalogue of the Mazarine Library, his book is first set down as the Histoire du Chevalier Bayard, par Jacques de Mailles, Paris, in 4to, 1514 (probably a mistake for 1524). The better-known edition, with only the name of the “Loyal Servitor,” was published in 1527, under the title of
The very joyful and very
of the life, the heroic deeds, the triumphs
and the valour of the good knight
without fear and without reproach
BATTLE OF FORNOVO
THE PAGE PRESENTS HIS PRISONER
BAYARD PRESENTED TO HENRY VIII
[Illustration: Le Chevalier Bayard Sans peur et sans reproche.]
Pierre Terrail, the renowned Bayard of history, was born at the Castle of Bayard, in Dauphine, about the year 1474, when Louis XI. was King of France. He came of an ancient and heroic race, whose chief privilege had been to shed their blood for France throughout the Middle Ages.