The Lord of Siverey Consults the Other Knights if Going for Help Will Stain His Honor

January 16, 2020

When I and my knights came out of the camp, we found some six thousand Turks, as we reckoned, who had left their quarters and retreated into the fields. When they saw us, they came running upon us, and killed my Lord Hugh of Trichâtel, Lord of Conflans, who was with me bearing a banner. I and my knights set spurs to our horses, and went to deliver my Lord Raoul of Wanou, who was with me, and whom they had struck to the ground.

While I was returning, the Turks pressed upon me with their lances. My horse knelt under the weight and I fell forward over the horse’s ears. I got up as soon as ever I could, with my shield at my neck, and my sword in my hand; and my Lord Everard of Siverey—God have him in grace!—who was one of my people, came to me and said the we should draw off near to a ruined house, and there await the king [St. Louis IX of France], who was coming. As we were going thither, part on foot and part mounted, a great rout of Turks came rushing upon us, and bore me to the ground, and went over me, and caused my shield to fly from my neck.

When they had passed on, my Lord Everard of Siverey came back to me, and led me thence, and we went to the walls of the ruined house; and thither returned to us my Lord Hugh of Ecot, my Lord Frederic of Loupey, my Lord Renaud of Menoncourt. The Turks attacked us on all sides. Some of them entered into the ruined house and pricked us with their lances from above. Then my knights told me to hold their bridles, and so I did, for fear the horses should run away. And they defended themselves right manfully; and afterwards received great praise from all the right worthy men of the host, both those who were there and witnessed the deed, and those who heard tell thereof.

Then did my Lord Hugh of Ecot receive three lance wounds in the face, and my Lord Raoul, and my Lord Frederic of Loupey received a lance wound between the shoulders, and the wound was so large that the blood flowed from his body as from the bung-hole of a cask. My Lord Everard of Siverey was struck by a sword in the middle of the face in such sort that his nose fell over his lip. Then it came to my mind to think upon my Lord St. James, so that I prayed: “Fair Lord St. James, give me help and succor in this our need.”

King St. Louis IX. Painted by Emile Signol in 1839 and preserved at Versailles, Musée national du château and Trianon.

As soon as I had made this my prayer, my Lord Everard of Siverey said to me: “Lord, if you think that neither I nor my heirs will incur reproach therein, I will go and fetch you help from the Count of Anjou, whom I see in the midst of yonder field.” And I said to him: “My Lord Everard, meseems that you would earn for yourself great honor if you went for help to save our lives; and your own life too is in great jeopardy.” And I spoke sooth, for he died of that wound. He sought counsel of all the knights who were there, and all advised as I had advised. When he heard this, he asked me to let go my hold of his horse, which I held by the bridle, with the others, and I did so.

He came to the Count of Anjou, and begged him to succor me and my knights. A man of note who was with the Count of Anjou tried to dissuade him, but he said he would do what my knight asked of him; so he turned his bridle to come to our help, and several of his sergeants too set spurs to their horses. When the Saracens saw them coming, they left us. In front of the sergeants rode my Lord Peter of Auberive, with his sword in his fist, and when he saw that the Saracens had left us, he charged full into the Saracens who held my Lord Raoul of Wanou, and rescued him sore wounded.

Geoffroy de Villehardouin and Jean de Joinville, Memoirs of the Crusades, trans. Sir Frank Marzials (New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., n.d.), 190-2.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 709

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