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entered into Gaul, was nevertheless utterly disheartened when Cæsar led it against the Germans. So that we may justly impute all that was extraordinary in the valour of Cæsar's men, to their long exercise under so good a leader, in so great a war. Now let us in general compare with the deeds done by these best of Roman soldiers in their principal service, the things performed in the same country by our common English soldier; levied in haste from following the cart, or sitting on the shop stall; so shall we see the difference. Herein will we deal fairly, and believe Cæsar, in relating the acts of the Romans ; but will call the French historians to witness what actions were performed by the English.
In Cæsar's time, France was inhabited by the Gauls, a stout people, but inferior to the French, by whom they were subdued, even when the Romans gave them assistance. The country of Gaul was rent in sunder (as Cæsar witnesseth) into many lordships, some of which were governed by petty kings, others by the multitude; none ordered in such sort as might make it appliable to the nearest neighbour. The factions were many and violent; not only in general through the whole country, but between the petty states, yea, in every city, and almost in every house. What greater advantage could a conqueror desire ? Yet there was a greater, Ariovistus, with his Germans, had over-run the country, and held. much part of it in a subjection, little different
from were slavery: yea, so often had the Germans prevailed in war upon the Gauls, that the Gauls (who had sometimes been the better soldiers) did hold themselves no way equal to those daily invaders. .
Had France been so prepared unto our English kings, Rome itself, by this time, and long ere this time, would have been ours. But when King Edward III, began war upon France, be found the whole country settled in obedience to one mighty king; a king, whose reputation abroad, was no less than his puissance at home; under whose ensign the King of Bohemia did serve in person; at whose call' the Genoese, and other neighbour states, were ready to take up arms : finally, a king, unto whom one prince gave away his dominion for love, another sold away a goodly city and territory for money.
The country lying so open to the Romans, and being so well fenced against the English, it is note-worthy, not who prevailed most therein (for it were mere vanity to match the English purchases with the Roman conquest) but whether of the two gave the greater proof of military virtue. Cæsar himself doth witness that the Gauls complained of their own ignorance in the art of war, and that their own hardiness was over-mastered by the skill of their enemies. Poor men, they admired the Roman forces and engines of battery, raised and planted against their walls, as more than human works; what
greater wonder is it that such a people was beaten by the Romans, than that the Caribs, a uaked people, but valiant as any under the sky, are commonly put to the worse, by small numbers of Spawards?
What such help, or any other worldly help than the golden metal of their soldiers, had our English kings against the French? Were not the French as well experienced in feats of war? Yea, did they not think themselves therein our superiors ; Were they not in arms, in horse, and in all provision, exceedingly beyond us ? Let us hear what a French writer* saith of the inequality that was between the French and English, when their King John was ready to give the onset upon the Black Prince, at the battle of Poictiers. " John “ had all advantages over Edward, both of number, " force, show, country, and conceit (the which is “ commonly a consideration of no small importance « in worldly affairs) and witbal, the choice of all “his horseman, esteemed then the best in Europe, " with the greatest and wisest captains of his “ whole realm.” And what could he wish more?
I think it would trouble a Roman antiquary to find the like example in their histories; the example, I say, of a king brought prisoner to Rome, by an army of $000, which he had surrounded with 40,000, better appointed, and no less expert warriors. All that have read of Cressy, and
* John De Serres,
Agincourt, will bear me witness that I do not allege the battle of Poictiers for lack of other as good examples of the English virtue, the proof whereof hath left many a hundred better marks in all quarters of France, than ever did the valour of the Romans. If any man impute these victories of ours to the long bow, as carrying farther, piercing more strongly, and quicker of discharge than the French cross-bow; my answer is ready; that in all these respects it is also (being drawn with a strong arm) superior to the musquet, yet is the musquet a weapon of more use. The gun and the cross-bow are of like force, when discharged by a boy or woman, as when by a strong man; weakness, or sickness, or a sore finger, makes the long-bow unserviceable. More particularly I say, that it was the custom of our ancestors, 'to shoot, for the most part, point blank ; and so shall he perceive, that will note the circumstances of almost any one battle. This takes away all objection, for when two armies are within the distance of a butt's length ;* one flight of arrows, or two at the most, can be
* The English archers made use of a bow about their own height, with an arrow a yard long; and, by Stat. 33. Hen. VIII.. persons of the age of twenty-four years were prohibited shooting at any mark of less distance than 220 yards. It appears from a book, published in 1594, intitled “ Ayme for " Finsburie Archers,” that the longest distance between the shooting butts used by Toxophilites in former times, was 380 yards. See “ History and Antiquities of Islington," quarto, page 30.
delivered before they close. Neither is it in general true, that the long-bow reacheth farther, or that it pierceth more strongly than the crossbaw: but this is the rare effect of an extraordinary arm, whereupon can be grounded no common rule.
If any man shall ask, how then it came to pass; that the English won so many great battles, having no advantage to help him? I may, with besti commendation of modesty, refer him to the French historian, who, relating the vietory of our men at Crevant; where they passed a bridge in face of the enemy,, useth these words, " The “ English comes with a conquering bravery, as “ be that was accustomed to gain every where; "s without any stays, he forceth our guards placed " upon the bridge, to keep the passage."* Or, I may, cite another place of the same author, where he tells how the Britains, being invaded by Charles VIII.. King of France, thought itt good palioy to apparal. 1200 of their own men in Eng kish cassacks; hoping that the very sight of the Englisle: red nose; would be enough to terrify the French. But b will not stand to borrow from the French historians (all of which, excepting De Serres and Paulus Æmilius, report: wonders of our nation, the proposition which first I undertook to maintain ; That the military virtue of the English, prevailing against all mannen of diffi
• John De Serres,